The Route Forward: Healthy Habits to Promote Sobriety
by Rufus C.
Recovering from addiction is never a straightforward process, and a life of sobriety is often hard-won, but with a few healthy habits, it’s possible to set firm foundations and maintain a substance-free lifestyle for the long term. Today, Recovered shares some helpful guidance to assist you as you work toward healing yourself from the inside out.
For many of us, substances are a means to escape from stressful lifestyles. Stress is, in itself, a common trigger for a relapse, so it’s important to find alternative methods to help you cope. This could mean immersing yourself in the creative arts, working up a sweat at the gym, or simply spending more time with good friends. Here are a couple of ideas:
- Meditation: There are several different forms of meditation, each with its own techniques and benefits. Spend some time researching how these can help you to cope with stress, anxiety, and negative thoughts, and pick one that you feel suits your circumstances.
- Gardening: There is plenty of evidence to suggest that gardening can be effective in helping an individual maintain sobriety. It’s also a surprisingly effective way to keep fit and can help to promote healthy eating.
- Reading: It’s amazing the difference a good book can make to our lives. The act of reading can slow our minds and help us to process events constructively. Take time to browse recommendations to see if any of the recent fiction releases appeal to you.
- Treatment: iIt takes courage to ask for help, and there are plenty of drug rehabilitation centers out there that can help you get and stay sober. These centers offer a variety of treatment methods and payment options, as well.
Just remember that some stress-busting pursuits can create stress cycles of their own (video games, for example). To avoid these, try to focus your energies on activities that will give you a sense of long-term achievement.
Our physical state is inextricably linked to our mood and desire to use substances. If you want to break the cycle (or keep it broken), your body is a great place to start.
- Sleep: Poor sleep leads to irritability, poor focus, and sometimes unwanted cravings. If you can aim for over 8 hours per night, you are likely to find that you have more control over urges and a generally more pleasant frame of mind.
- Exercise: The role of exercise in overcoming addiction is well documented. Studies have found that regular exercise increases abstinence rate by 95% as well as mitigating factors (such as anxiety), which contribute towards increased use.
- Diet: It’s difficult to overstate the importance of diet in affecting our mood, mental health, and energy levels. Try to lean toward foods that are linked to decreases in depression (such as bananas, avocados, beans, and carrots). This may help you to break the cycle that leads to substance use.
Our surroundings play a huge role in affecting how we feel and what we might crave. This means avoiding places and people who might spark unwanted urges. If you can eliminate the chance of feeling a certain way, you won’t need to deal with the feeling when it arises.
Additionally, you want to keep your home environment as stress-free as possible. You can start by keeping organized and decluttering when possible. Consider also refreshing your space, letting in more natural light, and even investing in a few plants.
Next, look at your office space, and try to digitize any paper records and create storage practices to reduce mess. If you work from home, gauge your setup to ensure it’s conducive to focus and productivity. An ergonomic desk and chair, working technology, and plenty of light will all make a difference.
Staying sober is by no means an easy feat. It takes hard work, discipline, and determination to cut out toxic habits and toxic people and replace them with a new, clearer way of living. But it is possible, and even if you’re taking small steps, you can be sure you’re stepping toward a brighter future.
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