Entering recovery represents a new phase of your life, in which you will have to adapt to unfamiliar emotions and learn to employ healthy coping skills to avoid relapse. When your life no longer revolves around drug and alcohol use, you will need to establish new, positive habits and ways to spend your day.
Benefits of Routine for Recovering Addicts
Creating a routine early in recovery is essential because it allows you to fall into a rhythm of what you do and when you do it. Your body has an internal clock, which works better when you follow a consistent schedule for when you sleep, eat and exercise.
Because of the myriad decisions you must make every day, your brain depends on patterns to help it learn and process information rapidly. Your brain is essentially a pattern-recognition machine that allows you to unconsciously regulate many of the complex tasks you handle each day. Think about how overwhelming it would be if you had to consciously remember all the steps involved in driving from your home to your workplace. If you stop to break down the hundreds of individual stages involved in doing even something as simple as showering and getting dressed, you can understand why relying on habit is necessary.
In recovery, you’ll want to work with your inherent sense of rhythm, instead of against it. And when you establish new, positive habits to replace the self-destructive behaviors of addiction, you will create a positive routine you can eventually fall into naturally.
Structure Becomes Crucial in Recovery
Structure is a critical factor, especially for people in early recovery. While you are working on forming new habits, you need to plan your daily activities in detail, from the time you get up in the morning to the time your head hits the pillow at night. In the same way addiction can cause you to develop specific patterns that lead you to dwell on obtaining and using drugs or alcohol, when you are in recovery, you must retrain yourself to prioritize your health and self-care. Not doing so could put you in jeopardy of a relapse.
The areas of your life you may need to focus on most include the following.
- Environment: Your surroundings can be a powerful addiction trigger, especially if you return to an area that reminds you of when you were actively drinking or using.
- Hobbies: Often, the only hobby of people with active addiction is using substances. At a qualified addiction facility, you will participate in activities like hiking, wildlife watching, yoga, meditation and bowling, giving you plenty of options of healthy hobbies you can pursue in your sober lifestyle.
- Time: In recovery, you will benefit from having a set plan for every day, with little room for distractions. Addicts in recovery often find it comforting that as they pursue their treatment program, they are removed from the stresses and worries of day-to-day life, which allows them to focus exclusively on their health and well-being.
- Education: Through individual and group therapy sessions, 12-step meetings and relapse prevention tools, you will learn about all the facets of what led to your addiction, as well as how to reinforce your sober lifestyle.
A Life in Balance
Sobriety is, in many ways, an opportunity to start over. Why not embrace the opportunity to create balance in your life as you work on reestablishing your mental and physical health? By consciously scheduling every day in recovery, you can develop the habits you need to reinforce what you learned in your addiction treatment program, and also avoid having large swaths of free time that might tempt you to fall back into your old, unhealthy routines.
When you are ready to make a change for the better, discover the structure and healing habits you need to live free of substance abuse, contact us today. Our family-owned addiction rehab facility is here whenever you are ready to make a fresh start.