- Addiction & recovery
5 Everyday Habits to Improve Your Addiction Recovery
September 1, 2022
Note: Here at Eleanor Health, we believe that language surrounding addiction care should be positive, inclusive, and inoffensive to all affected. While this piece may use terms like “addiction” and “addiction recovery” to connect the content with those who need it, we encourage the use of “substance use disorder” instead, which is a less stigmatized term. Learn more about how words matter in recovery by checking out our full-length post here.
For those who are new to addiction recovery, it can seem rather daunting. We tend to view recovery as a process that has to be miserable based on how the media portrays it. Although recovery is certainly challenging, it does not have to be depressing. As a matter of fact, many people find that recovery has helped them regain joy and create a completely different outlook on life, benefiting them in more ways than one.
What is Addiction Recovery?
Nobody has the same addiction recovery experience. It is an extremely personal time in which you will learn much about yourself. In general, though, recovery can be classified as the process in which you improve physical, psychological, and social well-being and health after experiencing substance use disorder(s).
During the recovery process, you will likely learn how to spend time caring for all aspects of your health, including mental, physical, social, and even spiritual. In order to recover fully, you can’t just focus on addressing your substance use disorder. Because SUD affects so many aspects of your life, you must have an end goal of healing your whole self and not just one part. Physically, you will learn about the bodily symptoms of a substance use disorder, as well as how important a healthy living environment is to addiction recovery. Mentally, you will discover how your mind and personality became dependent on substances in the first place and how to improve your mental well-being in general. Socially, you will learn about connecting–or reconnecting–with others and how recovery cannot be done alone. Spiritually, you will gain a better understanding of who you are and who you wish to be by digging deeper into your inner thoughts and feelings.
These aspects of recovery cannot be developed in a day’s work. You must stay patient and empathetic towards yourself during recovery. Taking things one day at a time, establishing a routine, and caring for yourself along the way will only make the process of recovery easier!
Although everyone has a different recovery process and experience, a few healthy habits can guide your recovery journey in a more positive direction. How do you stay strong during recovery? Keep reading to find out.
5 Everyday Habits to Improve Addiction Recovery
Simply getting your body moving through light aerobic exercise does way more for improving recovery than you may guess. Not only can establishing an exercise routine be extremely grounding, but it also releases endorphins in your brain that naturally make you feel happier. We can all use a mood booster when going through something challenging, so exercise is a great habit to form during recovery!
Asking yourself your purpose can be a very intimidating (and a bit existential) question. How can anyone answer this question with ease? Well, with baby steps through journaling, you are training your mind to become in tune with your inner thoughts and emotions, thus bringing you closer and closer to the answer to this question. Just writing about how you have been feeling, or even just writing out what you don’t understand about yourself, is extremely helpful in getting to know yourself better. There are plenty of recovery journaling prompts out there, or you can take your own direction in journaling. Try it out and do what works best for you!
Meditation and Mindfulness
Learning how to keep your mind fully in the present moment can take a lot of practice, but meditation and mindfulness can help tremendously. Instead of directing your attention to your past or future self, you can focus fully on the present you. People who use substances as a coping mechanism to deal with life’s hardships are often compared to “master escape artists”. People may use substances to escape their current reality, especially if it is difficult to be in. Mindfulness and meditation help us not only stay in the present but learn to embrace and flourish from it. And, once learned, these practices can be used as grounding exercises whenever you feel you are dwelling on the past or worrying about the future during your recovery journey.
Connect with Others
A word of advice that many take away from addiction recovery is that it is almost impossible to be done without support. Social support through connecting with friends, family, and/or other recovering individuals helps you in the process immensely. Recovery is a very vulnerable state. It is now more than ever that those in recovery need a reassuring and encouraging presence to lean on. Connecting with others can be as simple as letting trusted family and friends know you are going through addiction recovery. Or, it can be something that involves more vulnerability and planning, like having a heart-to-heart about your struggles or joining a support group. In the end, though, vulnerability is always worth it, because you will feel supported and lifted by a community during this journey.
Now, for a fun one! You may think that addiction recovery is a portion of time in which you essentially must suffer to make it to light at the end of the tunnel. However, recovery is what you make of it, and although it’s a lot of hard work, it’s also the perfect time to pick up a new hobby as a distraction and means for self-discovery. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to get into hiking, learn how to paint, or master the guitar. These may all seem like frivolous activities simply done for fun, but developing a new hobby also teaches us important skills. For example, learning something new requires a lot of patience, which can be applied to the patience required in a recovery journey. Additionally, you may just learn something new about yourself!
Again, everyone’s addiction recovery journey is different. You may find yourself uninterested or struggling with these habit suggestions. There are always other options out there that you can try. For example, learning more about the psychology behind substance use disorder can be beneficial to those who wish to learn about why they developed a dependency in the first place. Or, you can incorporate gratitude into your daily routine, acknowledging and savoring small happy moments and victories in life, which can make harder moments seem less tolling or depressing. The options are unlimited! Use trial and error, and find what works best for you.
Eleanor Health is here to help you build your confidence and momentum towards the future you want. We provide treatment services for adults with alcohol, opioid, and other substance use disorders. We are currently located in Louisiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, and Washington.
Recovery for life.
Our mission at Eleanor Health is to help people affected by addiction live amazing lives. We deliver whole-person, comprehensive care and are passionate about transforming the quality, delivery, and accessibility of addiction & mental health treatment. Our actions are rooted in respect for each member's values, culture, and life experiences, and our commitment to their wellbeing is unwavering and without judgement.
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