How to Stay in Control of Your Life
For those who have never struggled with substance abuse, the ability to easily stay sober is often taken for granted. But for patients with a history of drug use, the fight to stay sober is an everyday battle that requires conscious effort. In most cases, changing your behaviors requires a quite literal transformation of your life. It’s not easy, and it’s definitely not something you should expect to happen overnight, but here are five tips that can help you stay sober and remain on the right path during recovery.
1. Remove Negative Influences
This is always a difficult step for users to follow because, at one point in their lives, it would have been a justification for their friends to abandon them. Your friends may not have ill intentions, but when they use substances around you or pressure you to take drugs with them, they are preventing your recovery. Removing negative influences might require you to leave behind friends, family, and loved ones that you’ve known for years. This separation will likely cause hurt feelings on both sides of the table, but this cost is ultimately for your health, safety, and happiness, which makes it a sacrifice worth making.
Not having a support system during this trying time can make it all the more difficult, so be sure to replace your negative influences with positive ones to stay strong during your recovery. Join support groups, attend church meetings, and get involved in volunteer work to surround yourself with individuals who are working toward bettering themselves and the world around them.
2. Develop Empowering Habits
Chemical dependence can make you feel helpless and powerless, which is why users need to fill their days with activities that lift them up and improve their overall sense of well-being. Unfortunately, abusers will often turn to other substances when they are recovering from addiction. For example, a former heroin user may turn to alcohol to replace their former addiction, or an alcoholic may begin smoking cigarettes heavily to satisfy cravings. The key to avoiding this endless cycle of addiction is to replace bad habits with empowering ones before you slip into other negative behaviors by accident.
Exercise is one excellent habit that can offer a kind of natural high that empowers you and improves your state of mind in a positive way. This can involve engaging in something as simple as running around the block, but can be even more stimulating by joining an exercise class, sport, or adventuring group.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Maintaining your health is vital to a smooth recovery. When you eat right, exercise, and sleep at least eight hours per night, you equip your body with the strength it needs to overcome the effects of substance abuse and fight off cravings. Eating balanced meals is one of the most important factors, since your immune system will often have difficulty adjusting to sobriety. In some cases, visiting a rehab center is necessary to maintain access to professionals who can monitor your health and advise accordingly.
Visiting a doctor regularly is another important component of taking care of yourself while in recovery. This is mostly because what’s healthy for the average person may not be enough for someone in recovery for drug abuse. In fact, many recovering users require extra sleep as they adjust to sobriety. This might feel unusual at times, but your sleep levels will begin to normalize after a while.
4. Better Yourself
Maintaining your old lifestyle can be dangerous because it perpetuates the same circumstances that drove the substance abuse in the first place. If you started to use because you were going to the club every night and wanted to have a good time, you’ll need to fill your nights with more positive activities and make drastic changes to your lifestyle. If possible, move to a whole new area, enroll in a higher education program, or set other professional goals for yourself to make your life better.
Visit a therapist to help you confront the emotions and circumstances that led to drug abuse, and learn how to develop healthy coping mechanisms when faced with hardships. Develop your talents, set goals, and work toward achieving them to become the person that you’ve always wanted to be. Remember that it’s never too late to change your life and fulfill the dreams you’ve had since you were young.
5. Inspire Others
As a recovering user, you could be a source of inspiration to countless people who have undergone your same struggles. One of the best ways to motivate yourself to maintain a drug-free lifestyle is to know how much it means to other people. Being the person that inspires others to get help and overcome substance abuse gives your life purpose and meaning beyond any worldly accomplishment. You can become the person that inspired you to overcome your own addiction, or be the person you wish you could look up to while you were struggling the most.
As a recovering user, you have the unique ability to understand and support someone who has been in the same position as you. Sharing your experiences, including your struggles and triumphs, can be life-changing for someone who feels like recovery isn’t a possible goal. Sometimes people need to see this success to believe it, and being that source of inspiration could quite literally save someone’s life.
Becoming a Better You Every Day
The paths that lead to recovery are as varied as the ones that led to substance abuse in the first place. It’s important to remember that no recovery process is one-size-fits-all. Some solutions might work better than others and some might not work at all, so don’t feel discouraged if your recovery process doesn’t work out exactly like someone else’s. It’s also important to remember that recovery doesn’t always happen as quickly as we’d like it to. Life is complicated, and overcoming substance abuse is one of the most difficult experiences a person can have. But you don’t have to go through it alone.