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8 Healthy Habits That Help Recovering Addicts
Starting on the road back to health after addiction isn’t easy. I’ve found that one of the biggest problems with overcoming addiction is boredom. While the day’s activities invariably used to center around figuring out how to get the next score and then shooting up, now, there is a whole bunch of time unaccounted for every day. If it’s not filled up with something, the addict’s thoughts are going to go straight back to the old routine, and that’s dangerous. What works best is to fill the day with new habits and routines that won’t leave idle time. The key is to make sure that these are healthy and positive activities that help stimulate the body and the mind. Here are eight possibilities that I’ve seen work firsthand:
- Yoga This is one of my personal favorites and something I practice every day. Yoga gives a center to my life by helping me connect with every part of my body while at the same time focusing my mind. It also provides a way to strengthen core muscles and start to get back into good physical shape. Yoga can be a great way to start the day out, getting yourself in the right mindset to have a positive day.
- Jogging If you haven’t been physically active in a while, which is common of most addicts, starting out slowly with a jogging regimen is a good way to get back into the flow of exercising. Jogging for an hour can help you stimulate the dopamine centers of the brain and make your body feel good – something that will be extremely helpful in fighting off post-addiction cravings.
- Exercise at the Gym Joining a gym is another way to add routine to your day. Not only will a gym give you a destination for part of the day, but it will come with a support staff. If you can get a personal trainer, even better. The combination of physical exercise and social interaction will give you a reason to stay on the path of sobriety.
- Gardening Although it isn’t my cup of tea, gardening is one of those activities that some recovering addicts swear by. There is something about tending to and growing plants that instills a sense of accomplishment. Not only that, but a vegetable garden can provide a tasty alternative to bland foods that are available at the supermarket.
- Cooking Learning to cook can be a lifelong endeavor. The endless combinations of spices and foods that are available can make every day a new culinary experience. Adding this skill and experimenting with new foods can add in that sense of adventure that might currently be lacking in your post-addiction life. Joining a neighborhood cooking club or taking a class or two will also help you make some new social connections.
- Home Improvement Are you handy? If so, set up a schedule to fix up the house. These projects can fill in the empty spaces where you might otherwise be stuck in front of the television. They’ll help you gain a sense of pride about your place and yourself. If you rent, build some moveable projects. Making a new ottoman or end table can help you add your own sense of style to your home.
- Join a Club Perhaps the hardest part of staying sober is finding a new social group. Hanging around your old addict friends isn’t an option. Joining a local club, charity, or nonprofit group might be just what you need. Find a cause that you believe in and volunteer your services. Having a common goal will get you in the door and act as a jumping-off point to find a new set of friends who won’t tempt you to go back to your old lifestyle.
- Keep a Journal Journaling is a great way to get all of your feelings out on paper. Remember, no one needs to read what you wrote – in fact, you can crumple it up and throw it away if you want. But if you get in the routine of writing in your journal every day, you’ll find that you hold on to less of your emotional baggage. The best advice I can give you is to try to get into one or more of these habits (the more the better). The less idle time you have in your life, the less tempted you will be to fill the void with your old addiction. And, as always, keep moving and keep positive! You’re worth the effort!