The time immediately following treatment is an emotional roller coaster. It’s not uncommon for us to experience every type of emotion and sensation, from fear to jubilation to fatigue to resentment to exhaustion. In a sense, it’s like we’re being born again so everything is new. As we move further and further along in our recovery, however, we can easily finding ourselves taking on the role of the moody and disinterested teenager. Just like in real life, routines get stale, enthusiasm diminishes and we’re left with an almost painful boredom that may cause us to look for entertainment in the wrong places. After all, idle hands are often considered the devil’s playground.
How, then, do we keep ourselves excited and motivated to thrive in recovery? It’s often not enough to just say: “If I relapse, I’ll lose everything.” Logic rarely factors into addiction, even years into recovery. We have to find ways to keep ourselves engaged and interested in our own success. The good news is that there are any number of ways to keep ourselves personally invested in our own recovery that go beyond traditional group meetings and one-on-one psychiatric therapy.
Reading Is Fundamental – Sometimes the best way to get inspired is by listening to others’ stories. The recovery community is full of stories of optimism, hope, loss and tragedy. There is no shortage of riveting books written on the subject that can jump start your enthusiasm. These books include everything from AA’s Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions to Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting. Some of the subject matter of these books may be jarring, so exercise caution.
Mind, Body and Spirit – There’s a reason why therapies like yoga, tai chi and meditation are so heavily integrated into addiction recovery: they make us feel better. Very often the best way to feel refreshed and invigorated in recovery is to continue to embrace the therapies we learn in treatment. These holistic therapies align physical, mental and spiritual healing to help us live a clean and healthy life. It’s a lot easier to stay positive when we’re feeling good inside and out.
Do You – It may be that we find inspiration from an unlikely source that has little to nothing to do with our substance abuse. When we’re ready, we should begin exploring new healthy interests and pursue our bliss whenever we can. This can mean traveling, taking an art or cooking class, learning a new instrument or anything in between.
At the end of the day, it’s up to us to continue on our path to recovery and find healthy and proactive ways to keep ourselves happy. Further immersing ourselves in our recovery while independently finding ourselves can go a long way to make us remember that recovery is a blessing and not a burden.