Entering a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program is a daunting, yet necessary step toward living a sober life, but it’s just the beginning of the recovery process. Long-term sobriety depends on one’s actions during and after rehab, as it can be difficult to figure out how to navigate life sans an illicit substance.
The good news is that with improved mental health comes a renewed sense of clarity and purpose. Below are some ways an addiction survivor can celebrate this achievement and contribute to their recovery by living their best life in 2018.
Exercise has been proven to have short- and long-term benefits for recovery survivors, including improved mood and heart health, a boost in self-confidence, a decrease in depression, and a rebuild of muscle mass. It’s not uncommon for those previously addicted to drugs or alcohol to experience muscle atrophy (aka wasting tissue), which can be difficult to repair depending on the severity of the addiction. In this case, low-impact activities such as swimming and cycling are best until strength has improved. You can even create an home gym so you can exercise at home. Any physical fitness program should be balanced with meditative activities such as yoga in an effort to boost mental health. The practice is also a spiritual journey that supports spiritual well-being, which is important since connecting to a higher power can help banish feelings of loneliness and unworthiness.
Spend Time Outdoors
Whether it’s having a picnic, camping, heading to the beach, or taking a simple stroll around the block, spending time in the fresh air has been proven to have copious health benefits (even according to science), including improved focus and outlook on life, strengthened immunity (a little vitamin D from the sun goes a long way), and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Take on a New Hobby
While there’s nothing wrong with picking up an old hobby, taking up a new one can give recovery survivors a renewed sense of purpose that can help fill the time previously spent dedicated to an addiction. There are no limitations as to what activity one should choose (think painting, learning a foreign language, taking music lessons, gardening), but it’s helpful to prioritize interests in order to stay focused.
Get a Pet
Pets have been known to help many people, from sick children to seniors to those suffering with depression, and recovery survivors are no exception. Many rehab facilities allow pets knowing very well that they can be a key component to sobriety. Owning a pet means having to think of another life other than your own, which can create a sense of purpose and responsibility. Also, depending on the type of pet you get, the experience can encourage social time with others.
Take a Sober Vacation
Boozy days on the beach may be a thing of the past, but part of the recovery process is learning how to enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Luckily, sober vacations have become extremely popular over the past few years. Many retreats focus on holistic practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and alternative medicine — all of which are beneficial for long-term sobriety even long after the holiday is over.
Everyone can benefit from unplugging once in a while, but recovery survivors can use it as an opportunity to center themselves and focus on their treatment. There are a lot of unnecessary social pressures tied to social media, the news, and advertising — many of which are not beneficial to anyone, let alone someone getting back on their two feet. By going back to the basics and turning off the noise, it can be easier to focus on physical, mental, and spiritual health.