When you have a chronic disease, it changes your life. Treatment may relieve the immediate symptoms, but whether you suffer from diabetes, hypertension, allergies or chemical dependency, the trick to living well is changing your lifestyle. At Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers, we’ve successfully treated the chronic, progressive disease of addiction for decades. Detox, disease education and group therapy help you address symptoms and give you a headstart on recovery, but you must make the necessary lifestyle changes to maintain health and sobriety.
Four Tips for Staying Focused in Early Recovery
Because addictive substances make changes to your brain, the first step in recovery is cleansing drugs or alcohol from your body. The next step is learning to manage your disease. Some choices will nourish your body and enrich your life, while others may keep your health off-balance or lead you to relapse. Follow tips like these to keep yourself and your recovery on track:
- Commit to abstinence. A return to substance use reactivates the addiction response in your brain and quickly returns you to the ravages of the disease. Achieving long-term recovery requires a commitment to 100% substance-free living. Abstinence is your friend. Embrace it!
- Enlist knowledgeable support. No matter how committed you are, you will face daily temptation. In early recovery, you are still unskilled at avoiding risky situations and overcoming the urge to use again. Turn to the knowledge and reassurance of your counselors, 12-Step peers and sober companions. The support of others in recovery can bolster your confidence and point you to new, effective strategies for staying sober.
- Try for balance. It is not unusual for someone in early recovery to become compulsive or overzealous about a new interest or activity. The brain’s addictive dopamine response is sensitive and can be stimulated when you exercise, shop, eat or fall in love. Your life will be more satisfying if you learn to balance work, hobbies, chores, pleasures, exercise and rest. Set new romantic relationships aside for the moment, as well, so you can give total focus to self-care and sobriety.
- Offer yourself grace. Living within the boundaries dictated by a chronic disease isn’t easy. From time to time, everyone gets apathetic, breaks routine or indulges. In early recovery, when your skills are still unproven, relapse is not uncommon. If you stumble, you don’t have to start from scratch. Forgive yourself, learn from the experience and continue your journey. The key to long-term recovery is returning to sobriety, even when you sometimes take an unintended detour.
Recovery Strategies to Keep in Your Toolbox
In early recovery, you may feel unsure in situations that could cause a relapse, so it’s important to have a toolbox of strategies to draw upon. These strategies help you minimize uncertainty, anticipate relapse risks and develop scenarios to handle them. Follow these suggestions to reinforce the recovery and life skills you learn in rehab:
- Feeling good physically will help you stay sober. Set a regular routine for meals and sleeping. Eat a varied diet with whole grains, fresh vegetables, fruits and protein. Participate in sports or exercise daily.
- An active social life can combat isolation and help you form meaningful relationships. Attend regular support meetings and seek out sober friends who share your interests.
- Prepare for bumps in the road, and have a plan. Invite a sober friend to accompany you to family or business gatherings. Take non-alcoholic beverages with you when alcohol is being served. Practice responses to difficult questions that are likely to make you tense or angry.
- Take time to relax. Mindfulness training, meditation, volunteer activities and practicing gratefulness will help calm you and provide needed perspective.
- Keep a recovery journal. Record your successes and failures. Review these and construct better ways to handle future situations. Trust that you will gradually gain confidence and recovery wisdom.
Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers Bring Healing to Families
When addiction is treated as a disease and freed from common societal stigmas of guilt and shame, healing can begin. Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers treat addiction with a multidisciplinary approach that heals the body, mind and spirit. Each patient at LMRC receives an individualized treatment plan that focuses on improving physical health and changing destructive patterns of thinking. Our addiction specialists also teach you to understand your disease: the physical changes that occur in your brain, the way the disease distorts emotions, the cravings and triggers that signal a relapse, and the power of the 12 Steps to support you on your recovery journey.
With more than three decades of treatment success and locations across western Washington, LMRC helps adults of all ages recover from addiction to alcohol, opiates, marijuana and other drugs that destroy lives and families. Offering residential treatment and outpatient programs along with disease education, intervention and sober support services, we are your partner in healing. Take a new approach to your addiction: one without recriminations and guilt. Call LMRC toll-free at 800.231.4303 or contact us online to verify insurance or request admission.