The process of substance abuse recovery doesn’t actually end. Experts agree that no one can ever be fully cured from addiction, but that through everyday management and awareness, you can maintain sobriety—for good. And while this is challenging, particularly in the beginning, with commitment and hard work, sobriety becomes an easy, second-nature part of life.
Here are some tips to help you throughout your addiction recovery process. Keep these tips in mind, and try to keep a trusted confidante on speed-dial should you ever need to talk through a craving or challenge in the moment.
- Avoid triggers. If there are certain people or places that are intertwined with your addiction, avoid them. This could mean avoiding the smoke break area at your workplace or completely cutting off communication with friends who you believe will pull you back into your addiction. Identify these triggers in advance, and then challenge yourself to stay away from them. It won’t be easy, particularly if this means you have to say good-bye to people you feel emotionally tied to. But you have made a choice to love yourself and your future, and nothing is worth taking that decision back.
- Take it one step at a time. During any addiction recovery process, you are bound to hear the phrase “take it one day at a time.” While this is sound advice, you should break it down even further! Just get through each moment of each day as it comes along. If you make a mistake, there is still time to learn from it and move forward in that 24-hour window. Be aware of the waves of intense feelings you might have—and try to stay aware and ride them out, like surfing. You can hold out—the wave won’t last forever.
- Exercise. Replace addictive substances with feel-good brain chemicals and the joy of lifelong health. Exercise is good for your body, mind, and spirit. It keeps you busy, combats depression, works as an outlet of energy and frustration, and can even provide a venue for meeting new friends. Exercise is like armor against addiction and other psychological problems.
- Talk about the challenges. Don’t bottle up your struggles. Admitting that they exist is the first step to keeping them at bay. Join a support group, lean on family and friends, or see a trusted therapist regularly. Even if you’ve always been one to do things on your own. Even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed. Don’t let fear keep you from reaching out and getting the support you need to be successful in recovery. We all need a helping hand—even the toughest people you know need help sometimes.
Recovery is not an overnight process. It lasts forever. But, considering all the benefits of recovery, this is a good thing! Reach out for help and believe in yourself. You can do it!