Everyone wants to have a positive attitude when entering an addiction treatment program. After all, who wouldn’t want a smooth, painless recovery? Unfortunately, there is no exact plan that ensures that you will succeed in recovery, at least one that has yet to be discovered. But, there are proven, effective strategies that have been thoroughly researched and give addicts a sense of direction, a purpose in life, and most importantly, hope.
Recovery is a personal experience, and no two experiences are the same. You have to find what methods give you the motivation to stay clean and sober. Below are five strategies that you should apply to your personal recovery. These strategies may need to be modified, but ultimately, they are conducive to a happy, long-term recovery.
1. Follow a Wholesome, Constructive Routine
A schedule is very important to a young infant. That is because they are just learning about the world and need to know what comes next to prevent feeling overwhelmed. The same is true for recovering addicts. You are learning how to adapt to life again, and getting ahead of yourself can make you feel overwhelmed or anxious. By sticking to a consistent routine, you can ease anxiety and stress.
Following a healthy routine also leads to a wholesome lifestyle. A high-protein breakfast, a walk after lunch and journaling before bed all become part of your new routine. With this continued effort, you will learn to fill your body with good things and adapt to healthy sleeping and lifestyle habits. When your body is strong and feels good, you have the motivation to continue on this path, and this leads to better choices.
2. Have a ‘One Day at a Time’ Mentality
Recovery is a lifetime of making smart choices and avoiding temptation, so it’s best to accept the reality that you won’t be fully recovered when you walk out of rehab. You may be glad that your drug or alcohol using days are behind you, but you can’t get too confident in your recovery. You will have good days, you will have bad days. But you CAN stay clean and sober.
The key is to take things one day at a time. Early recovery is a gradual transition to everyday life, so you need to give yourself time to adapt to your new normal. You will no longer be filled with toxic substances, but you will have to learn new coping strategies. Focus on each moment of the day and the many things you have to be proud of. No one is guaranteed tomorrow, so make the most of what you have today.
3. Learn from Your Mistakes
Learning is a large part of the recovery process. You are learning new life skills and coping strategies. You are learning about the underlying reasons for your addiction. You are learning about a potential co-occurring disorder that must be treated. You are also learning from the mistakes you’ve made, and the mistakes you will make.
No one is perfect, but when you have the stress of rebuilding your life after addiction, you have amends to make and trust to rebuild in your personal relationships. You’re not setting out to make mistakes, but if they do occur, take responsibility and learn from the actions. Mistakes are not failures, but don’t let them be damaging to your recovery, either.
4. Attend Support Groups and 12-Step Meetings
It doesn’t matter how supportive your family is, or how strong you think you are. The fact is simple: support groups and 12-step meetings are vital to a healthy recovery. Twelve-step groups are not religiously based, and they are not mock therapy sessions. In fact, you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to. What makes these groups significant is that they provide recovering addicts with a strong support network that is unbiased, non-judgmental and accepting of everyone.
If you don’t like the group you’re in right now, don’t give up. There are many different styles of meetings since they are autonomously run, so you should ultimately find what you’re looking for. Be open and listen to others as they share their experiences. The people you meet in your recovery groups are truly one of a kind. Through these groups, you will meet your mentor or advocate, who can also play a large role in your recovery.
5. Believe in Yourself
Believing in yourself is the single most important thing you can do for your recovery. This is not to be confused with overconfidence, of course, but instead relies on the fact that you know you are completely capable of getting clean and staying that way. If you believe in yourself, you will realize that small modifications along the way are necessary to keep your goals in check, especially if you find that temptations are stronger than normal.
The further out you get from recovery, the more you may find yourself stretching beyond your comfort zone and mastering new things. It may be hard to imagine today, but there will be plenty of opportunities that will come your way. Knowing that you are capable of achieving these things will give you the inspiration you need to stay clean, sober and positive.