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Healthy Habits for Continued Recovery

Healthy Habits for Continued Recovery

We all learn regimens and programs in recovery on how to maintain our sobriety. No matter the program or treatment model we may go through, there will be some form of daily and long-term set of practices designed to help us continue our recovery. But beyond this, there are some healthy habits we can acquire which will ensure our progress in recovery. These are simple practices which, if we are vigilant enough to make them a part of our daily lives, will help sustain recovery over a life-time.

Staying active is perhaps foremost of these habits. Especially in this modern age in which so many of us perform jobs which demand little to no physical activity, it is crucial to remain active. Our homes are now dominated by electronic screens, our jobs are in front of screens. We must get in the habit of being active. For me, this is a simple walk every day. No matter the weather, I am out walking. Others may prefer more intense activities. And still others may want to get involved in group activities. It does not matter. What matters is that we establish the habit of moving and doing things which guard against becoming sedentary.

This may sound like the voice of your mother, but eat when you are hungry. This is really critical for people in recovery. Allowing ourselves to become too hungry actually works as a physiological trigger for addiction. It is not just a matter of eating right. This is a matter of preventing yourself from falling prey to your own body and creating the conditions for cravings—cravings which too often lead to relapse. Keep healthy snacks around the house and take them with you when you are on the go.

Disruptive sleep patterns have been linked to relapse in recovering addicts and alcoholics. It is essential that good sleep habits become a part of your life. When I was young (and not completely caught up in substance abuse) I could go through crazy periods of time without sleeping properly. I cannot afford that luxury anymore. Nor can anyone in recovery. The lack of proper sleep reduces our ability to maintain focus on recovery. It leads to relapse. Healthy sleep patterns are an essential habit in recovery.

Once of the dangers in early sobriety is that so many of us go right back to the way we were living. This of course leads us back into the most destructive aspects of how we were living. Developing new interests, or pursuing interests we have put off, are good habits for sustaining recovery. As we develop new interests and get involved, we move away from old patterns of behavior which had been bound up in our lives of drinking and using drugs. None of this has to be radical or life-changing. These can simply be new areas of interest. Going back to school, taking a photography class, cross-country skiing—almost anything will work. A way to look at this is that in recovery we are probably going to feel healthier than we ever have before.

This is a great time to start something you just could not imagine while in active addiction.

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