Life After Addiction: Tips to Keep Your New Life Clean and Safe
Whether it involves ingesting a substance, engaging in a particular behavior, or both, addiction is major challenge for anyone to overcome. And getting sober is only half of it.
The second half? That consists of making a fresh start in a “normal” lifestyle after existing for months or even years inside the cave of addiction. For most people, this means two MAJOR steps:
- Stop using
- Create a lifestyle in which “not using” is fully possible
Does this mean you have to change everything?
For some of you, perhaps it does. But in a more general sense, a clean and safe life after addiction means being aware of and avoiding “high-risk” situations.
What is “high-risk” for you?
The answer to this question depends on your specific circumstances and what it is you’re recovering from. Evaluate your situation on a regular basis. Do this with the help of:
- Someone else who’s in recovery
- A sponsor
- Trusted friend or family member
- Your therapist
Make a detailed list of situations, locations, and individuals you must avoid. Carry this list with you at all times and review it often.
8 Ways to Keep Your New Life Clean and Safe
1. Meditation/Yoga/Relaxation Techniques
There’s a really, really good reason why meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques appear on so many lists: They work!
It’s a reasonable assumption that getting to the gym was not a top priority during your addiction phase. However, prioritizing exercise in your new life offers many benefits, e.g.
- Improved energy level
- Increased self-esteem
- Being in the company of health-minded individuals
- Increased energy
- Changes to your physical appearance
- Enhanced immune function
And don’t forget, drinking plenty of water is a major component of this step!
4. Normalize Sleep Patterns
Consider this suggestion to be the foundation for the above three tips. In the past, you may have slept all day, or barely at all. Those days are behind you. Transitioning to regular sleep patterns is a crucial step towards a clearer mind and a more positive perspective.
5. Create a New Social Circle
Your old friends—especially those with whom you shared your addictive behaviors—will likely tell you they support your sobriety. It’s best not to believe them. You were in their shoes; you know how it works. Hanging out with such people definitely qualifies as a “high-risk” situation.
6. Try New Activities/Find New Interests
This tip, of course, is very much intertwined with the whole “create a new social circle” concept. It’s daunting to reinvent yourself after so much of your life revolved around your addiction.
Well, we’ve already mentioned making new friends at the gym. Other ways to enrich your life and meet positive people might include volunteering, taking classes, finding new hobbies and seeking out activity related meet-ups, as well as looking for new employment opportunities.
7. Set New Goals
It’s crystal clear what your goals are while addicted. But what do you want to do now that you’re creating a new life? Where do you see yourself in a year, five years, or more? Your future remains unwritten and without the fog of addiction, it’s once again become unlimited.
8. Ask for Help
No one can rightfully expect you to navigate this new path flawlessly. For many people, it’s uncharted territory. This is where recovery groups and/or psychotherapy are indispensable. Work collectively to ensure success!
Rebecca Klasfeld is a licensed clinical social worker in Boca Raton, Florida. If you’re ready to take the next step in addressing your addiction or substance use problem, you are invited to call at 561-441-9933 or fill out the contact form and click send. Together, we can strategize a plan to reclaim your life and find health and balance.