Overcoming addiction is never easy, but there are steps that you can take to smooth the waters of your new sobriety. Whether you’re considering self-directed recovery or a drug and alcohol aftercare program in Port St. Lucie, here are just a few tips for kicking the habit once and for all.
- Avoid Your Old Haunts
There’s a reason that recovery programs talk so much about “triggers.” Your brain is hard-wired to make connections between people, places and emotions, so if you’ve come to associate getting high with a particular location, it’s a bad idea to hang out there. You’ll only increase your cravings. Try to avoid these danger zones and take new routes to work or school.
- Find New Habits and Hobbies
Once you’ve cut the bad stuff out of your life, it’s time to replace it with something better. Dust off that guitar in the garage; sign up for a pottery class at the local community college; try something new and crazy like skydiving or parasailing. The key is to keep yourself busy. You don’t want to become so bored or unfulfilled that you return to old habits.
- Chronicle Your Journey
Start a journal when you decide to get clean. Try to write down at least a few sentences each night about how you’re feeling and how you’re faring. It can be difficult to measure your progress when it’s all in your head, but a journal will give you solid, tangible proof that you’re fighting your demons one day at a time. You might need this kind of reassurance during dark times.
- Start Exercising
Exercise is a healthy, all-natural way to send endorphins to your brain. It will also pump fresh air into your lungs and vitamin D into your skin. It doesn’t matter if you’re swimming, cycling, jogging or playing kickball with friends; as long as you’re working up a sweat, you’re teaching your body that there are better ways to experience a rush.
- Know Thyself
Why did you start using drugs or alcohol? What emotional mindsets led you into making these choices? If you can identify the spirals that took you down into dark places, you can take steps to ensure that they’ll never happen again. For example, if you have a habit of stopping by the bar after a bad day at work, you can ask a friend to carpool when you know that the office has a big project coming up.
- Build a Support Network
It can really help your recovery efforts to have the support of other people. They don’t have to be friends or family; even an anonymous AA/NA support group can give you feelings of confidence and camaraderie. Don’t be afraid to reach out a hand if you’re stumbling along the road to sobriety. You never know when the warmth of someone else’s grip will be just what you need to keep going.
- Seek Professional Help
Are you still struggling with addiction despite multiple attempts to kick the habit? Are your old routines and recovery techniques just not doing the job anymore? Think about enlisting professional help. It might be as simple as seeing an addiction counselor a couple of times per week; it might be as drastic as signing up for a live-in detox program. Help in recovery is out there. You just have to be willing to find it.
- Do Something Charitable
Collect cans for a homeless shelter. Sponsor a child in another country. Clean out your closets so that you can donate all of your old clothes to hurricane relief efforts. There are many ways to give back to the world that created you, and all of them can renew your sense of purpose in life. Instead of wallowing in your own troubles, you’ll be taking steps to improve the lives of the less fortunate.
- Take Baby Steps
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Every omelette starts with a single egg. Instead of intimidating yourself with grand plans to stay sober for the rest of your life, try to focus on getting through the next day or the next week. These kinds of small, short-term goals are much better for you than big dreams.
These are just a few tips for a smoother recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. It might take some time to fully hitch yourself to the wagon of sobriety, but remember: It will be worth it in the end.