Overcoming an addiction is one of the most difficult trials you can face in life. With such high rates of relapse, how you approach your recovery can determine whether you are successful. Though you can’t change the past, you can take practical steps to improve your health and well-being by creating new habits and seizing new opportunities. Here are some practical things you can do to get your life back on track and start building a solid foundation for your future.
Find a Hobby
One great way to find stability in your recovery is to start a hobby. Idle time is a breeding ground for relapse, and hobbies are a good way to keep your mind sharp and active. Find something you’re passionate about. This could be a pastime you once enjoyed or an activity you’ve never done before. Working hard on a project elevates your self-worth and gives you a sense of pride in how you’re spending your time. Try picking up the guitar again and revisiting your knack for songwriting. Try rekindling your interest in art, literature, or gardening. Or, try something completely new, and see what happens. For example, are you an animal lover but don’t have the means to have a pet of your own? Offer dog walking or pet sitting services to your friends, family members and neighbors. Pets offer non-judgmental companionship whether they belong to you or a loved one, and as a bonus, you’ll earn a little extra side income. Or, have you always dreamed of being an award-winning writer? Start your own blog. Writing about what you’re passionate about — including your experiences with addiction — can be cathartic, and sharing your thoughts with others may just help someone who needs to hear your stories.
Also, you can often find inexpensive classes for a variety of hobbies at your local community college, craft store, home improvement store, etc. It’s good to have something to look forward to and projects to work toward. You may find that some passions never leave and that some are waiting to be discovered.
Get Regular Exercise
There are countless benefits to having a consistent exercise routine; more energy, better sleep, and longer life are just a few. Perhaps the best thing about exercising for those recovering from substance abuse is that it can bring a sense of accomplishment. Creating and following through with an exercise regimen serves as proof that you can turn things around in your life. It can also set the tone for any other changes you want to make, leaving you with more self-confidence and motivation in all areas of life.
Another plus to exercising is that it causes the firing off of endorphins in your brain. Endorphins play a role in decreasing stress, anxiety, and depression, and are involved in natural reward circuits brought about by drugs and alcohol. Exercising may not give you a high that matches the intensity of drugs, but it does produce a high, and it’s a healthy high that leads to productivity and self-assurance rather than destructive behavior and shame.
Change Your Environment
Along with an exercise routine and hobby, changing your environment is closely related to changing your habits. Making the smallest of changes to your home, car, and workplace can make a big difference. Get rid of any objects that serve as triggers for your past addiction, and add items that inspire you on your new journey. Rearrange your furniture, redecorate your bedroom, and hang new pictures on the wall — make any changes you need to that will remind you of your fresh start.
Spending time in daylight can also be helpful in recovery. Vitamin D — the “sunshine vitamin” — is known to fight depression, promote bone health, and regulate essential calcium levels in the body. Many Americans don’t get enough vitamin D, which can have negative effects on cognitive function as well as the body. Getting out in the sun a few times per week can provide the vitamin D you need. You are also more likely to be active when you are outdoors, which is preferable for recovery when compared to getting stuck in a sedentary lifestyle indoors.
As hard as recovering from substance abuse can be, it should be a thoroughly rewarding experience. Getting regular exercise, starting a hobby, changing your environment, and spending time outdoors are all practical steps toward taking your life back from addiction. To begin taking care of yourself is to begin healing your mind and body, as well as any damaged relationships with others. You’ll see that you don’t need the substance like you once believed you did, and you’ll start finding your way to a better state of living.
Author: Adam Cook
Adam Cook is interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction.
His mission is aligned with AddictionHub’s to help people find support with issues relating to addiction.