Recovery is a lifelong battle.
There is no report card or final grade. A life filled with long-term recovery is a life that will bring you happiness and joy. So much that it may leave you feeling undeserving of the gifts you have been given.
The trick to a lasting recovery is to constantly be growing. We must always be moving forward. If you are not growing, you are dying. This is especially true in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, or addiction of any kind.
Over the years, I have learned a few tips and tricks that enable me to keep growing and keep moving forward. I would love to share my experience with you in hopes that I may help someone in need.
Find What Works For You and Stick to It
Here is what works for me.
- I call my sponsor most nights.
- I go to the same meeting every Tuesday evening.
- I exercise and I meditate after my runs.
- I take care of my body.
- I pray before I go to bed.
- I stay connected to the people I love.
That is my recovery plan in a nutshell. Granted, there is a bit more to it than that, but I can safely say that as long as I continue to do those things, I will stay sober.
The real question is, what works for you?
Find what works, find what keeps you centered and keeps you spiritually fit and stick to it. There is always room for trying new things and we will get to that shortly.
Build A Routine
There is no question that my routine keeps me on the straight and narrow path.
I wake up at the same time every day. I go to bed around the same time every day. I get to work and leave work at the same time every day. Some days I stay late because I enjoy what I do, but my routine is important because when if I stay late too often, then I am missing out on other experiences that I enjoy.
Finding a balanced routine will make your life so much easier.
You won’t be wasting time and energy moving around. Your mind will be more focused. When I get off my routine, I notice that I get tired from all the extra thinking I have to do. I try to stay out of my own head as much as possible.
It took me some time to find my routine, and sometimes I admit I do feel like I get stuck on auto-pilot. When that happens it usually means it’s time for a vacation. So I unplug, I refresh and then I get back to it.
Take Care Of Yourself
My sponsor often reminds me that addiction is spiritual, mental and physical.
In addition, I abused my spirit, my mind, and my body. So in active recovery it is important that I take care of all three.
There is no question that physical health is usually what is lacking in recovering addicts or alcoholics. Abusing food, sugar or being slothful are all common replacements for the drugs and alcohol.
I am lucky because I have always enjoyed exercise, and I have always been interested in nutrition and how the body works. But this doesn’t mean you need to be a health nut to take care of yourself.
Be sure to get enough sleep. Be sure to eat vegetables. Be sure to exercise. You don’t need to run a marathon. Go for a mile walk around the block a few times a week.
Taking care of yourself is a bona fide method strengthen your sobriety, as well as improve your emotional and mental health. Exercise releases endorphins which creates a “natural high.” Not to mention it is a great stress relief.
Don’t put your health on the back burner.
Build Solid Relationships
We are social creatures.
We need connection with other people.
I like to isolate. I don’t have many friends, but the friends I have are rock solid.
Having solid relationships is paramount in order to strengthen your sobriety. You can’t do this alone. There is no need to. Recovery is a much better experience if you have people to share it with.
The importance of having people you can rely on can not be understated. It is amazing how much better I feel after I speak to a good friend about an issue that is bothering me.
It is just as important to make yourself available to those who depend on you. I feel privileged to be able to be a pillar of strength for my good friends and family. My experience and my perspective can help them feel better.
You must give back. It is a two-way street.
Keep Exploring New Ways To Grow
Yes, it is important to find what works and stick with it. However, there is always room for trying new things.
Over the years, I have ventured out in my recovery. I have found new ways to grow and other methods to stay in touch with my myself.
Strengthening your sobriety is about more than just staying sober a day at a time. It is about expanding your horizons. It is about learning new things, meeting new people, and finding other ideas that can help you become a better person!
You can go on spiritual retreats. You can go hiking through a beautiful landscape. You can spend time in nature or even start learning how to play the guitar. Having contentment is amazing, but it is also important to never get too comfortable.
Always look for ways to grow!