The first thing I learned in recovery is that addiction is a chronic, incurable disease, much like diabetes. I always thought it was the sole result of my indulgence. While my choices did play a part, there are other things involved. That’s why some people can drink and party the same way I used to, but never become an addict.
So I came to understand that, like a diabetic, as long as I continue my therapeutic treatment program, I can go on to live a relatively normal, healthy life.
CHANGING YOUR MIND
It all starts with understanding your disease process and adapting your mind and your behavior so that you can stop the disease from going any further. By changing your mind to accept and apply new information, such as starting a drug and alcohol treatment program, you’re one page ahead of the guy sitting across from you on the bus glaring at you for eating a Mars bar.
When I look at it that way, I actually realize that I have it better than he does. Hardly anyone drinks or gets high on public transit.
CHANGING YOUR BEHAVIOR
So while diabetics have to make changes to their diet and exercise routine, I had to make changes to people, places, things, and thoughts. I don’t hang out with my old drinking buddies or ride past the pool hall on my way from work anymore. Instead, I take the number 23 bus, walk through the park, and feed the ducks.
Changing my thoughts took a little longer, but by giving myself the time I needed to make it happen, I was able to do it.
HOW I STAY POSITIVE
- Pray or Meditate – It’s the first thing I do in the morning. It keeps me calm and centered throughout the day. I use that time to unburden myself of any negative thoughts and to draw peace, strength, and inspiration.
- Listen or Read about Recovery – I find that I have the greatest clarity after prayer, so that is when I take in new knowledge. Since I have a nursing background, I prefer medical articles, but any literature related to your recovery is good, such as the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, recovery podcasts, or self-help articles.
- Do I Need a Meeting Today? – After I did my 90 days inpatient, I did 90 days of meetings, then gradually cut it back after that. I usually go to a 12-Step meeting three times a week now, but I still ask myself every day if I need to go, whether it’s my regular day or not. There are also Non-12-Step recovery meetings available as well.
- No more Cupcakes for Breakfast – Or Irish coffee to wash it down. I learned how to eat three healthy meals a day and drink more water.
- Reach Out to Someone – I call my sponsor every day. You can also text or have lunch with a friend in recovery.
- Have Fun! – I had no idea how many fun things there are to do when you’re sober. Go online or check your local paper to find out what’s going on in your area.
- Exercise – I know what you’re thinking. I didn’t want to do this one either until I found a way to make it fun. I go roller skating three times a week now. I have a blast, and I lost 20 pounds. Exercise in addiction recovery also helps you feel better psychologically.
- Give Back – Some people become sponsors or answer hotline phones. I chose to volunteer at a soup kitchen once a month.
Everyone’s path to sobriety is different. Once you get there, however, try climbing these eight steps for having fun, make them your own, and reclaim your power.
If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse please contact Beginnings Treatment Centers today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors. We can answer any questions you may have.