Addiction recovery is probably the most challenging thing anyone will endure. The process will test you more than anything you could imagine. Losing motivation is easy.
It’s not like a diet where it’s easy to stick with it in the beginning when you’re energized. It’s more like something that starts hard, and gets harder before it finally becomes a way of life.
In the early days of recovery, you’ll experience physical symptoms that will trick you into thinking substance abuse is a better option. After those subside, your body will fight to adjust to life without drugs or alcohol. In these moments, depression and anxiety are likely to take hold.
To stay motivated, you must remain strong. And that’s easier said than done.
But there are some tips to keep you on the right track through the good days and bad. Here are a few suggestions for staying motivated during your recovery process.
Stick with a routine
When I treated my addiction, I quickly learned the importance of routine. Counselors would stress the importance of routine, but I thought they were exaggerating. So, when I was finally out on my own, I took it upon myself to hit the snooze button a few more times. On these days, I skipped my morning workout, didn’t get a protein shake and barely had breakfast. To some people, these may seem like minor things, but to a recovering addict, they may be everything.
Without routine, you’ll end up with free time. And free time is a recovering addict’s worst nightmare. Free time leaves you time to get lost in your thoughts. It leaves you time to do whatever you feel like in that moment, which is a dangerous luxury for an addict. Get yourself on a good routine and stick with it at all costs.
Celebrate every victory
If you’ve ever been part of a group program, you know that celebrations are a big deal. Everyone cares when you reach important milestones. You feel like you have something to be proud of (and you do). Celebrations are a way to help overcome feelings of shame that are so often associated with addiction.
But you have more to celebrate than sobriety. Pay attention to all the victories in your life and celebrate them. Just be sure you’re celebrating without the use of drugs and alcohol.
Build a strong support system
No one gets through this life alone. We need people to turn to when things get rough, and we also need people to celebrate with us when we’re on top of the world.
When you first get out of rehab, this may feel like an uphill battle. All you have are broken relationships and friendships with other addicts, neither of which are helpful.
But you’ll soon see that broken relationships can sometimes be repaired, and it’s easier than you think to connect with other people in recovery. Join a local support group, and you’ll instantly connect with peers in your area. Not every introduction will lead to a friendship, but you’ll see that making new friends isn’t so scary. Everyone in recovery understands the importance of developing relationships, so you’re all in the same boat.
Care for your health
Part of your routine should include exercise and eating right. This type of self-care is essential for a few reasons. It’s generally good for your health and wellbeing, but it can also help support the recovery process.
After months or years of substance abuse, your body is likely in desperate need of nourishment. Many addicts are deficient in key vitamins and minerals, so eating well is more than just a good idea. It’s vital to your recovery.