Addiction recovery can be a long and challenging road to walk. While rehabilitation is an important part of getting sober, the lifestyle changes you make afterward will determine how successful your long-term recovery is. Here are 12 things you can do to stay sober and live your best life.
1. Eat a nutritious diet.
Taking care of your physical health is crucial when you’re in recovery from addiction. You probably weren’t taking good care of your body before, so now is the time to make up for it. Eat lots of fresh produce, whole grains, and lean protein – these foods will give your body the nutrients it needs to repair the damage of addiction. Do your best to eat only when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full.
2. Get some exercise every day.
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body and your mind, so get moving! Working out won’t just make you fitter – it’s also a good way to boost your mood and manage your emotions. Find a type of exercise you like to do, such as walking or swimming, and try to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day.
3. Get enough sleep.
Get at least eight hours of sleep every night. Do your best to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Your body needs plenty of shut-eye to repair the damage of addiction, and getting enough sleep also boosts your mood and decision-making skills.
4. Drink plenty of water.
Hydrate your body with at least eight glasses of water every day. Drinking water helps you stay alert and focused throughout the day, and it’ll help curb impulses to snack on unhealthy foods.
5. Develop some new hobbies.
If you try to live your life the way you did before recovery, you’ll probably be tempted to relapse into old habits. Avoid falling back into your old patterns of behavior by filling your time with fun new activities. Pick up old hobbies that you dropped when your addiction started, or try some new activities you’ve always been curious about. Keep yourself busy by planning to do something interesting every day – don’t give yourself too much idle time to dwell on the past.
6. Seek out a new social circle.
One of the hardest – but most important – parts of addiction recovery is finding a new social circle. As much as you might still care about your old friends, it’s not a good idea to hang out with anyone you used to drink or do drugs with, especially if they’re still involved with that lifestyle. Even if you think you’re strong enough to handle it, going back to your old social circle is a certain route to relapse for most people in recovery, so don’t even take that chance.
Instead, find some new, supportive friends to spend time with. A support group can be a good place to meet people who are going through the same thing as you. You can also try joining a club or taking a class to meet people with similar interests.
Don’t forget about your family! As long as your family wasn’t involved in fueling your addiction, now is the perfect time to reconnect with them. Family can be a great source of unconditional love and support, so reach out to them sooner rather than later to reconnect.
7. Start or renew a spiritual practice.
Sometimes faith can help you stay strong when nothing else works. Make spirituality a part of your life during recovery. If you are religious, attend services regularly and get involved in your religious community. If you aren’t religious, consider taking up meditation or yoga, which can help you find a sense of peace and connectedness.
8. Find healthy coping strategies.
Many people struggle with addiction because they use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate or deal with emotions. Now that you’re sober, you can’t use substances as a crutch anymore, so work on finding some healthier ways to cope with negative feelings. For example, you could try exercising, talking with a friend, writing in a journal, or praying. If you’re struggling, talking to a therapist can really help, too.
9. Be honest with yourself and others.
Honesty is one of the key principles of recovery. Addiction involves a lot of lying, both to yourself and to other people. If you really want to get better, learning to be honest is a must. Work on being open and straightforward with everyone in your life, including yourself.
10. Manage your money.
The sooner you get a handle on your financial life, the better. Good money management isn’t a priority for many people with addictions, so you might have some debt or other problems to deal with. Start saving and paying off debt now, so you can have greater peace of mind later.
11. Be thankful for the good things in your life.
An attitude of gratitude can make all the difference when it comes to staying sober. When you were in the grips of addiction, you probably didn’t appreciate or even notice all the good things in your life. Now that your mind is clear, focus on finding all the things you have to be thankful for. You probably have a lot more blessings than you ever realized.
12. Set goals for your future.
You’re far less likely to relapse when you have hopes and dreams for the future. Think about what you want to do with your life, and make a plan for how to get there. Now that you’re sober, you can do anything you set your mind to, so dream big.
There is life beyond addiction, and it’s better than you ever might have guessed. By making healthy lifestyle choices, you can stay sober and build a life you’re proud of, one day at a time.