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5 Practices You Can Do for Your Substance Recovery Program

    Present moment mindful meditation

    Building a successful recovery program for your future may take outside help. Reaching out for help in a culture that shames those struggling with addiction takes a great deal of strength and a brutally honest look at your life. Once you’re ready to move into recovery, the practices below can aid your move into a healthy life.

    Address the Little Things

    As the toxins leave your systems, you may notice little things that crop up that add to the pressure on you. You may have a challenge with someone on your care team. You may be in group therapy or in a residential treatment center and be struggling with another resident.

    Now is the time to get honest about these irritations. If you feel someone has wronged you, take the time to plan out what you want to say, then say it in a non-confrontational way. Be ready to hear what they have to say in return, and really listen to learn rather than react. Taking a confrontation to a counselor may also be helpful so you can learn to function honestly in the world, but don’t let pressure build up until you react in anger.

    Create Helpful Habits

    Our brains are designed to build habits. Habits are all the things we do automatically. If you wake up, go for a walk and meditate every day, you will start to need these behaviors because they are normal to your brain and body. Never leave your house without a water bottle. Set an alarm so you have time for your walk before going to work or to class.

    If you wake up, have a coffee and linger over a cigarette or two, you have automatic behaviors that your brain and body need that are not beneficial to you over the long term. Scale back unhealthy choices until you really need those items. You will enjoy them more and reduce your physical need a bit each day.

    Focus on Gratitude

    You may not be interested in participating in a specific religious tradition. However, working with a spiritual life coach and focusing on gratitude in your daily habits can give you many of the same benefits of a religious practice.

    Gratitude practice can be as simple as taking five minutes an hour to note where you are and how you’re doing. Are you

    • safe?
    • fed?
    • hydrated?
    • clothed?
    • aware of what you need to do in the next hour?

    Uncertainty can be a remarkable source of anxiety, which can be a serious hazard to anyone working through substance recovery. Taking things one moment at a time and knowing that you’re safe and having an awareness of what comes next is a simple way to ground yourself in gratitude.

    Protect Your Body

    Take simple steps to build a healthier body. Drink a extra glass of water in the morning instead of coffee. Skip the soda at lunchtime. Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast plate.

    Tiny steps to protect your body lead to bigger decisions. If you need to cut back on the junk food, stop drinking sugary soda or give up cigarettes, little steps can help you move forward in health.

    Schedule Playtime

    When you’ve been through the pain of detox and done the work of rehab, it’s critical that you remember to play a little. Don’t see exercise as a way to punish your body now for a possible benefit later. Instead, volunteer to walk dogs at a shelter and let the dog stop, sniff and enjoy the world. Let them explore and notice the world around you.

    You may notice a tree just putting out leaves, growing fruit or putting on their autumn colors. If you’ve ever taken pictures for the joy of it, go back to it. If you’ve ever wanted to learn to paint, make a list of the colors you need to create an image. Because there is so much shame around addiction in our culture, you may have been told you don’t deserve the fun of play. You will need to push against this attitude in your own soul to value your spirit enough to play.

    Everyone working through substance recovery has challenges to address. These challenges are easier to face when your body is getting healthier, when you’re noticing things to be thankful for, and when you get to play a bit. Be gentle with yourself and strive for small improvements every day.