Big life transitions can be unsettling — job layoffs, loss of a loved one, divorce — and taking steps to overcome a drug and alcohol addiction is no different or less challenging. And while it’s good to acknowledge that there will always be some circumstances that are beyond your control, there are steps you can take to make the transition to sobriety a little easier.
Skip the guilt and own your future
Yes, we all make mistakes, but feeling bad or guilty about your shortcomings isn’t productive after you’ve apologized and attempted to move on. Instead, direct your thoughts to a more positive and productive angle. Take pride in the fact that you have decided to get sober and are willing to alter your routines to make a better life for yourself.
Find what brings you joy
Drugs and alcohol have an insidious way of monopolizing your time and social life, so it’s no surprise that you’ll need to find a new, healthier way to occupy your discretionary time once you’ve started your path to sobriety. If you used to really enjoy hiking, for example, you might try to ease back into some comfortable walks in the woods and build up to more strenuous activities. That said, you don’t necessarily have to revisit previous hobbies, which brings us to another valuable idea…
Break out of your comfort zone
You’ve already committed to this concept by deciding to reclaim your days and nights with sobriety. Why not push a little further? Novelty stimulates your brain, and this is the perfect opportunity to try something you’ve maybe considered in the past but for whatever reason didn’t move forward with. Take a painting class, join a book club, sign up for some home improvement demonstrations, or volunteer with your nearest animal shelter — anything to get you out of the house and mix up the daily routine a little bit. Remember, isolation can be a trigger that leads to relapse, so surround yourself with people and activities that get your neurons firing again.
Reach out to family and friends
If you’ve been caught in the grips of substance abuse for a while, you may have distanced yourself from friends and loved ones. If you haven’t already, now might be the right time to apologize and reach out to those who are willing to support you on your recovery journey. Understand that some may be too hurt to want to reconnect, and if that’s the case, give them their space and try not to focus on the negativity.
Establish an attitude of gratitude
Happy people are not necessarily those who have the easiest lives, but they do share one big thing in common. They’re grateful for the blessings they do have, and recent research has even shown us that gratitude can positively alter your brain chemistry. Big audacious goals aren’t a must; something as simple as spending a little time each day jotting down what you’re grateful for in a journal can make an impact.
Ready to break the cycle of addiction and rediscover your best self, but not sure where to start? Reach out to the addiction recovery specialists at the Choice House treatment program in Boulder, Colorado. Contact a Choice House staff member or explore our programs today.