The road to recovery is a bumpy one, with some unexpected sharp turns and potholes along the way. However, careful preparation and skills can help you navigate this journey successfully.
There are many factors that impact someone’s chances of success with recovery over time. Here are some helpful tips for improving your addiction recovery journey so you can hit the open highway to the rest of your life.
Accept Your Role
Dealing with an addiction isn’t black and white; there are gray areas regarding why someone starts abusing substances. You may have legitimate reasons for getting on this path, from a painful injury to generational trauma. Yet, it’s crucial to set aside blame and accept the role you played in getting here.
The things that happened to you aren’t necessarily your fault, but coping with them and correcting your actions is your responsibility. You are accountable for hurtful things you have done under the influence.
Accepting the truth of this rather than casting blame or finding excuses is necessary for successfully navigating the recovery journey. It allows you to dig deep, be honest, and release anger with yourself and others so that when you apologize to your loved ones and yourself, it comes from a place of sincerity.
It’s important to understand the difference between accepting responsibility and embracing guilt. It’s normal to feel bad about choices you’ve made but letting those feelings overwhelm you will negatively impact your recovery.
Self-compassion is the act of giving yourself some grace. You can, and should, acknowledge things you’ve done wrong in the past. Then, you should forgive yourself and focus on how you’re going to make it better in the present and the future.
When you practice self-compassion, you can learn and craft your future, rather than getting stuck in the past. This practice limits the guilt and substance abuse cycle, limiting the risk of relapse.
Find a Spiritual Connection
Finding a spiritual connection can help you let go of guilt and shift your focus to your place in the universe. Many people are deterred from religion-centric treatments. However, spiritualism doesn’t necessarily mean diving into religion. Instead, you’re considering your connection to life in a profound way.
Approaching a spiritual connection is a personal thing. You may find strength and comfort in attending religious gatherings or reciting NA prayers to yourself. Conversely, you might find your spiritual connection through mindfulness meditation and time spent in nature.
There’s no right or wrong in finding your spiritual connection. Yet, it can improve your physical and mental well-being and enhance your chances of success during recovery.
Stress management plays a significant role during the recovery journey. Practicing self-care beyond what happens in active treatment is essential for long-term success.
Practicing self-care means making time to focus on calming activities and joyful exercises to help minimize stress. It also means taking care of your body through nutrition, sleep, and movement. Eating healthy, ensuring you get enough rest, and incorporating exercise into your new routines will help you manage stress and stay healthy, minimizing the temptation to relapse when something goes wrong.
During treatment, you’ll likely learn various coping skills for dealing with stress and processing your emotions. Rely on these skills to help you keep your stress levels under control. Unfortunately, stress is unavoidable, but learning to work through it will go a long way in your recovery journey.
Explore New Social Groups and Activities
One of the hardest parts of recovery is the other lifestyle and social changes that go with it. If your friends are still using or drinking, you’ll need to distance yourself from those groups to protect your sobriety. This experience can feel isolating and lonely, which also challenges the recovery process.
Try to focus on exploring new social groups and activities that aren’t built around substance use. Your treatment provider or local meeting provider may have suggestions and resources to help you connect with others during this time.
Take this opportunity to expand your skills and learn new things. Try to fill your schedule during periods when you would otherwise be engaging in substance use.
Set Short and Long-Term Goals
Having something to work toward can be a powerful motivator during your recovery journey. While sobriety itself is a fantastic goal, having supporting health, experience, or travel goals can provide focus and drive.
Choose a combination of short-term and long-term goals. For example, you might have a short-term health goal of learning how to cook and a long-term health goal of running a marathon. Short-term financial goals might include getting a job, while long-term financial goals might include having a savings account.
Goals serve as a form of distraction and purpose. It’s a reminder that your sobriety is the foundation of these goals and that you can build the life you want.
Know Your Triggers and Signs
Self-awareness and preparation are essential for success during recovery. It’s up to you to know your triggers, temptations, and the signs that you’re at risk of relapsing.
Putting boundaries in place to avoid triggers is paramount, but sometimes life will throw you a curveball. For example, you might run into an old friend who isn’t sober or have to attend a work event where alcohol is present.
Create contingency plans for these situations, so you’re prepared to handle them as they arise.
Lean on Your Support Systems
You don’t have to go through this journey alone. Build a support system and lean on them. Share your feelings and struggles and ask for help. If you feel at risk for a relapse, reach out to your support team immediately, whether that’s medical professionals or family members.
Creating an emergency plan for these situations with contact information readily available is a great way to create a safety net if you’re struggling.
Success in anything— work, life, relationships, sobriety— isn’t linear. You’ll experience setbacks. You might relapse. This is all a part of the process. The important part is that you keep trying and keep moving forward with self-compassion and determination.
Success in recovery is possible. Use these practical tips to guide the process and ask for help from those around you.