Breaking an addiction seems like a simple enough concept: just stop using drugs or drinking alcohol. However, recovery is a physically, emotionally, and mentally grueling task. It’s a long road with many twists and turns and while it is a completely worthwhile journey, there is nothing easy about it. However, being prepared for various aspects of recovery can go a long way in fostering success. Here are 7 things to consider as you set your recovery in motion.
There is No One Right Way
Humanity is beautiful in that each person is special and unique. With that beauty, though, also comes complexity. No person experiences anything in exactly the same way as another, therefore, it’s rare that two people would achieve the same level of success following the exact same plan.
There are innumerable methods, tips, and tricks within the grand scope of recovery. Person A might find a rigorous daily workout essential to his recovery. Person B may find his solace in a higher spiritual power and spend his days in prayer. Person C may find his niche in community service and volunteer work. Each person must find the right way for their own recovery and resist the temptation to compare his journey to anyone else’s.
You Might Grieve
It seems like an odd concept, that one might grieve the loss of his or her addiction. After all, recovery is an incredible achievement that should be celebrated with pride. But for many, even the addictive substance or behavior has become a friend to them and in breaking the addiction, they may feel as if they’re losing that friend.
An addict may also have his or her sense of personal identity, morals, and values wrapped up in their addiction and struggle with these things without the addiction’s contribution. Furthermore, the addict’s social life is likely centered around addiction and he must be willing to cut ties with those networks to have a successful recovery.
The grief of a recovering addict is not shameful or misplaced, nor should it be ignored. It should be treated similarly to any other type of grief, with proper care, such as therapy, to attain full recovery.
Your Idea of “Fun” Will Change
A newly recovering addict may feel lost without their addiction to keep them company. They may feel that life without their drug is mundane and boring and not know how to have fun in a different way.
This might not seem significant, but boredom is a massive stumbling block to recovery and should be taken very seriously. Finding a new hobby that doesn’t deal with using drugs or alcohol is incredibly important for the recovering addict as it will keep their mind busy. Joining other people in recovery on different activities is encouraged, as you’ll be around other people in sobriety as well as trying out new and exciting activities.
Self-Pampering is Priority
Breaking a drug addiction is obviously a healthy lifestyle change, but the recovering addict should also create new habits to promote great self-care. The newly drug-free body craves nutritious food, adequate sleep, and regular exercise to be fully restored to health. Especially in early recovery, the body may feel weak or suffer from issues like anemia or compromised immune system due to drug use or complications related to use.
Some people discover that preparing healthy meals is therapeutic and therefore beneficial to recovery. Regular exercise is well-known to combat anxiety and depression and help a person to release negative emotions like anger or frustration. Sleep plays a crucial role in the well-being of both the body and the mind as recovery progresses; the goal should be eight to nine hours of solid sleep each night for maximum benefit.
You’ll Need Support
The more support a person has during recovery, the better chances they have of staying sober long-term. Family and friends are invaluable resources throughout the recovery process, provided the relationship between them and the recovering family member is still positive.
For those who don’t have a positive, supportive, drug-free home environment, moving into a sober living home is a smart choice. 12-step meetings are also a fantastic place to meet other people who perfectly understand your situation and who can provide empathetic support in a way no one else can. Finally, the recovering addict should make new, sober friends by joining a church, volunteering, or attending community classes or events.
Relapse Isn’t Failure
The possibility of relapse is a serious reality for any recovering addict. No one wants to relapse or see their loved one relapse, but if a slip-up occurs, it’s not necessarily the end of the recovery journey if it’s properly handled. Relapse isn’t a sign of failure, but rather, a sign that maybe something needs to change.
The recovering individual should take immediate action following a relapse but should not view the setback as a failure. Failure would only occur if he or she used feelings of guilt and shame as an excuse to give up, but if the person acquires professional help in accepting and handling these feelings, recovery can and will continue.
Half the Battle
Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes said, “to be prepared is half the victory.” Recovering from addiction is such a difficult task that’s only made harder by entering it blindly. It’s essential to the addict’s success to be well-educated about the various scenarios that may arise as they progress so that they can be physically and mentally prepared to face any situation they encounter. With ample information and planning, the recovering addict is more able to take their recovery into their own hands and achieve a life of total sobriety.