Addiction to substances affects more than just your physical health; it significantly impacts mental health in a number of ways. In recovery, you may experience memory loss leading to frustration, anger, or stress. Understanding that addiction is harmful to your brain and body is key to positive change.
You might find that conducting activities while sober is difficult because you trained your body to do things differently while under the influence of substances. However, recovery is about repairing your mental and physical health by providing tools and techniques that restore memory. Let’s look at how you can work to improve your memory in recovery.
Create Healthier Habits
A major component in transitioning to a sober lifestyle is the ability to form new and healthier habits. To do this, create new and consistent patterns, ways of thinking, and problem-solving into your daily regimen. Soon you will realize you haven’t forgotten everything; it might just be challenging for your body to acclimate while not under the influence. You will also develop new coping skills in managing any challenges that come from performing tasks. Such skills promote minimizing stress through sobriety. Some practices include:
- Practicing mindfulness
- Regularly attending meetings
- CBT therapy
Adapting While Sober
When using substances, your brain creates connections between specific situations or triggers to drug or alcohol use. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, substances alter normal brain structure and function, producing cognitive shifts that promote continued use through maladaptive learning. Such changes hinder the acquisition of adaptive behaviors that support abstinence. Therefore it is imperative to correct these behaviors by using techniques that encourage sobriety.
Seeking a therapist who can help you develop techniques and new pathways in sobriety will instill confidence and ease the stress of performing such tasks. In these guided sessions, you will develop new triggers that prompt you to respond rationally without relying on substances to assist you or cue negative behavior.
Building Your Mental Muscles
Certain aspects of drug and alcohol addiction can briefly enhance your working memory and performance, which might leave you wondering how you can repair your memory and performance while sober. Focusing on these few activities rebuilds your mental muscles:
- Participate in doing puzzles, such as Sodoku or crossword. Completing these kinds of puzzles provides a consistent and robust workout for your brain. They also utilize the areas responsible for promoting problem-solving and memory skills. There are also plenty of brain-training phone apps available for free downloads.
- Meditate. When you participate in mindful meditation, you are training your brain to become aware of your thoughts in relation to how you are feeling. You can use this skill to improve your decision-making skills. The best part is you can utilize short work breaks or schedule short breaks throughout the day to allow for time to meditate.
- Try new activities. Recovery is all about discovering new passions and purpose. Making new neural connections by taking up cognitive activities such as music, painting, or writing will help expand your brain’s abilities and your talents. Discovering a new activity that you are good at can also lead to new opportunities in both your personal and professional life.
Your mental and physical health are connected, and the more you can synchronize the two, the stronger and more focused you will feel. Physical activity encourages blood flow throughout your body and therefore oxygenates your brain. Long-term drug use damages neurotransmitters, but fortunately, exercise can help repair them.
The natural chemical and physical responses the body releases after a workout boosts the condition of the body and mind. Taking just 30 minutes each day helps improve cognitive function and even sparks inspiration and creativity. These activities do not have to be arduous or related to heavy weightlifting. Walking, running, and hiking are great ways to get the blood flowing while reaping the benefits of exercise. Adding a workout into your regimen is excellent for synchronizing your mind, body, and spirit.
Get Good Rest
Rest is essential for sound brain and body function. It allows your brain to process and decompress thoughts from your day, which frees up memory. Good sleep requires an adequate wind-down period before bed, usually a half-hour. Such time should be used to relax, meditate, journal, or read. Spending time on your phone, watching TV, or taking care of last-minute chores do not count as they are not opportunities for mindfulness. Further, the blue light from phone or TV screens are known to increase dopamine levels, which promote energy, and having an influx before bed can hinder the quality of your sleep.
Substances take a toll on your brain; however, recovery can help restore certain areas of your brain. Remember, while your memory and concentration might not be where you want them to be, continuing to use them will only make it worse. Therefore, if you are currently struggling to manage your recovery, then the time to seek help is today. At Choice House, we provide therapy and treatment to meet men’s needs. Our programs are also motivated by real-life scenarios that promote and develop problem-solving and memory skills. We also provide individual, group, and family therapy programs so that you never have to feel alone in your experiences. Our goal is to provide a safe, comfortable, and inspiring space for men to experience the power of healing. With 24/7 admissions, we are always here for you. To find out more, call Choice House today at (720) 577-4422.