One of the simplest preventative measures in addiction treatment and avoiding relapse for recovery patients is to remain both well-fed and well-rested. This is of especial import in early recovery when patients are more susceptible to shifts in mood that can lead to negative thinking and a reversion to previous addiction based habits.
An emphasis on habitual behavior — putting a stop to destructive physical and mental habits while creating new, healthier habits — is one of the cornerstones of any successful addiction treatment program. Creating better sleeping habits ranks high on the list of priorities when teaching addiction recovery patients how to take preventative measures. Although keeping regular sleeping habits may initially seem unimportant in the larger scheme of treating addictive disorders, staying well-rested remains one of the easiest methods for maintaining recovery. Patients begin the transition to creating better, healthier habits that are one of the most proven methods for maintaining sobriety.
Evolution of Addiction Treatment and Habitual Behaviour
The advancements in the understanding and subsequent treatment of substance misuse and addictive disorders have made addiction recovery treatment programs indistinguishable from the practices of treatment exercised in the past. As recent as the early 1900s, individuals suffering from an addictive disorder were sent, often against their will, to psychiatric asylums or special ‘colonies’ for mandatory treatment. Addiction itself was beginning to be viewed as a medical condition but still with an emphasis on the onus of addictive behavior on an individual’s moral failure in decision making.
Pockets in the medical community have always regarded addiction as a medical condition, but it was not until Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was formed in 1932 that the treatment of addiction disorders began to broaden its approach. Today, dual diagnosis approaches to addiction treatment are more common than ever, although the stigma of addiction as a moral failing still exists. The official medical designation of an addictive disorder as a psychological and physical illness is gradually eroding negative public perceptions.
Greater awareness about the complexity of addictive disorders has led to the acknowledgment that getting sober is often the easy part for those suffering from substance abuse — it is maintaining that sobriety where much of the work is needed. This involves first understanding both psychological and physical motivations for substance abuse, and then secondly enacting a plan or healthy routine to promote the necessary preventative measures that will help those in addiction recovery avoid triggers and potential relapse.
This is in large part why treatment facilities like Choice House offer 90-day inpatient services. Within the first 30 days, patients can begin detoxing and become acclimated to their new surroundings. The following month starts the process of deconstructing old patterns and creating new, healthier habits, while the final 30 days is about repeating those actions to help form them into long term habits. The longer these habits are repeated, the more likely they will stick in the long term.
Choice House’s Tips for Creating Healthier Sleeping Habits
We have already gone into detail about how important staying well-rested can be for sobriety maintenance among those in recovery, but how exactly do you ensure your healthy sleeping habits remain once you have left the rehab facility?
Some of the more universal tips for better sleeping habits still apply to those in addiction recovery; however, there are a handful of guidelines that are more particular to addiction recovery and will help you stay on track when it comes to staying sober. Here are Choice House’s tips for creating better sleeping habits:
- Create Structure with Daily Routine: Applying structure to one’s life or a daily routine is an important step in creating healthier habits in both mind and body as well as bringing a sense of calm and normalcy to what was previously a chaotic, addiction consumed lifestyle. As a bonus, a structured daily routine also ensures that those in addiction recovery stay well-rested through regularly set sleep and wake times. This may sound like a limitation or restriction at first, but daily structure/routine has been shown to increase productivity. We are in no way suggesting you employ a strict bedtime hour from which you never deviate, but you should set a general time to begin winding down. Also, establish a regular time to get ready for sleep as well as a regular time to start your day.
- Acknowledge and Accept Limitations: This means to avoid taking on too much responsibility in both your personal life and your work. Your number one priority should always be maintaining your sobriety, and overloading yourself with too many tasks or responsibilities can create unnecessary anxiety that will upset any form of a sleep cycle that you may have established. Give every day 100% of your best effort but also be able to recognize that your best might only be 75% that day. Being self-aware of and accepting your limitations can successfully curb unnecessary stressors and create better sleep habits.
- Physical Exercise: Expending energy through physical exercise during the day can ensure that you are tired when it is time to get to bed. There is nothing worse than laying in bed wide awake and restless. Exercise also has the dual benefit of releasing endorphins that decrease the chances of depression.
- Reading Before Bed: Reading an hour or two before bed can help the mind wind down, reduce anxiety, and increase the chances of falling asleep. If you are not a big reader, then just make sure you avoid the blue glow of phones and televisions. This means no screen time, albeit phone, tablet, or television, at least an hour before your scheduled bedtime.
If your negative thought patterns and unhealthy habits are encouraging your addictive disorder and co-occurring mental health issue, then Choice House is here to help. Utilizing a variety of therapeutic modalities, we offer men the opportunity to begin their transition to a sober lifestyle as they create a new foundation of love and empathy through the development of healthier habits. Our dual-diagnosis approach treats both the psychological and physical motivations of addictive disorders through a 90-day inpatient program, intensive outpatient service, and residency at our sober living campus. Choice House facilities are ideally situated between the Rocky Mountain National Park and the bustling city of Louisville. Taking full advantage of the natural wonder of the Rocky Mountains being literally in our backyard, we offer a unique outdoor wilderness therapy modality that allows men to reconnect and bond with fellow recovery patients through physical activities like hiking, kayaking, and rock climbing. We adamantly believe that the lifelong friendships you make at Choice House will prove vital to recovery long after you have left our facilities. Our proximity to Louisville also makes the site ideal for outpatient recovery patients transitioning back to their independent lives. For more information regarding Choice House’s treatment programs and facilities, please give us a call at (720) 577-4422.