Starting a New Chapter: Loving Life after Addiction
Battling addiction is never easy. It can take all your physical and mental strength, as well as any help you can get from people around you to pull yourself out of the deep hole you fell into. However, even when you manage to recover, the struggle is far from over. Finding joy and getting your life back on track after addiction can be just as difficult as getting through rehab. So, here are some ways for you to start loving and appreciating your life again and avoiding a relapse after winning the war against addiction.
Building a new life after addiction will require bravery and patience, but this doesn’t mean that you have to start being happy the moment you realize you’re sober. It will take some time for you to find peace and to fully enjoy your life. In order to get to that point, you may need to spend some time grieving your past addiction. It was a huge part of your life and every other aspect of your life probably revolved around it, so it’s only natural that you want some closure. The grieving process may not only include saying farewell to your addiction, but also to certain people, places and habits that pushed you towards the addiction, or that were bound to it in one way or another. By accepting that what you did was self-destructive and consciously leaving it behind you for good, you’re setting yourself on a path of long-term recovery.
Find a support system
John Donne said that no man’s an island, and this is something you should bear in mind after addiction. You will need to be surrounded by people who support and understand you and who have your best interest at heart. It’s also crucial that you feel comfortable and appreciated around those people, and that you have a sense of belonging. Not only will being among people who make you feel lonely and estranged not be helpful, but it can actually make things worse. Your goal should be not to fall into relapse. Those around you should be aware of that goal and help you reach it. Your family and close friends are the logical first choice, but perhaps you should also consider various support groups. Americans have many mutual support and self-help groups available, and if you decided on a Florida drug rehab facility, you’ll be offered aftercare in form of continued therapy and support groups. These types of groups can prevent you from feeling lonely or bored, filling your spare time with things which are unlikely to trigger a relapse.
Try new hobbies
Beating addiction will leave your life with a huge gap to fill. All those hours you spent using drugs or drinking now have to be used for something more constructive. It’s important that you find a way to fill that time with activities you find calming, pleasant and enjoyable, so that you actually look forward to them. For instance, this might be a great time to learn how to play the guitar or the piano. You could take up a cooking class, enroll in a photography workshop or try gardening. Perhaps you can start a blog, write stories or even your own book. You might even want to try yoga and especially mindfulness meditation, since it allows you to observe and accept your own thoughts, feelings and sensations. That way you can regain some self-control, lessen your cravings and make it easier on yourself not to relapse, which is what your aim should be.
Invest time in your wellbeing
Substance abuse is generally very harmful to both your body and mind. While using drugs or alcohol extensively, most people subject their body to malnutrition, dehydration and they can even develop gastrointestinal problems, leading to common nausea and vomiting during withdrawal. This is why during the post-addiction period you should do your best to eat regularly and have only healthy meals. The best thing you can do is take time every day to prepare your own nutritious meals from scratch. Not only will this help you make the best of your free time, but it can also allow you to cook and eat mindfully, which can leave you serene as well as healthier. Once you reach an adequate nutritional intake, you should also start exercising frequently. This is a healthy way to deal with the aftermath of your addiction, so look for a workout group near you, or go swimming, cycling or hiking in order to stay physically active. Perhaps start with moderate exercises, not to put too much strain on your body, and then move on from there to anything your body feels comfortable with.
Taking control over your thoughts, emotions and life may seem next to impossible at first, but you should look inside yourself for the strength to do it, as well as around yourself for support from your loved ones and the people who went through the same thing as you. And, above all, it’s important that you know and believe that, despite your past mistakes, you can still have a meaningful and good life.