Addiction is an internally derived yet often extrinsically motivated, chronic need to satisfy an urge with a specific stimulus. Your body reads this brain’s chronic dysfunction as a problem that can only be solved by purging on whatever substance, activity, or other addictive cycle is in question. This in it of itself is a trap, as the body could never use the addictive material to actually silence the chronic urge, but simply momentarily quiet it until it returns in larger strength. This why addiction is ultimately such a strenuous battle – you are literally being asked to combat your own brain. Although this is a challenge, it is also entirely manageable. With the right tools in place healthy recovery can and will be achieved – here are 6 healthy habits to put in place in order to recover well:
1. Your Tribe Drives Your Vibe.
Who we choose to surround ourselves with can have a major impact on our behaviors, decisions, and even the manner in which we process cognitive and emotional triggers. Surrounding yourself with the right people is essential to recovery and can ultimately become a deciding factor in your personal level of progress. Have enough respect for the growing process as well as enough respect for yourself to only surround yourself with those individuals who encourage and support your recovery. This does not mean to only surround yourself with like-minded individuals, as diversity is healthy, but to only give your time to those who motivate you to go further in your recovery not backpedal. Learning to build the habit of being selective with who you choose to spend your limited energy on is key.
2. Redefine “Fun”
We often tend to correlate the act of feeding our addiction with “fun”, but this is an unhealthy habit that you must break to find success in sobriety. Fun is not found in the substance your body craves, but in the chemicals that your brain releases when you use the substance. Such chemicals include dopamine, your brain’s “happy juice” that releases when you find pleasure, and serotonin, your brain’s mood regulator. You need to learn associate fun with these mental and emotional reactors, not the stimulant you are using to trigger said reactions. Once you understand this concept, redefining fun is simply a matter of finding new and healthier triggers such as exercise, attaining a new skill such as cooking or crafting, doing something you love such as going to the beach or an amusement park, or even hanging out with friends or family.
3. Study Yourself (know your triggers, warning signs, limits, tempts, etc.)
Self-awareness is one of the most powerful tools that you have in terms of your own recovery. We all have our own sense of unique strengths and weaknesses and understanding what we can use to our advantage versus what we need to be aware of in terms of our threats. Learn what triggers you may have in terms of temptations or exposure to substances. Learn what your warning signs are in terms of what physical, mental and emotional reactions you feel when exposed to your triggers. Know your limitations and learn what you need to do to cope. Perhaps even consider keeping a journal to track these different things throughout your sobriety journey – it may even be helpful in tracking your patterns through your ups and downs.
4. Focus on Your Strengths
Throughout your journey through recovery you will undoubtedly face both ups and downs. There will be temptations, there will be slip ups, there will be low moments, and it is important to remember that those low moments do not define you as a person or your recovery journey as a whole. Focusing on your strengths and high moments as opposed to the negative ones can keep your motivation higher and heighten the chances of your recovery lasting. Don’t get down on yourself for your mistakes but do take them seriously. Don’t give up because of a slip up and do take note of your progress.
5. Eat, Sleep, Breathe.
Taking care of your physical health has a major impact on your mental and emotional well-being as well. Keeping a relatively healthy diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are all ways that you can build healthier habits to keep your recovery on track.
6. Establish Routine
As humans, we are creatures of habit by nature. This means that habits are built through routine, and routine is built through intentional behavioral patterns. Learning to keep routine and build healthy patterns is the key to success in building healthy habits. So, whatever patterns you choose to build, choose to do them daily and with intentional effort.