Spring cleaning isn’t just a time to remove clutter from the home. It’s an opportunity to renew your energy and focus by getting rid of the things you no longer need in your new life. Cleaning up the home is a great way to facilitate this since you have to make the effort to update drawers and closets, organize messy areas and donate stuff you no longer need. It’s a great feeling that sets you up for success in your new endeavors.
The spring is a wonderful time for recovering addicts to start fresh. Some may be returning home from treatment. Some are working on early recovery, and others may be ready to turn a new leaf by becoming a sponsor. Whatever the situation may be, now is the perfect time to purge the bad from your life and embrace the good.
Here are a few tips for spring cleaning your recovery.
Update the Home
When Sam returned home from treatment for his alcohol addiction, his home still reflected his alcoholic ways. Shot glasses and beer mugs in the cabinets. Old bottles of liquor. Signs from beer and liquor companies hung on the wall. All of these things could trigger certain feelings and emotions in Sam that could make him want to drink again. The best way to embrace his new, sober life was to get rid of all the things that reminded him of his drinking days.
It’s important to do the same in your own home. You are no longer an active addict, so take the time to get rid of anything that brings you back to your using days. Even the smallest things can be triggers, so look through your movie/music collection, letters from old friends, drug paraphernalia, photos and wall hangings.
Discontinue Toxic Relationships
Many addicts learn during treatment that they have fly-by-night friends, not true friends. But, it can still be hard to let certain friendships go in early recovery. Some days, you may feel resentful over all the things you’ve had to give up to get sober, and relationships with old friends are one of them. In order to move forward in your recovery, you must weed out relationships that aren’t beneficial to your health and recovery. Remember, if that other person gets clean, they can always come back into your life.
Cut Back on Bad Habits
Recovery is a time of growth and advancement. You are constantly improving your life, even though it may be in small measures. One way to make your recovery stronger is by cutting out bad habits. Bad habits can be anything, from the very simple (biting your nails, snacking when you’re not hungry) to the very significant (overspending yourself into debt, smoking cigarettes). Make a list of the habits you want to quit and create a plan for how you will slowly stop the behavior. Don’t overwhelm yourself; choose one habit to focus on at a time and make small steps to cut back.
Start a New Hobby
Is there something that you’ve been wanting to try? Most of us have at least something on our list: knitting a blanket, keeping a journal, building a dollhouse, traveling, photography and so forth. Now is the perfect time to start one of these activities. What you clean out of your home leaves space for the hobby. And, now that you’re not spending all of your money on your habit, you can use it to invest in the things that are healthy and constructive like photography supplies or DJ equipment.
Step Up Group Participation
Hopefully you are part of an AA or NA group that you enjoy. But if you’re not, spring is a great time to check out different groups in your area. Each AA or NA group is unique, so you may find that a different group of people or a change in scenery may make the experience more positive. If you are doing well in your current group, consider the opportunity to become a sponsor. And, if you’re not ready to be a sponsor but would like to step up your participation, be a good role model by helping, supporting, serving and sharing.
Letting go of past resentments is an important part of recovery. It can be hard to forgive when you’re just re-learning who you are, but forgiveness is something that doesn’t come overnight. Bitterness and resentment can destroy you even more than drugs and alcohol, so you must practice forgiveness regularly – not for the other person but for yourself.
These are just a few of the ways that you can spring clean your recovery and set yourself up for success.