Completing treatment and returning to everyday life can be extremely challenging for those who have struggled with substance use. Changing routines and confronting triggers can be overwhelming. As difficult as it may be for those in the beginning stages of recovery, there are some steps that can be taken to ensure the transition is as smooth as possible. In addition to attending Outpatient, aftercare and support groups, the following are a few tips for staying drug free and healthy during this difficult but transformative time in recovery:
Tips for Staying Drug Free
Stay busy by setting short-term goals.
Occupying free time combats the boredom that can sometimes lead to relapse. Before bed, make a to-do list for the next day. Whether it’s submitting a job application, mowing the lawn or calling a friend, finding new ways to occupy any free time is important. Making habits to stay busy during the day will gradually disrupt the association to drugs and alcohol, and will also boost productivity and confidence.
Sweat it out. Try to squeeze in at least 30 minutes of exercise. According to a study at Mayo Clinic, exercise helps reduce stress, improves mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety, improves sleep and boosts mood. Those new to exercise shouldn’t feel intimidated. The study suggests a simple brisk walk is enough to reap these benefits.
Cut out toxic relationships.
Take responsibility for recovery by being honest with unhealthy friendships or romances. Ask for their respect in lifestyle changes, like the need for space. Ending it doesn’t mean the other person is “bad.” This is not assigning blame—only maintaining well-being.
Utilize support systems.
Support networks may include family, friends, colleagues, recovery meeting participants, sponsors or therapists. Verbalizing feelings, even when it’s uncomfortable, can help conceptualize and take responsibility for the next steps necessary. Joining and becoming engaged in a recovery community is beneficial as well, as it allows relationships to develop between people who have shared experiences and understand each other. Also remember that a support system isn’t only there to help through the bad—they are there to celebrate the good, as well.
When times get tough, remember this is a time of major change, and lessons and insights are being gained to use down the road.
For more tips for staying drug free, call Gateway Foundation today at 877.505.4673.