Getting sober is not easy and staying that way is where the real challenges lie. Learning to master your new life and enjoy it again will be a trial-and-error process that will take months of practice, lots of time and courage. The first 3 to 6 months are the hardest and until you find your rhythm sticking to the four S’s of RECOVERY will help you through this challenging time.
During addiction treatment, you kept a daily schedule. Although you may at times have felt that the structure was overly rigid, the purpose of having the structure was to orient you to the idea that structure has value. The regular pattern you followed at our addiction treatment center: yoga, group therapy, individual therapy, exercising, reflecting, socializing, more meetings, eating at a scheduled time and sleeping is at the core of a healthy, independent lifestyle. Structure and routine enable your body to “re-learn” how to follow its natural rhythm. Maintaining a schedule, planning your day and building more routines into your day are some basic things you can do to maintain structure in your life.
Support isn’t just having the love and support of family and friends. It’s important to understand that “support” requires an active effort on your part. Support involves engaging in and receiving assistance from all individuals and organizations that are able to help you. Active involvement in a recovery group, talking to your doctor about your recovery, seeing an individual and family therapist and drawing strength from your faith or other inspirational figures are ways in which you can support your recovery.
“Giving back” to your community, your church or another recovering addict instills a sense of compassion, confidence and commitment to living a healthy, independent life. No matter how far you’ve come or how far you’ll go, giving your time freely to those in need pays big bonuses to you in the realm of self-esteem, personal growth and gives your brain the positive feedback it needs to counter the destructive, self-centered habits you formed when you were actively using.
Addiction is a disease in which the sense of spirit and meaning in life is profoundly affected. Over time, drugs and alcohol rob you of your personal depth and spiritual center. By using drugs and alcohol over and over again, the addict trades brief experiences of relief or “highs” for real personal and spiritual growth. Developing or reawakening your “center,” a deepening appreciation of the profound mystery of life and understanding that there is more to life than the narrow world of this disease is a way to counter the negative effects of the struggles of everyday life and grow as a healthy person in long-term recovery.