Staying Sober in a New, Healthy Lifestyle
Addiction is a complicated brain disease that leads to self-destructive behavior, a host of health problems, and sometimes death. When a person is addicted, they continue using drugs or alcohol despite the harmful consequences. This is due to the chemical and physiological changes that occur in the brain that makes the person unable to stop.
A person becomes physically dependent on drugs or alcohol and experiences painful withdrawals when they quit using them. That is why people continue to use drugs or alcohol when they become addicted. A healthy lifestyle in recovery makes it easier to stay sober.
Since the brain changes with addiction, it will take some time for the brain to learn how to function without drugs or alcohol. Everything associated with a person’s drug or alcohol use must change, including anything or anyone who is associated to their substance use. Friends associated with drug or alcohol use can unintentionally influence a relapse. New, sober relationships can develop by attending group meetings. If you feel the urge to use drugs or take a drink, you can call on a sober friend who can talk you through those feelings.
Focusing on healthy activities in recovery will help with your sobriety. Substance abuse and addiction affect mental and physical health. According to an article by Bob Gaydos on addiction recovery for Times-Herald Record, “Recovering physically is a critical hedge against relapse. It is a vital part of the recovery process and establishing new, healthy lifestyle habits can lay the groundwork for years of healthy sobriety.”
When a person is active, he or she will have less time to think about using drugs or alcohol. Staying active lessens the risk of boredom and promotes mental, emotional, and physical well-being. For a person in recovery, becoming more fit not only improves cardiovascular health, reduces weight, builds strength and stamina and rejuvenates the immune system, exercise can also help decrease symptoms of depression or anxiety, and can add brain cells. A healthy diet and exercise can also regulate restful sleep patterns.
Another way to cope with lifestyle changes stay sober involves keeping a journal. Writing allows you to reflect on your progress and see how you managed emotions and challenges in early recovery. Developing new routines will replace old habits and helps you to avoid thinking about drugs or alcohol. New, sober, sustainable friendships will make it easier to enjoy healthy interests and activities while living substance free.
Managing stress in recovery
Mindfulness of self and others with clarity allows a person to be in the present. Meditation and yoga are healthy activities that use deep breathing techniques to help clear the mind and renew the spirit. According to an article on How Meditation Conquers Addiction, EOC Institute, meditation stimulates and trains your brain to be happy and “naturally high” without the need for alcohol, prescriptions, marijuana, drugs, cigarettes, or any other addictive substance to feel good.
An article about oxygen levels and brain function for the Lung Institute (2016) states, “When you’re calm, breathing becomes easier and stress levels are lower. Deep breathing, meditation and positive thinking exercises are good ways to help you relax. Exercise also increases the oxygen in your blood.”
Certain drugs and alcohol can result in decreased blood concentration and deprive brain tissue of oxygen. A lack of oxygen to the brain can lead to brain cell death and coma. Staying active helps boost morale, reduces stress, and makes the recovery process much easier.
Gratitude in recovery
Be mindful of the many positive things that you have received. Pay attention to the little details of your day that you can be thankful for and you will discover the goodness in life. In recovery, you will find a new perspective for the world.
These simple things do not require a lot of effort, but for a person who struggled with addiction, they can seem like massive lifestyle changes. Once you get started, and are able to feel the positive effects of the changes, it will be that much easier to stick to them. Having gratitude will increase your quality of life and you will not feel like reaching for drugs or alcohol to feel better. Recovery is the most important thing in your life. Focus on yourself because you are only able to be a part of other people’s lives when you are doing well and feeling healthy.
Treatment for addiction and substance use disorders
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or substance use disorder, get help now. Addiction is isolating and makes you feel helpless, hopeless, and worthless, but you are not alone. Addiction is treatable and recovery is possible.
Mental health and substance use disorders often co-occur and must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best success in recovery. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. Holistic treatment focuses on healing the mind, body, and spirit while helping you transition into sober living. Take the first step toward an increased quality of life in new sober lifestyle and get help today.
“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy, I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” ~ Anonymous
Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.