Rebuilding your life after addiction takes intentionality, time, and effort. At first, it can feel overwhelming. It’s important to take things day by day and to set yourself up for success. Recovering addicts might be going to meetings, getting mental health care, and learning how to do basic things all over again. If you want to finally break the addiction cycle, here are some tips to help you do it.
Make New Friends, But Only Keep Some of the Old
When you’re rebuilding your life after addiction, it’s important to make new friends. In fact, this is one of the most effective ways to stay on track with your recovery and avoid relapse. Hanging out with your old friends can be difficult if all you did with them was drink or do drugs. They may not be supportive of your new lifestyle and may try and drag you down. Making healthy friends is possible. You can start by connecting with people in your neighborhood, in moms or dads groups, and even when you do hobbies.
In the meantime, a sober companion can help you on your recovery journey. These are trained professionals who offer 1:1 companionship and can help you on your recovery journey. You may want a sober companion to drive you to appointments, come to difficult events with you, and even help you learn ways to overcome your triggers. They can fill some of the emotional needs you have for friendship while you are still learning how to build healthy relationships.
Create New Routines
Breaking out of your old drinking and drug habits means you need new routines. Set up a schedule that will help you stay on track and motivated. This can be as simple as waking up at the same time every day, eating breakfast at the same time each morning, and taking lunch breaks at the same time. These mundane routines are an important aspect of recovery and can provide continuity.
Creating new routines can also mean choosing to do something different when a craving for substances hits. You could go for a walk, do 10 jumping jacks, text or call a friend, write in a journal, and even drink a big glass of water. These new routines will become habitual over time and can replace some of the unhealthy habits that were connected to your substance abuse.
Adults forget how to play. Yes, life can be hard, and serious things happen, but being playful is vital for your health. When you are recovering from addiction, learn how to play again. Maybe this is learning to be playful and fun with your children. Perhaps it’s joining an adult sports league. Or maybe you’ll learn how to play by trying a fun new hobby. Going to a trampoline park, playing tennis, getting dance lessons, and even trying out rock climbing can connect you to play. How does play help? It gives you an outlet when things are hard. Play is fun and our brains and bodies need fun to thrive. You can get yourself out of barely surviving before recovery treatment, to thriving after you’ve completed detox and you are on the path to recovery. Play brings joy and excitement into your life as well.
Incorporate Exercise You Love, Not Hate
Exercise is a powerful tool for healing when you are in addiction recovery. Exercise can help you sleep better, feel better about yourself, and be more productive at work. It improves serotonin levels in the brain as well and can help improve focus and concentration. In the early days of recovery especially, exercise is critical. Find something you love to do whether it’s playing an old Wii Fit game or going to the local gym and participating in a Pilates class or taking your dog for a walk around the block. You’ll have a better chance of staying sober in the long run if you pick an exercise you actually enjoy.
Try New Things to Get Yourself a New Hobby
Hobbies are the things you do outside of work just for your enjoyment. They can be creative, challenging, social, and even technical. Some people create technology programs just for fun while others join a local book club and read the latest mystery novels. You can invite a friend to join you or be brave and go alone to make new friends. A new hobby can help you break the cycle of addiction and give you the healing you need.
Renew Your Faith or Spirituality
Try religion on for size. There are many different faith and spiritual practices out there. Many former addicts experience a tremendous amount of success by connecting to a faith or spiritual community. If you want to break your addiction cycle, why not try connecting with your spiritual community?
Set Yourself Up For Success
Breaking addiction means that you need to do things that set you up for success. You don’t want to walk into a bar with your old friends unprepared. In fact, you may need to avoid some of your local haunts temporarily while you are in the early days of recovery. Don’t go back to all your old places expecting it to be easy. You’ll be more successful if you ask your friends to join you for coffee instead of drinks at the bar and if you attend events that are dry as opposed to those serving alcohol.
Create Goals That are Achievable
The first step in creating a life after addiction is setting goals. Your goals will be the driving force behind your recovery, so it’s important that they are achievable and realistic. You might want to eat 2 out of 3 meals a day at home instead of eating out or you may want to further your education. Setting SMART goals means that your goals will be measurable with obvious milestones if needed. For instance, someone wanting to lose 100 pounds, might have the goal of losing 1 pound a week. To do this they might add a 15-minute walk and swap out their soda habit for water.
Getting free from any addiction is possible with the right plan in place. Addiction does not need to control your life. Instead, you can take ownership and break the cycle. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. Find a lifestyle that suits you and make sure that you get a good support system around you.