Routine is part of everyday life, whether or not we’re in recovery. It helps us to establish stability, organization and structure in our lives to whatever degree we require it. For those of us who are new to recovery, routine is a lifesaving necessity that comes in the form of a recovery plan. These plans, which we put together with the help of our therapists, help us understand our next steps once we leave our treatment programs. They serve as a guide to post-treatment actions that have been tailored according to our specific care needs and substance abuse history. While each of our recovery plans are different, there are some universal tips that can help us establish and maintain our own:
* Thoroughness – Our recovery plans are a product of everything we learned about ourselves in treatment. This means that we often realize things about our families, our careers, our romantic choices and everything else that may have led to the development and continuation of our substance abuse. Our plans have to include the implementation of behavioral tools that we learn to deal with the problematic services in our lives.
* Realism – We can’t bite off more than we chew, nor we can expect to never experience setbacks. Everyone stumbles and it’s unrealistic to assume that we can be perfect. We have to recognize that these plans are lifelong endeavors, and we need to give ourselves the room to make mistakes and deal with them in a healthy fashion when they arise. Continuing our therapy, finding a meeting with which we’re comfortable and doing the day-to-day work is only the first step, and we have we realize that this is a marathon, rather than a sprint.
* Adaptability – As our recovery is a lifelong endeavor, we have to allow for the possibility that things can change. Whether this means having to find a new therapist when we move, recognizing that certain people just aren’t good for us or doubling up on our meetings, our recovery plans must be able to change and flow according to our circumstances.
When we find comfort in our recovery plans, we add another layer of insulation from the threat of relapse, and are better able to structure and enjoy our everyday lives.