When you complete a treatment program and begin a new, sober life, you must leave your old life behind. This may be a welcome change, but the adjustment from a life centered around substance use to one focused on recovery can be a complex undertaking. For many, this means removing certain acquaintances and activities from your list of go-to’s. Today, we’ll explain why building a healthy routine is integral to early recovery.
The Importance of Routine
Many people think that their greatest challenge after treatment will be staying busy – they want to heed warnings about the dangers of boredom and respond by filling their days with activity. However, without adequate structure, jam-packed days can become burdensome and stressful. Crucial elements like adequate sleep and healthy meals may fall by the wayside if they are not made a top priority. These factors can combine to create negative feelings and possible pressure to use again. You can avoid this by instead building more structure into your routine.
Additionally, the human body functions best on a set schedule. Your sleeping and eating patterns should be as consistent as possible for optimal results. Once you establish a rewarding routine that creates a positive experience, you will reinforce good behaviors that contribute to your overall health and well-being.
How to Set a Schedule That Works
Like recovery, you should take this process one day at a time. Begin by writing out your goals – are there specific hobbies you’d like to pick up again, or a new type of exercise you’re interested in trying? When everything is down on paper, it will become much easier to list out the day’s events.
One important note is to ensure that your schedule still has a bit of flexibility. It should add to your day, not create anxiety or impose rigid, hard-to-follow rules. Be sure that you’re setting realistic, attainable standards for yourself and others, and that the way you’re spending the day reflects your values and beliefs.
As you adjust to your new routine, feel free to make some changes and discover what works best in practice. Consider whether you are out of balance – recovery requires harmony in all aspects of our lives, and if you find yourself devoting too much time to one area, don’t be afraid to switch things up. You are in control of how you decide to allocate your time, and early recovery is an excellent opportunity to create the life you’ve dreamed of.
Sample Schedule Items
- Waking up and going to bed at consistent, reasonable times
- Eating nutritious, regular meals
- Prioritizing personal hygiene and self-care
- Exercising regularly
- Completing household chores
- Learning a new skill
- Participating in favorite hobbies or team sports
- Meditating and journaling
- Attending 12-Step meetings
- Keeping up with doctor’s appointments and therapy sessions
- Spending time with friends and family
Tips for Your Routine
Write it down. If you have a hard copy of your schedule, it will be more challenging to talk yourself out of doing the difficult parts (like cleaning or cooking).
Spend your time wisely. Don’t leave large swaths of time for watching television or browsing the internet. Instead, choose engaging activities that add to your day (rather than those that waste time).
Practice moderation. It can be tempting to over-commit to hobbies and events when given the opportunity, but this can create undue stress. Be realistic in your goals and consider whether you are beginning to obsess over a new outlet.
Keep good company. One of the key difficulties for people in active addiction is their consistent pursuit of isolation. Be sure to surround yourself with family and friends who support your recovery and cut ties with those who would rather see you using again.
Make healthy choices. Incorporate activities that contribute positively to your recovery. Choosing to read self-help books, meditate, or attend meetings can make all the difference when times get tough.
Remember that every day is a victory. There can be a lot of pressure in early recovery to fill your days with successes or accomplished tasks – be sure to remember that just staying sober each day is a win!
Support in Early Recovery
If you need extra support in early recovery, deciding to call Segue can be one of the most vital decisions you’ll ever make. Segue Recovery Support offers a full continuum of services to clients who are seeking lasting sobriety from drug or alcohol dependency. To learn more, call 1-866-905-4550.