“A man who can’t bear to share his habits is a man who needs to quit them.”
– Stephen King, renowned U.S. writer and author of “The Dark Tower”
We all have our daily routines, even if we don’t know that we have them in the first place. They are certain things we do on a habitual basis that maybe we don’t even notice, again and again, every single day. Establishing new daily routines can help in whatever endeavor you’re pursuing – including recovery from addiction.
In fact, social scientists have researched this virtually sub-conscious activity, and concluded that around 60% of what someone did yesterday, they’ll do it again today, and 60% of what is done today – well, you get the picture – they will do it tomorrow, too.
Now, just think what you could achieve if you repeat good habits every day…
Professional addiction treatment in a rehab center, apart from a time to grow personally and to learn how best to live your life from now onwards, provides you with the tools and strategies you need to remain clean and sober. These tools, practices and advice are the core of the new daily routines you need to incorporate into your life – right now, if you haven’t done so already.
Getting clean and sober from a serious drug or alcohol addiction is part of the process of recovery, but it is only the beginning. The hard work begins now. When you leave your addiction treatment center, they will furnish you with a relapse prevention plan – a vital document that will go a long way in maintaining sobriety, as long as you follow the advice and information given.
Adding new habitual routines designed to ensure your mental and physical health in the early days of your addiction recovery to the advice in that relapse prevention plan, and you’ll be best placed to endure what life will inevitably throw at you – the stress, the potential guilt, possible anger, and a whole host of other feelings and emotions that come with finally getting sober.
As someone who is now over 6 years into my own addiction recovery (from cocaine and alcohol), these points cannot be highlighted enough. Fortunately, I was saved by an excellent drug rehab in Phoenix, AZ., and I followed their relapse prevention plan (written specifically for me) ardently, along with the wealth of other excellent advice I had picked up in rehab, with counselors, and at the group support meetings I went to.
So, let’s not hang about – the early days of addiction recovery can be particularly tough.
Here are your “5 Daily Routines to Help You Succeed in Addiction Recovery”:
1. Become Active
Overall wellbeing and physical health is vitally important in these early days. Feeling better and stronger also encourages you to make healthier lifestyle choices, such as ensuring good nutrition and exercise.
Exercising and being active on a daily basis is one of the most important routines you need to establish for better addiction relapse prevention. Not only does fitness improve your general health, but it is also great for a healthy mind, as it reduces depression and anxiety, and better prepares you for stressful periods in your life.
Did you know that exercise is a proven reducer of stress levels? And did you also know that excess stress is a potent relapse trigger? The answer to both is “Yes,” so get active – today.
2. Become Mindful & Learn Meditation
One of the main keys to my own success in recovery has been mindfulness – the practice of “living in the present moment.” It’s about being 100% self-aware – completely and utterly aware of what’s going on in your head – what you’re thinking and feeling at any given time during the day.
Among other things, addiction steals away our self awareness, but practicing mindfulness enables us to be fully aware of ourselves and present in the moment. It helps you deal with negative emotions and uncomfortable physical sensations – two potential relapse triggers.
One of the best ways to learn and practice mindfulness is through meditation. Meditation helps with staying mindful and self-aware, but it also helps with relaxation – something normally hard to achieve in early addiction recovery. Additionally, it’s another way to conquer stress, reduce anxiety and depression, and actually encourages more positive emotions.
3. Become Caring – Towards Yourself
Addiction leads to a serious lack of self-care, such as far lower standards of personal hygiene, our appearance, and how we look and present ourselves to the world. Self-care? No chance. Self-neglect? Oh, yes. Every day. Therefore, it’s important in recovery to become caring – especially towards yourself.
Practicing the discipline of self-care needs to be one of your daily routines. It’s not just personal hygiene and your appearance – it’s about healthy eating, staying hydrated, exercise, establishing a good sleep routine, and abiding by your own boundaries. It’s also about treating yourself and others with empathy and with compassion, and surrounding yourself with those who are supportive of your recovery from addiction.
4. Become Grateful
As an addict, the only sign of gratitude I showed was when someone scored me a line, or bought me a drink. Most of the time that gratitude was faked, too. In rehab, I relearned being thankful and being grateful – for my recovery, for the second chance I had been given, for those who still stood by me and supported me, for even waking up in a bed with fresh linen…
Early addiction recovery is like a helter-skelter of emotions, swirling around in your head, and most of which you can’t get a handle on or even start to understand. You just feel hyper-sensitive to everything, resulting in negative emotions like anger, frustration, or sadness.
However, rehab taught me that taking a good look at the positive stuff going on in your life – right now – is the perfect medicine for negative feelings, and a powerful one at that. Rehab taught me something else too – selfies. Yes, selfies…
Take one every day, a photo of yourself, with something that made you feel grateful – like a sunset, a day in the park or at the beach, or being with supportive friends. Get them printed and make up a photo album of these grateful “moments.” Even bad days have moments to be grateful for – this is the best way to remember that simple fact.
5. Become Engaged
No, I’m definitely not advocating a marriage proposal here… In early addiction recovery, relationships = relapse, as they say. No, become engaged with the world outside or become engaged with being relaxed with only yourself for company. Whether it’s taking up a team sport, like soccer or basketball, finding others to exercise with (and I’m still not advocating romance here), like a cycling club, a yoga or meditation class, a book club, beginning a new hobby or saying “hello” again to an old one that got lost in your addiction… The list, as they also say, is endless.
The Art of Becoming…
These daily routines for addiction relapse prevention need to be in your 60% of habits that keep getting repeated, day after day. If you can manage that, you are a long way down the road to managing your recovery. So, your short list of things to become:
- Become Active
- Become Mindful & Learn Meditation
- Become Caring – Towards Yourself
- Become Grateful
- Become Engaged
Apparently, successful entrepreneurs always, without fail, begin their day by making their bed – fact. Clearly, it’s in their “60%.”
What daily routines do you have? What’s in your “60%”? Please feel free to share with other readers. Thank you.