Recommended Tips for a Successful Recovery
Recovery from drugs or alcohol is not easy. It requires courage, dedication, guidance, and perseverance. We have compiled a list of helpful tips or “guidelines” that have been accumulated over the years from many patients who have undergone a similar struggle. These are tips to help guide you towards your successful recovery.
Take it easy, day to day
Breath! Commit to a sober today. And do it again tomorrow. Be patient with yourself. Don’t go sprinting out of the gates. Start slow and steady, under control. Pace yourself.
“I am a slow walker, but I never walk back.” ― Abraham Lincoln
Hold on to hope
You can do this, and you will do this. Know that it won’t be easy. And know that some days are harder than others. But be resolute, and never give up hope.
Talk to friends. Talk to family. Talk to strangers. Talk to your therapist, recovery coach, and counselors. Talk in your group meetings. Communicate your feelings, your regrets, your fears, and your hopes. Tap into every source of support that is available. Tell a stranger that you have 3 weeks sobriety. Communicating will help you create a web of support that will motive and uplift you when you need it.
Establish a reliable support network and use it. If you are in a crisis → call! If you are thinking of taking a drink → call! If you are planning on using → call!
Replace the unhealthy people in your life
With supportive and inspiring people. Sometimes this is very difficult. Many people are co-dependent and deeply intertwined with people that jeopardize their attempts at recovery and contribute to their destruction. This is hard, but it must be done. If they are willing to respect the new you and your new life, then they can be a part of it. If not, then you will have to express that you care for them and wish them well, but that your health and happiness requires you to make dramatic changes in you life. It is a matter of life and death.
Replace the unhealthy ‘things’ in your life
With fulfilling and restorative ‘things.’ As you are no longer wasting your life by sitting in a bar or on the couch drinking or using, fill this newly found time with healthy activities. Change your routine. Exercise. Change your diet. Exercise. Adhere to regular sleeping patterns. Exercise. Take a class. Exercise. Read. Exercise. Eliminate idle time. Hike. Learn Spanish. Do something. Take a walk. Get out into nature. Take up yoga. Exercise…
Avoid unhealthy places
You will know deep down the certain places that you should avoid, particularly in the early part of your recovery. It does not require a lot of attention or drama, just simply be quietly and assuredly resolute in your avoidance of places where your fragile recovery may not be safe. “If you don’t want to slip, don’t go where it’s slippery.”
Exercise stimulates natural endorphins, and stimulates the restoration of depleted Dopamine production. There is no better way available. It will improve mood, improve sleep, and improve ‘relations.’ Exercise will decrease cravings. Exercise is essential to wellness.
Have healthy snacks available
In recovery, the damaged brain has crossed wires and hunger may manifest as a craving to drink. Have something available to nibble on. In addition, a healthy and wholesome diet helps accelerate brain circuitry repair.
Get plenty of rest
Alcohol thoroughly disrupts the sleep cycle and alcoholics invariably get poor quality and inadequate sleep for years. Your body needs rest. Listen to it. Inadequate sleep → increased stress → increased anxiety → increased susceptibility to emotions → increased cravings to drink.
Actively fight loneliness
Go to meetings. Join a team. Go to the dog park. Go read at a coffee shop.
Even for the struggle and lessons. Avoid self-pity with ferocity.
When the thought of a drink comes to mind. Let it serve as a healthy alarm to remind you of the perils. Use your tools. React with poise, in control of your life.
Understand that relapse is a part of recovery
“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Stay in control
Never allow someone or some situation to wrestle and possess control of you! Do not allow resentments or emotions mentally ‘drive you to drink.’ Just as no one physically forces you to use or drink, refuse to allow anything or anyone to mentally compel you to hurt yourself. It is your dominion. You are the master. Own it. Own you! Don’t relinquish your power.
When you are ready, give of yourself. Serve others. Sponsor another alcoholic. Find purpose. You receive blessings in giving. “Find yourself, by losing yourself, in the service of others.”
Join a support group
That you feel comfortable with, 12 step or otherwise. Initially it may be very uncomfortable to meet and speak with strangers. With time, they will not be strangers and they will provide you with camaraderie and unending support. They will help save your life. And you will help save theirs. Remember, it takes time to find the right group. Most people visit 4-6 different groups before they settle on the one that they feel most comfortable with. There exists countless different ‘flavors’ of group meetings. If you’ve had a bad experience in the past, try again. Try a different time, day, or format style of meeting. Group support is very important for long-term, durable recovery. AA, Smart Recovery, and Celebrate Recovery are a few of the popular and available group support networks. Find the one that you respond best to. But find one!
Remember your last miserable, damaging, painful, and embarrassing ‘drunk’
Instead of glamorizing a delusion of a satisfying, controlled ‘drink.’
Understand, with certainty, that alcoholism is an incurable, progressive, fatal disease.
It is a characteristic of your body. Live comfortably, not bitterly, with this understanding. You simply cannot change, trick, or outsmart your physiological make-up. Accept this, just as you accept your height, eye color, food intolerances, and allergies.
Drastic times calls for drastic measures
Do absolutely everything that it takes. If it takes going to meetings everyday, then do it. Losing your health, your family, your career, and invariably your life, is drastic!
“It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” ― Winston S. Churchill