There are definitely some great benefits in developing a routine, but if people are doing the same thing day in and day out their life can become tedious and predictable. It is new things that keep life interesting, and it is these experiences that challenge people and encourage them to grow. When people escape an addiction it is vital that they get the balance right between building a routine and trying new things.
Humans usually prefer it when they have some type of routine in their life. It gives them a sense of stability, and it means that they can make good use of their time. If people become too obsessed with sticking to set pattern it can be detrimental to their life. It is important for the individual to occasionally try new things and break away from their current routine.
Developing a routine brings many advantages to the individual – particularly for people who are in early recovery from an addiction. The benefits of doing so include:
* Insomnia can be a real problem for people in early recovery. One way to overcome this is to develop a regular routine of going to bed and getting up at a specific time.
* People can be far more productive when they have a routine. This is because they do not need to waste time thinking about what they have to do next.
* A routine can be highly comforting to people. It gives a structure to their life.
* Boredom can be dangerous for those individuals who are still in early recovery- it is a common relapse trigger. If the individual has set things to do they should avoid any long periods of boredom.
* When people have a routine it is more likely that they will get things done. It is too easy to procrastinate or ignore things if people do not have a set time for when to do these tasks.
* If people want to do things such as increase their physical fitness it is almost vital that they have a routine. If the individual just randomly engages in exercise, just when they feel like it, they are unlikely to receive much benefit.
There are a number of routines that can be highly beneficial to people in recovery including:
* Meditating every day.
* Reading inspiration material at breakfast time. This can put people in a good frame of mind for the rest of the day.
* Regular exercise.
* Regular attendance at recovery fellowship meetings.
* Spending time in nature.
* Making time for family and friends.
* Good routines to increase productivity at work.
* Keeping a daily journal.
If people become too obsessed with their routine it can be detrimental because:
* They become a slave to their routine and feel highly uncomfortable if anything gets in the way. Life is full of unexpected events, and if people are inflexible it can lead to a great deal of suffering.
* It is not feasible for people to continue with the same routine indefinitely because things change and so does the individual. It is normal for people to develop new routines.
* Some people become who are recovering from an addiction become so obsessed with their routines that it becomes unhealthy. They may even view a disruption to their routine as a justification to relapse.
* Part of the joy of life is trying new things. If people are too obsessed with their routines they may be unwilling to experiment.
* The routines that people adapt can actually be limiting their potential.
* The individual may put their routine before family and friends. This is similar to how people behave in the midst of an addiction.
* In order for people to make a success of their recovery they will need to be constantly developing and changing. This means that their routines have to change with them.
* Some routines, for example exercise, become ineffective after a period of time. The individual has to make changes to rejuvenate their efforts.
* Some people fall into self-destructive routines such as addiction. These can make the individual miserable but they become accustomed to the familiar.
* If people are stuck in a routine they can struggle to make any new friends.
There are some good reasons for why it is important to try new things in recovery such as:
* If people try something new they could find that it makes them happy. People don’t know if they are going to like something unless they try it.
* All humans have skills and abilities that they are not aware of. It is only by trying new things that they become aware of these hidden assets.
* Trying new things forces people to grow and develop.
* It prevents boredom. Life becomes stale when people repeatedly do the same things – even if those things were highly enjoyable in the beginning.
* When people expand themselves it increases their self esteem and self confidence.
* Life in recovery is all about trying new things – it is the complete opposite of the limited life of the addict.
* Those people who have been trapped in addiction for many years can lose touch with what it is they enjoy. In order to find suitable activities they will need to experiment with different things once they become sober.
* If people become trapped in a routine for too long it can mean that their life becomes boring and predictable. This is dangerous because it may lead these individuals right back into addiction.
* Doing something new can be highly motivating for people. They may find that they suddenly become excited about the possibilities in life.
* If people find that they are becoming a bit despondent with their life they may find that trying some new things will snap them out of it.
* Those individuals who regularly experiment with new experiences tend to be more interesting to talk to. This often means that they find it easier to make friends.
There are many new things that people can try in recovery such as:
* Different spiritual practices such as yoga or meditation.
* Joining different groups such as community groups and societies that focus on special interests (e.g. book clubs).
* Martial arts can be a good option for people in recovery.
* Different types of voluntary work. This can be one of the most rewarding things that people in recovery can do, and it is also likely to strengthen their recovery.
* Traveling to different parts of the world can be great for broadening the mind. This type of adventure is best left until people are firmly established in recovery.
* Many people in recovery decide to return to education. They may do this in the hope of increasing their employment opportunities or just as a means to personal development.
* When people become sober they may find that their current career path is unsatisfying. Once they have been sober for a year or two they may decide to change careers completely.
* If people want to stay in good physical shape they need to mix things up every few months or so. If people continue with the one exercise it can lead to diminishing returns as the body adapts to it.
* If people listen to the same music that they enjoyed during their addiction it may cause them to romance the drink or drug. It is a good idea to experiment with new artists and types of music in recovery.
There are a number of reasons for why people resist new things in recovery such as:
* Unwillingness to break away from their routine.
* People fear change and there is also fear of the unknown.
* It is easier to stick with the familiar because people tend not to like to be challenged.
* Some people have a highly cynical attitude to anything unfamiliar and will dismiss such things out of hand.
In order to get the most out of recovery the individual needs to get the balance right between having a routine and trying new things. The trick is to value routines but not to get too attached to any particular routine – the individual needs to keep in mind that the routine that works for them now is unlikely to be appropriate indefinitely. It is not necessary for people to try new things every day, or even every week, but they have to be open to novelty and be willing to change their routines to meet new situations.