Recovery consistently causes us to focus on the “long term” and the “big picture”. It helps us envision a future in which are free from the trappings of active substance abuse and every bit the vibrant, healthy and loving people we were prior to falling victim to drugs or alcohol. Like anything else in life, the “long term” is only accomplished through the everyday progress we make in various areas of our lives. The achievement of macro goals is accomplished through sound everyday habits. Think of these everyday things that we do as building blocks for a great structure. In the context of addiction recovery, there are numerous everyday techniques we can adopt to make sure we stay on track.
Get Moving – Daily exercise is perhaps the best and most direct means of maintaining sound physical fitness. In addition to the outward benefits of working out each day, exercise releases endorphins and has been proven to increase relaxation, improve sleep patterns, strengthen immune system and more. Combined with smart and sound eating habits, exercise can considerably extend life and increase quality of life.
Embrace Recovery – When we have to drag ourselves kicking and screaming to therapy and meetings, we are creating the opportunity for resentment and relapse. While many of us may find the everyday recovery routine to be difficult at times, we have to remember the progress we’ve made and that the rewards far outweigh the logistics of the process. We should feel empowered to share at meetings and fully disclose our thoughts to our therapists because that’s the only way we’re going to get the most out of the process. At the end of the day, these resources are a gift, and they’re there for a reason.
Practice Realism – We have to know that we can’t take on everything at once. Many of us feel compelled to accelerate our lives after treatment because we feel we’ve missed so much during our days of active substance abuse. If we take too much on (careers, families, relationships, etc.), we run the risk of getting overwhelmed and judging ourselves harshly when we fail to live up to our often impossible self-imposed standards. This is very often an express route to relapse.
Forgive – So many people have forgiven us for our indiscretions, and we should be willing to do the same. To begin with, holding grudges and harboring resentment has demonstrated physical implications like increased blood pressure and heart rate. Additionally, it’s just not something that we need in our lives. Part of practicing forgiveness is understanding that not everyone is ready to forgive us for what we did, and may never be able to. We can’t dictate or govern what’s in people’s heads. All we can do is live our recovery every day and be the best possible versions of ourselves.
The war against relapse is waged every day. By practicing the above techniques, as well as others, we further insulate ourselves from the possibility of set-backs.