Keeping Your Head Up In Recovery
There’s no way around it: substance abuse is a terrible thing. Addiction sneaks into people’s lives and steals all they hold dear. Relationships are destroyed, careers are lost, and homes are trashed. Still, once someone makes the decision to start on the road the recovery, it’s important to keep a positive outlook despite all the damage that has been done. Here are a few tips on how to keep your head up when you feel like everything around you is falling down.
Eat, Sleep and Exercise
This tip is first on the list, because it’s so simple but so powerful. If you are eating badly and not getting enough sleep or physical exercise, you will feel worse, you will have less motivation (and more depression), and you will have much less of a chance of reaching your goals. To maximize your potential, you must eat in a healthy manner, get plenty of sleep so you feel well-rested, and develop a steady exercise routine so your body begins to get back in shape. When you feel better, you’ll have a better outlook and better behavior.
An Attitude of Gratitude
Attitude is a powerful tool that we often forget we have. You can’t always control the circumstances around you, but you can control how you respond to them. Staying positive in the midst of recovery will help you avoid relapse, allow you to find your happiness in places other than the substances you abused, and make it easier for others to help you. You can start on your road to positivity by making a list of things you’re grateful for. Focusing on gratitude for even simple things will get your mind in the right place and help you realize how many of your needs are actually met even when life is hard. As long as you’re breathing, you can show gratitude.
Dealing with Guilt and Shame
Guilt and shame are some of the hardest feelings you will have to face during recovery. Guilt and shame arise from your failure to live up to your values and moral standards. They will often become more pronounced as you move through recovery and clarity returns, helping you realize the reality of the mistakes you have made and the damage you have caused. You will have to face these feelings head on. Talk about them, confess them and seek forgiveness, both from yourself and those you have hurt.
As Swift River explains, “Getting to the root of your addiction will be a confusing and emotional experience, but understanding your substance abuse completely is an important step in conquering it. Additionally, marriage and/or family counseling can help facilitate healthy conversations with your loved ones and pave the way for stronger relationships.” Rebuilding these relationships is key to your positive attitude, and once you have begun this productive course of action, your guilt and shame will begin to fade as well.
Another way to stay positive is to get the focus off yourself by giving back to those in need in your community. Volunteering will help you connect with others, give you increased self-confidence and self-worth, and connect you with a bigger purpose. Whether you serve meals at a homeless shelter, help build a Habitat for Humanity house, or volunteer at an animal shelter, giving your time and attention to other causes is a noble endeavor with positive benefits. It will also help others begin to learn to trust you again.
Attitude can play a larger role than we know in substance abuse recovery. Staying positive by following the advice above is a great first step to full recovery from the effects of addiction. Stay grateful, keep your mind off your own circumstances, and focus on larger purposes than your own, and you’ll be well on your way.
Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created PublicHealthAlert.info to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.
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