Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction requires commitment and dedication. Fortunately, recovery is a well-traveled path. Millions of people have overcome addiction and built successful lives free of drugs and alcohol. Learning how to rely on the essential tools of recovery is one of the secrets to success. But, it is vital to let go of the notion that you can ‘go it alone’. To succeed in recovery, that delusion must be crushed. Accept that willpower by itself cannot keep you away from your drug of choice.
So, if you’re at the very beginning, your first stop should be a drug and alcohol treatment center. Your best chance of success will come from getting a medical detox if needed, followed by at least several weeks of treatment. This may be an inpatient stay at a facility or attending partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient (IOP) therapy. Ideally, you will live at a sober living facility for the duration. Once you’ve completed treatment you begin the first chapter of your life in recovery. Here is a list of five of the most useful tools in recovery.
A 12-Step Program
Alcoholics Anonymous (1) and Narcotics Anonymous (2) have helped tens of millions of people live well in recovery. Approach the idea with an open mind. Having a system and a fellowship for support are tremendously helpful to anyone in recovery. Don’t overthink it. Use the system and trust the process.
An Alternative Recovery Program
Traditional 12-step programs aren’t a perfect fit for everyone. That said, it is still critical to have structure and support in recovery. Alternatives to AA and NA exist. SMART Recovery (3) and Celebrate Recovery (4) are two of the most well-known. If you are a person of faith, you may find appropriate support through those channels. What matters is that you have a plan and you have people you can rely upon who understand. Recovery works best as a team effort.
Health and Exercise
Abusing drugs or alcohol takes a toll on the body and the mind. Several studies have shown that exercise actually helps people stay sober. (5) Not only can proper nutrition and exercise help counteract the effects of an addiction lifestyle, but they also help the body produce more endorphins. Endorphins are the natural “feel good” chemicals that can give us a sense of well-being.
Activities and Aspirations
Once drugs and booze are out of the picture, many people in recovery find they have time to fill. Dedicating yourself to learning a new skill or trade is conducive to a healthy recovery. Whether it’s recreation or professional or both, setting goals for yourself is also powerful medicine to enrich your recovery life.
Literature and Learning
There is a wealth of books, audiobooks, videos, and more related to recovery and self-improvement. Dive in and take advantage of what is out there. You may be amazed at what a difference something as simple as regularly listening to positive audiobooks or speakers can make. Always be looking for new ways to input positive energy.
Remember that recovery is a journey, not a destination. Many are tempted to think the work is over once the finish treatment at a drug and alcohol rehab. The good news is that recovery doesn’t have to be a chore. It’s about becoming your best self and that is something to get excited about! If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction or recovery, give us a call at (877) 207-5033. We can help.