Making meaningful lifestyle changes during addiction treatment and recovery brings together a new way of living that empowers your potential and guides your steps away from relapse. In the early phases of recovery, building a new life without substance use might seem difficult, but, by seeking help for your addiction, you have begun moving forward toward something truly satisfying.
What is a lifestyle change? By making a daily effort toward the goals you set for yourself, you deliberately change your outlook, interests, priorities, and behavior. Choosing to change your lifestyle in the interest of remaining sober is one of the most empowering life choices one can make.
Lifestyle Changes That Empower Sobriety
There is a reason that holistic sober living programs focus on not only achieving sobriety but also on rebuilding lives. Complete healing from addiction is a rebirth of the whole person. Let’s explore some effective changes you can make to help you stay sober and shape the lifestyle with which you will move forward.
Budget Your Time, Your Money, and Your Attention
Taking control of your schedule will allow you to achieve the other lifestyle goals to follow, so give time to creating a budget not just for your finances, but for your efforts and attention. Consider these overall goals:
- Scheduling your treatment and recovery commitments first
- Avoiding relapse and becoming self-sufficient
- Prioritizing keeping or finding a job or keeping service commitments
- Reducing expenses and making manageable payments on time
- Engaging with your recovery community and attending meetings or treatment appointments
- Spending time repairing existing relationships and/or creating new ones
- Pursuing new and healthy hobbies and activities as suggested below
- Being mindful of your other commitments that may cause unnecessary stress or pull you away from your chosen priorities
Find New Hobbies and Interests to Pursue
Chances are good if you are in treatment that your time and efforts in the recent past have been centered around substance use. That energy and attention needs a place to be satisfied, and hobbies, sports, exploring, and learning will help you build new connections between feeling well physically and these productive and relaxing actions.
Some of the options those in early recovery often find fulfilling and motivating include:
- Artistic and creative activities such as painting, collage, pottery, taxidermy, or writing
- Team building sports such as volleyball, basketball, softball, golf, or weight-lifting
- Visiting historic landmarks, museums, and local cultural events
- Reading, enjoying live music, or learning to play an instrument
- Volunteering at community-based organizations or participating in events scheduled at your sober living facility or treatment center
- Enjoying the outdoors with friends and family by planning hikes, picnics, fishing trips, or hunting excursions
- Socializing with friends in environments that are free of drugs and alcohol, such as spas, gyms, beauty salons, libraries, parks, and coffee shops
Eliminate Toxic Influences from Your Environment
Very often we mirror what is around us, and the people, influences, and physical objects we allow into our lives can impact our attitude, behavior, and way of perceiving the world. Protecting your physical and mental health by eliminating those things that are toxic to you is an essential part of lifestyle change.
Consider these elements to eliminate:
- Unhappy, substance-using people you have associated with in the past
- Abusive or co-dependent relationships
- Visible reminders of alcohol or drug use in your home
- Music, smells, or activities you associate with your addiction or which trigger cravings
- Jobs, activities, or social events that put you in contact with these toxic influences
Focus on Your Own Health and Wellness
During a battle with addiction, it is easy to lose track of basics like self-care, personal hygiene, wardrobe updates, and medical issues. Choosing to put effort and focus into feeling as well as possible will help you recover from the physical toll of substance use while experiencing fully the vitality and vigor that come with complete wellness.
- Visit with a doctor regularly to treat any co-occurring medical issues.
- Attend 12-step meetings, support groups, and mental health appointments on a regular basis.
- Seek treatment for problems like depression or chronic pain that often lead to self-medication with drugs or alcohol.
- Stay in a sober housing facility or community as long as necessary until you can find and maintain a safe and sober place to live.
Maintain a regular schedule of sleeping and waking to promote healthy sleep patterns.
Eat Well to Be Well
Worth mentioning separately is the need to restore your body following substance use and addiction treatment. Supplying a diet that contains a wide variety of highly nutritious foods is one of the best ways to return to vibrant health and experience how good your body can feel.
- Eating fruits may help balance glucose deficiency, which is associated with triggering cravings.
- Vegetables, leafy greens, and herbs restore basic nutrients, trace minerals, vitamins, and other naturally occurring cleansing substances.
- Eliminate processed, packaged, and other “junk” foods from your diet by choosing more fresh foods and cooking for yourself or your family.
- Drink plenty of water with a small amount of lemon or fruit juice to stay fully hydrated and help your body to detoxify.
- Plan ahead to have healthy ingredients ready, and then eat three meals each day, incorporating healthy snacks such as prepared fruits or vegetables.
Get Moving and Feel Fit Again
Exercise might not be the favorite topic in the list so far, but getting up and moving your body is essential to good health for everyone. Exercise also releases natural mood-boosting chemicals.
Your new exercise program should start at your current fitness level and gradually intensify over time. Be sure to check with your doctors before embarking on these popular exercise programs:
- Bicycling, sailing, paragliding, skiing
- Dancing, yoga, Tai Chi, martial arts
- Strength training, aerobics, weight-lifting
- Swimming, stretching, climbing, hiking
- Yardwork, gardening, walking
Explore a Spiritual Connection
Feeling a sense of purpose, guidance, support, and direction are just some of the benefits of exploring your spiritual side to broaden and deepen your lifestyle. These changes can be small or life-changing, but all start with an openness to what is greater than ourselves.
There are many paths to explore spirituality, some of which include:
- Meditation, yoga, or individual prayer
- Practicing mindfulness, gratitude, generosity
- Gathering with others in a house of worship or spiritual community
- Reading, studying, and discussing matters of faith or enlightenment with others
- Exploring new ways to achieve peace, tranquility, forgiveness, and acceptance
Create a Life of Integrity
The things we have done in the past do not need to define who we become in the future. Feeling guilt or remorse is often part of the process of achieving sobriety, but what you do with those realizations about past behaviors will define who you become as you work to change yourself.
Being honest with yourself and others is a goal that may take time to achieve. Old habits of hiding, lying, and manipulating need to be examined and deliberate changes made to become more transparent, open, and honest about your own emotions and how the actions of others affect you.
Forgiving yourself and recognizing where you can make more progress is essential to lifestyle change and complete healing from addiction. By achieving self-awareness and letting others see you as you truly are, you can obtain the help and support you need, while meeting the needs of those around you to engage with a real and complete person.
Reach Out for Guidance and Resources
Making a lifestyle change that centers on sobriety and self-discovery truly starts with making the decision to do so. The first step toward a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle may be seeking addiction treatment or helping a loved one to do so. Beginning that journey at RECO Institute in Delray Beach, FL will provide all of the tools you need to make a meaningful change in your lives.
All recover at their own pace and benefit from guidance and support in achieving their goals. With a comprehensive program, including intensive outpatient treatment and luxurious sober living facilities, we have all of the tools you need to build a new way of living that is free of drugs or alcohol.
By entering a sober community, you open the door to new relationships, self-awareness, and endless opportunities to experience a full and successful life with those you care about. Contact us now to make a lifestyle change for the better.