Drugs and alcohol take a toll not just on your body, but on your spirit as well. They leave you a wreck emotionally, spiritually, financially, and socially. How do you rebuild your life as a recovering addict after having spent a lot of time and energy destroying it? Where do you begin? We give you 11 good habits to incorporate into your lifestyle if you want to stay sober.
Why Organizing Your Life is Necessary When Rebuilding it after Addiction
It is not easy transitioning from the chaotic, impulsive, carefree lifestyle of your addiction days to the clean, organized, self-regulated lifestyle of sobriety.
Wanting to be sober is not difficult. For instance, if you are an alcoholic, you only have to remember the alcohol abuse side effects, and you have your motivation.
Motivation is one thing. The will to maintain your sobriety and get your life back in order is another.
Sobriety as a recovering addict goes beyond mere abstinence and encompasses your ability to take control of your life. For instance, how do you manage your time and stay organized?
Before we get into the meat of the article, a good point to remember is HALT. HALT is an acronym used in addiction recovery to refer to the four things you should never let yourself become: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired.
All four of these things put you at a great risk of relapse. For instance, after a nasty fight with your spouse, you may find yourself craving your drug of choice.
To avoid such situations from cropping up, you should always eat a healthy diet, talk through issues, call a friend when you feel blue, and ensure you always get enough sleep.
The Winning Habits Every Recovering Addict Must Have
1. Eat Well
Hunger is one of the four HALT states we mentioned that a recovering addict must avoid. You should eat a balanced diet.
During detox, sulfur-rich foods like onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli will help detoxify your liver. Antioxidant-rich foods like apples, plums, pears, oranges, and berries help to heal the liver.
Don’t eat refined foods – focus on whole-grain carbohydrates instead. Pick foods that are rich in fiber – good for digestion.
Eat protein because it helps build a strong body – it repairs tissues, restores organs, and so forth.
Steer clear of saturated fats. Go for a lot of vegetables and fruits. In short, eat a healthy, balanced diet.
Foods rich in omega-3 like fish and seafood help reduce sadness. People who eat a fish-rich diet are at a lower risk of being depressed.
Hydrate. Drink lots of water. Water will flush out toxins from your body.
Healthy eating makes you feel good. It makes you stronger and healthier, and gives you a general sense of wellbeing, very important for giving you the stamina to maintain your sobriety as a recovering addict.
2. Regular Exercise
Regular exercise has many benefits. For one, it helps you feel in control of your life as a recovering addict. If you can make it to the gym or your morning run every day, that gives you a sense of self will, of having accomplished something.
Secondly, it is good for your body.
Thirdly, exercise makes your body release endorphins, chemicals that give you a euphoric feeling. After exercising, you feel better about yourself. If you are in a good mood, you can get through the rest of the day with confidence.
3. Time Management
Time management is one of the most important skills in life. It’s what helps people achieve their goals. People who manage their time well are happier; more relaxed, and often have a healthy sself-esteem
You should take care not to have too many things on your plate, as you might overwhelm yourself. Being overwhelmed might cause anger, another of the four HALT states, and that could cause a relapse.
Some events are predictable. For instance, if there is a deadline coming up for a project, you already know about it. Learn to plan ahead, and you will have peace of mind.
4. Be Organized
Our emotions take their cues from our surroundings sometimes. For instance, when you visit a serene park, you feel serene, calm, and cheerful.
In the same way, when your physical space is disorganized, you feel the same way. If your house is mess, your life feels messy.
Learning to pick up after yourself and clean things up is a crucial skill for getting your life back in order.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is the body’s way of recharging. You are put back together when you sleep. When you have a good night’s sleep, you wake up feeling refreshed, and the things you were worried about the previous night seem insignificant.
Learn to sleep at a regular time every night – plan your sleep schedule. Organize your sleeping environment so that it’s comfortable and conducive for sleeping.
6. Be Around Positive People
The saying goes that you are the sum of the five people you hang out with most. If this is true, you must be very careful who your friends are.
For instance, it’s highly likely that you were introduced to drugs or alcohol by your friends, family, or even coworkers, people you used to hang out with.
Deliberately seek out friends who are the way you want to be. Befriend people who are positive-minded, who make you feel good. You will pick up their personality by association.
7. Good Communication Skills
Develop good conflict resolution skills. This will stop you from becoming resentful, angry, or bitter, thus keeping you away from one of the four HALT states that can cause a relapse.
When you know how to communicate well with other people, you build better relationships with them. These relationships will be your support system during hard times, and will keep you from relapsing.
Being broke can make you desperate, and being desperate is dangerous territory for a recovering addict.
For financial success and better money management, always make a budget and stick to it.
9. Set Goals
Momentum is what keeps you motivated in life, especially as a recovering addict. When you can see that you are achieving goals and moving forward, you feel so much better.
Learn how to create short-term and long-term goals you can work towards every day. Write down your goals. Come back and measure your progress, reevaluate your old goals, and set new goals to replace the old ones.
10. Be Generous
We do not exist to take up space. We exist to be useful. Generosity is part of this attitude. When you help others, you feel a great sense of wellbeing that you can never get from anything else.
It’s why addict recovery programs like AA have the concept of paying it forward. It’s why AA has sponsors. They are paying forward the generosity they themselves received from their sponsors.
11. Nourish Your Spirit
Your soul needs sustenance. It’s what keeps you alive and happy. Find out what feeds your soul and do it regularly. For some it’s religion. For you it could be reading a good book, or gardening, or attending 12-step meetings or a book club with friends, or hiking.
People relapse into addictions and bad habits because of a sense of lacking control. These 11 habits, when cultivated, will, over time, instill in you a deep sense of self awareness, self control, purpose, and satisfaction. When you have these qualities in you, not only can you remain sober for years, but you can also thrive and be happy and successful in life as a recovering addict.