Spring is a time for new beginnings. We hope this Spring is filled with a sense of possibility and that you find yourself blossoming in your early recovery. Recovery is a process that requires continuous change. Our brains undergo changes as we learn to live without the addictive substances, and our behaviors must change if we want to have a healthier lifestyle. Although change can be difficult, staying on course in early recovery can be deeply satisfying. We want to be there to support you when it’s difficult just as much as we want to be there with you to celebrate your success. The following suggestions may help you stay focused in early recovery.
Keep a structured schedule
The more you commit yourself to a healthy, daily routine the less likely you are to fall back into old routines and habitual thinking patterns that don’t support recovery. Take responsibility for creating your schedule. Keep it simple. Structure doesn’t necessarily mean staying busy, but it does mean having a plan. Early recovery is a time to practice new recovery skills and a daily routine helps you stay focused. Even a change as small as planning your meals or taking a bath before bedtime can helpful.
Make time for self-care
Early recovery is a time to make your self-care a top priority. A good place to start is having healthy habits. When we are hungry, angry, lonely or tired (H.A.L.T.) we are more vulnerable to the conditions that lead to relapse. Good nutrition, regular sleep, exercise and relaxation are part of health self-care. Meal planning makes it easier to choose wisely when you are hungry. Practice a form of relaxation. Keep a journal to help rid your mind of racing thoughts. Create a good sleeping environment and try to keep a consistent bedtime routine.
Recognize what needs changing
It’s difficult to change unhealthy habits on your own. Make contact with other people in early recovery. Planning ahead and avoiding situations that put you at risk is now a priority. Each person is different and what works for one person may not always work for another. Practicing self-reflection and self-honesty will help you identify what is most important for you right now. Go to 12-step meeting or other appropriate support groups where you can talk with others who are facing similar challenges. It’s helpful to witness what is working for others.
Isolation can be dangerous
Spend time with family and friends who will support your recovery. Focus on gratitude for the people who support you. Practice letting go of resentments and unrealistic expectations. Reconnect with family and friends when you have the opportunity. Tap into your creative side – we all have a creative side so let yourself discover what gets you excited. Get up and get outside every day – we need the fresh air. Promise yourself you will look for ways to connect with others. Sometimes just listening to another person and acknowledging them is a great beginning.
Keep your eye on balance
It’s not uncommon for people in early recovery to overdo it – in fact it’s possible to replace one set of unhealthy behaviors with another set of compulsive behaviors. Small, steady changes work best for most people. A strong foundation for early recovery includes healthy habits. You may need to work on making these changes in small stages. Commit to changing one thing – maybe it’s eating breakfast or going to bed earlier – then follow through with that one step for seven (7) days. It’s easier to commit to small steps and then re-assess the following week what is working. Don’t give up. The key to balance is to keep practicing!
Remember we are here to support you in any way we can. Please let us know how we can help.
Your Team at Behavioral Health Hawaii