This is a guest post by Adam Cook from Addiction Hub.
Ok, so you’ve made the decision to choose your life over your addiction. It’s a great first step. It’s not an easy decision to make, and it is one that will come with many challenges and triumphs, as well as a few setbacks and victories. Taking your life back from addiction can open you up to new experiences and get you back on track with old passions. The possibilities and opportunities are endless. Of course, that first step can seem so intimidating; you might not know where to start. That’s okay — you are not alone. Here are a few suggestions for getting your life back after addiction so you don’t just survive, but rather, thrive.
Join a Rehab Program
Depending on the addiction, you may want trained clinicians to recommend proven treatment programs to suit. Getting the right support is important. The Matrix model for example is proven and widely used in the US and also in Australia. Some Australian providers even have an app to keep you engaged in the program and remotely monitor your progress.
Adopt a Pet
There are many wonderful reasons to become a pet owner, when you are ready for that responsibility. Rover.com points out that companionship with a dog during recovery has many life-changing benefits— they can help reduce depression and anxiety. They also show complete, unconditional love that can be inspiring during a time when some people feel judged and stigmatized. The added level of responsibility, from feeding to walking to playing, instills in you a sense of purpose, according to Woman’s Day. Plus, knowing a happy, supportive pet needs you to stay sober to care for them can be a powerful tool against relapse.
Start a Side Business
You don’t need a ton of money or an elaborate business plan to own your own side gig. The gig economy is booming, from graphic designers who work on contract to pet sitters who only take on as many clients as they want. Keep the overhead low to keep your stress levels down, but consider taking something you enjoy doing to the next level. There are many sites where you can offer your services as a dog walker, drive with Uber or Lyft, take on a microjob, or offer your guest bedroom on Airbnb. Focusing your energy on a side gig not only keeps you from focusing on your addiction, but all those little successes are a strong reminder of what amazing things you can accomplish along the way.
Physical health is incredibly important in recovery. Chances are your addiction has taken a pretty severe toll on your body. One way to thrive after addiction is to direct your efforts toward getting back into shape. Not only is working out an endorphin and confidence booster, but it also takes your mind off negative thoughts and gives you something rewarding to focus on. It’s not uncommon for people to cross the threshold into addiction when they use substances like drugs and alcohol to cope with trauma, depression, anxiety, or stress. According to How Stuff Works, exercise is a healthy coping mechanism, one that supports a stronger mind, body, and lifestyle.
People in recovery can experience fluctuations every day. Being grounded and able to stay calm and present is key to managing those unpredictable challenges. Try to develop an appreciation for the new things you learn about yourself when you get through a rough morning, bump into an old friend from your addiction days, or choose a healthy way of dealing with everyday stress. Every challenge is an opportunity to be grateful for our inner strength and determination. All of your life experiences have made you the person you are, and even though some of those choices have made your life difficult, you can still feel gratitude for the lessons you learn. When you cultivate a feeling of gratitude, you tap into a deep well of inner strength.
Staying motivated during recovery requires inner and outer work. Adopting a dog, starting a business, and exercising are all ways to keep your mind and body on a healthy course. When you add gratitude to the mix, you are prioritizing the health of your spirit. Be compassionate and kind to yourself on this journey — it is one that can help you find your true self.
(image from Pixabay)