The process of recovering from alcohol dependence can be challenging as “substance use disorders are increasingly viewed as chronic conditions, and addiction treatment services are beginning to adopt models that were developed to address other chronic conditions” (The Case for Considering Quality of Life in Addiction Research and Clinical Practice, Laudet, 2011.) The transitional process requires several changes, steps, and resolution processes that must be closely followed for success.
Rebuilding a healthy life after battling addiction might seem difficult but it can be done with sheer resolve and by following the necessary steps. Living a healthy life will benefit you in a lot of different ways during the recovery journey. For example, dealing with addiction-induced mental health issues, insomnia, and health issues. One thing to always remember is that nothing is unattainable if you’re determined enough!
Before we go on to how you should do it, let’s take a look at why is it important to live a healthy life after overcoming addiction:
Benefits Of Living a Healthy Life After Substance Abuse
1. Stress Reduction
Stress can be a major problem both during and after recovery. It is one of the biggest triggers of addiction. When you exercise and follow a healthy diet, you can reduce stress without the use of drugs.
2. Better Sleep
Recovering addicts often complain about having sleep problems. But a healthy lifestyle and proper exercise can help with improving sleep
3. Improved Mood
Having mood swings and a high temper is common in addicts, both before and during the recovery process. Living a healthy life is improve your mood and helps you live a stress-free life.
4. Increased Energy
Drug addiction can affect the physical health of a person very badly. When you exercise and eat healthily and don’t waste your time on drugs, it increases the overall energy of the body. This will make you feel stronger both mentally and physically.
5. Stronger Immune System
Drug addiction affects the immune system of the body and makes it weak. People who go through substance abuse problems are more likely to catch diseases than those who don’t. Focusing on nutrition and exercise can help improve the immune system and live a better life.
6. Improved Organ Health
Drug abuse affects the brain and other major organs of the body very badly. It can make it difficult to think straight and cause other health issues. Living a healthy life helps improve organ health and get the body back on track.
Now that we have observed why is it important to live a healthy life both during and after substance abuse treatment. Let’s take a look at how you can do so.
How To Rebuild a Healthy Life After Drug Abuse
Rebuilding your life after dealing with substance abuse is a task that requires determination. There are many triggers found in everyday life that might lead a person back to substance abuse. But in order to rebuild your life and relationships, it is important to find healthy ways around such triggers. Want to have decided that you want to get control back of your life, here is how you can do so:
1. Forgive Yourself First
If you have experienced severe addiction, you faced some of the worst and most complex diseases in the world. Forgiving yourself can give you everything you need to move forward. Do not blame yourself or feel ashamed of how you experienced something that happened. To forgive yourself is not the same as forgetting your mistakes. Rather it’s a choice to acknowledge that they are here and to move forward. It’s sometimes difficult. But in order to fully regain control of your life, it is important that you let go of your past and focus on living an addiction-free life ahead.
2. Find New Hobbies
Once you’re out of substance abuse treatment, you might feel unproductive and lazy. But it’s time to fill your life with productive, uplifting, and enjoyable activities. Try volunteering, continuing education, or pursuing other rewarding hobbies for a new life that is good for you. Your past substance abuse may have led you to forget about the things you once loved to do. It could be anything from singing, painting, going on adventures, cooking, etc. For example, drumming has been used to complement addiction therapy when other counseling methods have failed. Find joy in those things again and live to steer yourself away from your withdrawal symptoms, triggers, and substance addiction. Spending time doing productive and sober activities will help you give a fresh start to yourself.
3. Set Realistic Goals
The most critical step to follow after addiction treatment with Lantana is to identify your life goals and set about following them. These goals should be realistic and attainable. The positives can now be set with the right conditions. These goals can be anything from continuing your education to rebuilding relationships with family members and friends. Your family members and friends can be a huge support during your addiction recovery. Setting goals and working towards them with be great for your mental health and help you in the recovery process.
4. Follow Healthy Nutrition
An addict’s first priority is not eating healthily. This can cause serious damage to your body. Your body’s health largely depends on what you eat and it may have started to display signs of ill health due to repeated neglect. It is essential that you reduce fats, eliminate unhealthy eating habits and eat the freshest fruit of all. A significant change in health won’t be realized overnight, but with time tastes change and food cravings become more intense. Then you may see significant changes in your body image, health energy level, and appearance. This will also boost your self-confidence! Your focus should be on improving your overall health and living sober!
5. Start Exercising
Substance addiction leaves the body and mind weak and exhausted. It can cause damage to the brain and other major organs of the body. Exercise can make a huge difference in improving your energy levels. You can take your life up to one notch by taking up a walk to the gym – swimming or exercising. You can also join a sports club or go hiking regularly. Working with recovery coaches after addiction treatment is also a great way to get your addiction-affected body back in shape. Think of it as if you’ve been given a new life and a blank slate. This is your chance to make the right choices moving forward and take care of your body.
6. Get Plenty Of Rest
Drugs and substance use can affect the sleep cycle. Sleep patterns are the simple models of what can be classed as the rest schedule. Once you start to follow a healthy sleep pattern and get plenty of rest, you’ll notice that it can do wonders for your overall health and mood. It will lead to improved mood, an energy boost, more mental alertness, health, and more. When you’re fresh and well-rested, you’ll be able to enjoy life more. This is the time to start living life to the fullest!
7. Find Sober Friends
Having friends who drink alcohol or use drugs can cause you to relapse. Try to find sober friends who understand what you have been through, and help you start rebuilding your new life. If you go out with your friends, ask them to not drink around you or just avoid going to places where you may get access to drugs and alcohol. The right friends will support you and help you stay sober.
8. Remove Toxic People From Your Life
There might be people in your life who encourages substance use and get you addicted. The first thing you should do during early recovery with us is to cut such people out of your life. These people could be guilt trippers, or jealous people and might try to control your life again. Moreover, they could be enablers, and try to get you back on your substance use disorder to try and make yourself feel better. There is no point in keeping relationships that perpetuate your addiction. Cutting such people out of your life will reduce your chances of relapse as well.
9. Find An Alcohol Free Workplace
A lot of workplaces nowadays support an alcohol-free lifestyle. Working in an environment that triggers your addiction and encourages drugs or alcohol could have serious effects on your life. In order to firmly stay on the path of sobriety, make sure you find a working environment that does not alcohol or drug use.
10. Join Addiction Support Groups
When you’re trying to rebuild a healthy life, you need all the support you can get. Learning from people who have been through the same struggles as you, and sharing your experience with others will bring a positive impact on your life. You might be struggling to open up to your friends or family about how you feel. Joining support groups is a great way of sharing your feelings with others and finding advice. You can use these support groups to find strength and inspiration. Find your role models in people who once shared your struggles but overcame them with sheer resolve.
11. Stay Inspired
Besides support groups or help from the professionals at Lantana, you can find inspiration in reading about listening to others that have battled addiction. There are many books and podcasts available where people share their journey with drugs and inspire those who are struggling since we can say that people have an intrinsic motivation that can lead them to make positive life changes.
Let’s move on to some other questions that might be on your mind.
How do I find a job after recovery?
Americans with Disabilities Act is a law that discourages employers from declining to hire people when they’re dealing with or recovering from a substance addiction disorder. Employers are not permitted to question job seekers who abused substances. The employer cannot change a contract at any one time in the event that the blood testing results are positive. You also have the right to take a medical leave for substance-abuse treatment if you need it under the Family Medical Leave Act but you have to have worked for an employer for at least 12 months. As part of your job, your employer will have to offer you reasonable accommodation and support while you’re recovering.
Career Counseling For Recovering Addicts
A career is a form of identity and the field of work which a person performs will say a great deal about that person. Career counselors work with clients to narrow down what kind of job they want. Jobs with a lot of exposure to alcohol and stress, notably in the service industry, are unlikely to meet the criteria. Certain jobs can legally disqualify employees who have a background in an abuse scandal or felony convictions and this need also to be factored into job searches. Career advisors’ help is invaluable because they can advise someone throughout most tougher aspects of a job search journey.
Discussing Past Drug Use
Many sober individuals can find it difficult to explain to someone about their previous drug abuse experience. The best strategy is being honest when asked and confirming that the recovery is complete. As long as the prospective employer does not introduce new policies targeting you for your past drug use, you will have done everything in your power to start your post-addiction life on the right foot. Your job counselor will assist you in this effort but the definitive decision on what to share and not to disclose is ethically and legally yours. Clarifying your plans before you start work will put you in charge – not only in interviews but in your personal life after addiction as well.
What is the best living environment?
If you’re recovering, it could help if you moved into a sober living environment. Researchers showed that people living in sober houses over a long period of time (between 15-17 months) see a considerable improvement in their lifestyle. Some studies show the more time you spend in a sober house, the more it is less likely you’ll relapse. After knowing what worked for others you can apply it to your own life. Although life through addiction can be scary, living in a sober environment will encourage you to do better and live better.
It can be tough going through rehab and adjusting yourself to a new sober life. Try to reconnect with your friends and family and find activities that will help you be productive. Be patient with yourself, your family, and your friends as well. They went through your addictive phase as much as you did. It is important to focus on building a new and healthy lifestyle in order to stay from people and triggers that might lead you back toward addiction. This journey might not be easy, but patience will be your most important asset throughout this journey.
Don’t let minor setbacks discourage you, and take it one step at a time. Rebuilding your life after addiction recovery is not a race that you need to win. Make sure to take life one step at a time, and go at your own pace. Don’t be afraid to ask and seek support from Lantana when you start to feel like you might be spiraling back into addiction. Consider your life after addiction treatment a blank slate, and use it well!