By Steps to Recovery on November 14, 2012

Rehab is only the beginning of recovery. Recovery is a lifelong process. That may seem scary and overwhelming to think about, but if you stick to these 3 easy to remember guidelines, success will be yours!

Take Care of Yourself First

The most important thing you can do for yourself is self care. Taking care of yourself entails many different things. It is important to get enough sleep each night, that you eat nutritious meals and maintain a well balanced diet, and make sure to do plenty of movement. Exercise is important! If you are on prescription medication for any reason, try to take it on a schedule, as it’s important that you take the medication as prescribed. Make sure to take enough time for yourself to just relax or meditate everyday to help keep your stress levels under control. Be aware of the amount of responsibility you are taking on and don’t overcommit yourself. And of course, make time to do your spiritual practice regularly. Experts say it’s wise to never get to the point where you are too hungry, tired, angry, or lonely. These are the times when relapse is most likely. So self care is the number one thing you can do to be successful in your early recovery, aside from avoiding drugs or alcohol, of course!

No Major Life Changes

It is very important to avoid making any major changes in your life in the first year of recovery at least. Even the first 2 years. Major life events such as marriage, divorce, having a baby, buying or selling a house, and switching jobs, among others, are incredibly stressful. Maybe you feel like you can handle the stress that surrounds making such important decisions, but you’d be surprised at how triggering these things can be and how much pressure comes with them. All the doubt, and self-recrimination, guilt and second-guessing that normally happen are magnified intensely when you’re in early recovery. In times of high stress, people in early recovery often make the absolute worst choice and their sobriety suffers as a consequence. Stability in your life for the first year of recovery is of the utmost importance. So, unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid any major life changes.

Build a Support Network of Likeminded People

Whether you go to 12 Step meetings or other groups, classes or gatherings, find people who you can relate to and count on for understanding and support. Everyone needs friends, people to share experiences with and talk to who don’t judge you and always respect you as a human being. It can be your family or friends who don’t use and are supportive of your journey, or other people you have met in recovery. Make sure to open yourself up to the possibility of meeting new people, making friends, and allowing yourself the opportunity to learn to build healthy, supportive relationships. Have fun! Just because you’re in early recovery doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy life. Learning how to live a happy and fulfilling sober life is much easier when you can relax with friends and have a good time. You can and should be happy in recovery. Supportive friends can be just the thing to make your recovery less stressful, and the hard times easier to get through. 

These are just 3 things in a whole list of options to help make early Recovery less daunting. But if you remember these 3 very important things through the hard times and stick with them, success will be yours!