It almost goes without saying that what you get out of rehab depends on what you put into it, and this holds true for maintaining your sobriety after treatment. In rehab, you confront a lot of negative and self-destructive thoughts and habits and learn how to make some big changes needed for good physical and mental health. It takes real commitment and effort to make those changes stick, and learning how to have the right mindset every day will help make that commitment to yourself easier to keep. Always remember that you are worth it.
There are some specific things that you can do every day to make sure that you have the right mindset to stay clean and sober for the long haul. These involve things that you do intentionally to maintain a positive attitude and sense of well being.
Some of these are:
Read something inspirational. Your recovery is happening every day, and reading something inspirational on a daily basis will help to keep you moving forward. It is not only a great way to start your day, but something you can do periodically throughout the day. There are a great many readily available sources of inspirational material, from simple collections of inspiring quotations to the bible. If you have access to the internet, most of these are accessible for free.
Write down at least five things for which you are grateful—ten is even better. When you were in treatment for your drug or alcohol addiction, you may have taken time to think about the things for which you are grateful—things that you may have taken for granted while you were deep in your addiction, or that simply never occurred to you. Practicing gratitude is an important habit to develop. It has proven to be a powerful positive influence on the way we think and feel about ourselves and the world around us. It has both physical and mental health benefits!
Write down at least five things that you want to happen today. These can be big or small, but as you start your day, take some time to think about what kinds of things you can do, accomplish, or experience today, some may be routine and some, perhaps, extraordinary. Make your bed (see below). Get some exercise (see below). Go to a meeting. Apply for a job. Meet someone new. Do some reading. Perform or receive an act of kindness. Volunteer in the local community. Talk with a friend. Make an amends. Write a letter. Try something new. Do some housework. Spend time in prayer or meditation. Eat healthy. Do something fun.
Make your bed. Believe it or not, this simple task will improve your life. It’s a good way to start every day, to give you a small sense of pride and accomplishment that will help set the tone for the rest of your day, subconsciously helping you to take on other tasks. And it will show you that you care about yourself and about having some order in your life.
Get some exercise. It will relieve stress, naturally elevate your mood and improve your outlook. Exercise has so many benefits for your physical and mental health that it is hard to figure out why a lot of us don’t do it more. Research shows that it can even help to reverse some of the damage done by substance abuse. So make the effort to get into the habit of regular exercise—you will soon be glad you did.
Continue to recognize your value as a person. This is challenging for many people in recovery, even after they have been through treatment, because addicts tend to have very low self-esteem. And low self-esteem is a major trigger for relapse, as you will be tempted to self-medicate to numb the pain that comes with thinking that you are a worthless failure and a loser. But a sense of self-worth will help you stay clean and sober for the long haul. You need to remember why you went to rehab, that your addiction does not define who you are or your worth as a person, and that the life you have in sobriety is worth the effort.
Think about who you can help in some way today. This can be something big or small, but there is someone that you can help in a real way today. While we need to focus on ourselves in addiction treatment in order to recognize and deal with the issues in our lives that relate to our addiction, a big part of success in life comes with learning to focus on others in a positive way, to be of service. Helping others has an impact on our community and contributes to our sense of worth, and it just makes us feel good.
Make contact with someone in your support system. You should be doing this on a regular basis, but make it a point to have a conversation with at least one person in your support system to help make sure you are staying on track. While accountability is important, it should be viewed in a positive way, as your supporters are there to help you in your recovery.
Think about your goals—imagine your future as you continue in recovery, and think about what you are working toward and your plans for reaching the goals that you have set for yourself.
Maintaining a positive mindset will make it easier to take on each day and make the changes you need in your life to avoid relapse. If you think you or someone you love may have relapsed, give us a call at Asana Recovery. We can help you sort out whether a return to treatment is necessary. Call us today at (949) 438-4504