Recovery from addiction is one of the most difficult and important steps of treatment. One of the hardest parts of recovery from an addiction can be the act of rebuilding your life around your new needs. You can no longer continue to frequent the same places, socialize with the same people, or do the same things you did when you were taking drugs. In order to move on and recover, you need to create a new routine, one based on healthy habits that foster positive emotions.
Avoiding Triggers during Recovery from an Addiction
Developing healthy habits during recovery from addiction isn’t just about trying to help your body recover from the effects of drug use. It is also about limiting your exposure to triggers and cues that may cause you to relapse. Many triggers are environmental, like being in a bar when you are recovering from alcoholism, but emotional cues are important as well. These include things like stress, boredom, and loneliness.
The habits below are ones that everyone should be doing because they have been proven to contribute to physical and mental wellbeing. However, to someone who is fighting an addiction, they are invaluable tools to recovery from addiction that can provide much-needed structure and relief.
Exercising Regularly during Recovery from an Addiction
The benefits of exercise for the body and mind are well documented, both in general and within the specific context of addiction recovery. At its most basic level, exercise helps with recovery because it provides a natural hit of dopamine and endocannabinoids, two of the chemicals responsible for the feeling of being “high.”
However, it’s not just about the chemical reactions in our brains. According to Livestrong, the social and emotional benefits of exercise are just as important as the physical. Exercise reduces stress, improves self-esteem, and provides a sense of accomplishment. It makes you feel in control of your life, your body, and your decisions, which empowers you to exercise self-control in your addiction. It also gives you a chance to socialize and meet new people, relieving feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Get Outdoors while Recovering from an Addiction
Interacting with nature is one of the healthiest things you can do on a regular basis. Indeed, the simple act of walking in nature has been proven to relieve stress and improve wellbeing. You don’t even have to commit to long, arduous hikes – evidence shows that regular, short walks in nature are better for you than infrequent, longer ones.
Most cities have parks and natural spaces that you can enjoy for free. You can go for a run or cycle, incorporating your exercise needs into your trips to nature, or just bring a book and sit on a bench for a few hours.
Start A New Hobby during Recovery from an Addiction
According to Business Insider, having a hobby can clear your mind from distractions, relieve stress, help you meet new people, and improve your confidence. You will recognize all of these as key factors in successful addiction recovery.
As well as hobbies that get you exercising, creative hobbies like music and art are excellent tools toward Recovery from an Addiction. Creative activities can provide a way to process negative emotions and trauma, allowing for healing and closure.
More importantly, when you are focused on a hobby, you are not thinking about anything else. You are not worried about your addiction or thinking about using. Some people refer to this as being “in the zone” or “finding flow,” and this sensation can be an invaluable tool for chasing away emotions and thoughts that may cause you to relapse.
It can feel overwhelming to think of incorporating all these habits into your life at once, so don’t. Pick one or two regular behaviors you want to build into your routine, and try to stick to them. It may take a few tries to find the healthy habits that work for you, but once you do, you will find that your life has been enriched and your path to recovery made smoother.
If you are in a phase of recovery from addiction and need help to find the best set of activities, talk to Dr. Tsan. At the Philadelphia Addiction Center, we don’t finish working with patients after the end of the treatment. We continue our social relationships and always ready to help our clients.