Recovering from addiction, whether it’s drug or alcohol, is a very hard and very long process. But after going through it; let me assure you, it is completely worth it. Addiction is a disease that must be treated properly and that treatment will lead you towards a normal, happy life.
After being an addict for over 8 years, I hit rock bottom and finally realized I needed help, so I and got myself into a recovery facility. Rehab was full of wonderful (although sometimes tough) truths and teachings; and today I think maybe the most important lesson I got, had to do with my life habits.
In recovery, I learned how incredibly vital is to always replace the bad habits (in my case, the ones I had grown when I was an addict), with positive, life-changing habits. Today, this tool helps me face every single day, even when I am sad, stressed, angry or upset in any way.
Acknowledging bad habits is not enough, breaking them is not enough either; it is imperative that you replace any bad habits you may have with positive, healthy ones, after all, you are building a new sober life that should have a safe, constructive environment.
Overcoming Addiction: 5 Powerful Habits You Learn Through Recovery
Replacing habits is not as easy as it sounds; it requires willpower, motivation, and dedication that will lead the path towards replacing those bad habits that are holding us back.
In rehab, I replaced and implemented 5 powerful habits that stayed with me over time, and today I would like to share them with you.
1. Embrace your strengths
When you are in recovery and going through the 12 Steps program, you learn how to do an ‘Inventory’ of yourself, checking what is right and what needs improvement. It is an absolute must to correct all the bad things addiction has brought.
However, focusing on the bad things is not all you should be doing. Rehab also means learning to love yourself and acknowledging your strengths, it means embracing them so they can be the tools needed to be the best possible version of YOU.
Make a list! What are your assets?
Are you loyal?
Don’t be shy. Focus on your best features, embrace them and enhance them, they are part of your new sober and healthy life.
2. Don’t look for stress actively
Stress is something we have to deal with every day, in our jobs, transportation, personal lives; but in order to live a happy life we need to limit our exposure to it. How can we do that? Well, there are some easy tips to manage stress:
- Avoid negative or very dramatic people
- Put yourself first, your feelings and your comfort; then tend to others
- Don’t try to do everything at the same time, or really fast.
- Breathe deeply when you encounter a problem
- Try a new hobby, like yoga.
- Learn to say ‘NO’ without feeling guilty (it’s ok not to want some things)
3. Re-Learn to have fun
This was one of the biggest trials I faced when I was in recovery, after all, that had happened, what could I possibly do to have fun that did not involve any drugs or alcohol?
Well, deep breaths and a lot of research proved that there were many new things I could do that would let me have healthy fun. Surprisingly, I wanted to do them. Some of the new things I tried included:
- I got a new hobby (for me, it was yoga)
- I visited a museum
- I went back to school and got into a crafts class
- I downloaded a bunch of recipes and started cooking a new dish at least twice a week.
- I signed up for a volunteer program.
Just like these, there are many new things you can try, you will probably dislike a few, but let me assure you, it will feel great to go out and giving them a shot, it will let you know that you have control over your life once again. Among everything you try, you will definitely find some new happy hobbies to accompany you in your new life.
4. Be grateful
You have survived and are on the path of recovery of a very destructive disease. I know it has been a rough ride, that there are many things you must regret, but the most important thing here is that you lived on.
You have made it through, and you have a second chance at life, many people don’t have that. Be grateful for that opportunity and welcome all the positive changes you are experiencing in your life. Notice and rejoice all the great things that surround you now, nature, good weather, loving people, and great coffee. All those little moments of happiness are what will accompany you on this new path.
5. Be surrounded by positive people
When you are recovering from addiction, you learn that many places, people and even routines you have are toxic, which is why they pushed you towards drug or alcohol abuse. It is imperative that you get away from all those things, people and places that you associated at one point with substance abuse.
Remember that not only your drug/drinking people are the negatives around you. Many sober persons also carry negative energy, and provide no emotional support or help towards your recovery. You don’t need that destructiveness in your life and your recovery.
So take the opportunity to spend your time with constructive, positive people that will support you and help you towards the recovery path. In them, you will find courage for the rough times, and understanding of what you are going through. If you need to, make new friends.
Where can you meet new people?
Try group therapy sessions, 12-step meetings or support groups. Other recovery addicts can be a great support as they are going through the same path you are.
The best part of these life changing habits I learned in recovery is that I understood that life was giving me the opportunity to work and gain what I had lost when I was an addict and life a full happy life, as I had always wanted.