Addiction is considered a chronic illness, which means there is always a potential for relapse. Complacency puts at risk everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve. To stay on the right track, you need to always put your sobriety first.
A Wellness-Focused Lifestyle
Making the decision to put your sobriety first doesn’t only mean abstaining from drugs or alcohol, however. At Waypoint Recovery Center’s South Carolina drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, we urge clients to take a holistic view of their recovery. With this approach, every decision you make helps support your desire to stay sober and lead a wellness-focused lifestyle.
Having a positive attitude in recovery isn’t always easy. Struggles with low self-esteem are common, especially among people who have co-occurring mental health conditions. However, positive affirmations can help remind you of your inherent self-worth. Some examples of affirmations you might find appropriate to your circumstances include:
- The past has no power over me.
- I am on the right path.
- Today is the first day of the rest of my life.
- I deserve to be happy and healthy.
- I am worthy of love and respect.
- I’m becoming a better version of myself each day.
You can repeat positive affirmations as part of your morning routine or use them to boost your mood when you feel yourself struggling. Posting positive affirmations in spots where you’re sure to see them throughout the day is another option to consider as well. If you’re feeling creative, you could even turn your favorite affirmations into one-of-a-kind wall art.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
Unfortunately, you will inevitably encounter people who try to demean and diminish your commitment to sobriety. They’ll tell you that you just need to loosen up or that one drink never hurt anyone. They’ll belittle everything you’ve already accomplished and leave you doubting yourself.
Remember, people who truly love and respect you will always have your best interests at heart. People who encourage you to revert back to unhealthy behavior patterns are projecting their own insecurities and doubts on to you. They may be unhappy with their own lives or privately struggling with a substance abuse problem of their own. In this case, the safest course of action is to either end the toxic relationship completely or minimize contact. No matter what mistakes you’ve made in the past, you deserve to be surrounded by people who will be supportive of your efforts to continually improve yourself.
Self-care is not selfish. It can seem hard to make time for exercise, proper nutrition, and nutrition, but you can’t be the best version of yourself if you’re not giving your body the care it needs. Practicing healthy lifestyle habits makes you a better worker, spouse, parent, or friend in addition to helping you manage cravings that could put you at unnecessary risk.
Note that self-care also includes making time for your mental well-being. This might mean taking time to reflect on your feelings in your journal, engage in your favorite stress-relieving hobbies, or attend regular sessions with a therapist who can help you work through mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health when it comes to promoting a lasting recovery.
Taking it One Day at a Time
It’s great to have long-term goals for yourself, but worrying about what will happen weeks, months, or years into the future can leave you feeling overwhelmed. In the earliest stages of recovery, putting sobriety first often means taking things one day at a time.
Mindfulness meditation is often used to promote this approach to recovery. Essentially, mindfulness means focusing on the present moment without worrying about the future or dwelling on past mistakes. See our post on Practicing Mindfulness in Recovery for details.
Expanding Your Sober Support Network
Since addiction isn’t caused by a lack of willpower, it’s a mistake to think you can simply wake up one day and decide to be sober. A lasting recovery requires evidence-based care, as well as a strong sober support network to provide the day-to-day help you need.
Participating in 12-Step groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous is a great way to build a network of people who understand what you’re going through and can help you with any challenges you are facing. Waypoint Recovery Center also offers a wide range of alumni services and an intensive outpatient program to help you transition back to independent living with confidence.
Turning to others for support can be difficult if you’re used to handling things on your own, but remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness. It takes courage to be open and honest about the challenges you’re facing. Give yourself permission to celebrate your newfound strength.