How to Be Successful in Recovery

September is National Recovery Month, initiated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. According to SAMHSA, “ Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health and substance use disorders, celebrates people in recovery, lauds the contributions of treatment and service providers, and promotes the message that recovery in all its forms is possible. Recovery Month spreads the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, that prevention works, treatment is effective and people can and do recover”.

Re-entering back into mainstream society after spending weeks or months in a recovery program, you will most often be faced with unexpected challenges and incredible surprises. Upon entering your recovery program you may have had to quit your full-time job, leave school, move far away or walk away from many broken relationships and transitioning back into your old routine may mean gaining some of these things back but only if they help serve your sobriety and happiness on your journey. Maintaining sobriety and a healthy life outside of treatment is difficult because you may be surrounded by peer pressure, triggers, and negative influences that were not present during treatment and you may have many new hurdles to tackle such as rebuilding broken relationships, regaining trust or learning how to re-enter into financial freedom. To keep growing in your recovery and to succeed in the real world, the following are important:

Get into community

Entering into a community means getting involved in a group where you feel safe and where you can meet new people, learn different things and allow others to hold you accountable. A community can mean so many things such as joining a church or bible study, signing up for a sports team, joining an outdoors club, or getting involved in a local support group, a 12-step program or even a book club. Feeling safe, and learning to rely on others can help give you a sense of appreciation and happiness.

Practice self-care

Taking care of your mind and body is essential to being successful in recovery and living a happy and fulfilling life. It is important to maintain a healthy diet full of nutritious food, engage in healthy physical activity on a regular basis, obtain a good night’s sleep and mediate on a regular basis. Physical activity has been proven to not only have benefits on your body but it has also been shown to relieve stress and help improve sleep and cognition. Taking time to yourself to meditate and reflect can help you maintain your sobriety. Whether it is a walk on the beach, a yoga class, a hot bath, an afternoon nap or a good home cooked meal, self-care is incredibly important.

Make amends

Many relationships become broken as a result of addiction or a mental health disorder. During your treatment program you have learned the tools to regain trust and improve your communication with others however using these tools can be challenging. However having positive relationships in your life is important for your mental health. Apologizing, asking for forgiveness and making amends may not only restore broken relationships but will also give you a sense of inner peace. Keep in mind that some of these relationships may always remain broken however taking an active stance to repair bonds with loved ones can lift your spirit and increase your chances of success in your recovery on a long-term basis.

Practice acceptance

It is important to remember that some days are going to be more challenging than others. You may have sudden urges to use or engage in your old binging and purging ritual but it is important to recognize and accept these feelings until they dissipate or take positive steps to acknowledge and accept them and then rid them from your mind. Acceptance is always better than denial and others will be more likely to accept you for you who are if you are able to accept your feelings.

Continue therapy

Recovery is a lifelong process and even though you have completed therapy and are learning to cope with the real world, continuing some form of therapy is important. 12-step meetings, recovery support groups, online support groups or outpatient therapy sessions are all a great way to talk about your feelings, triggers or even relapses you may endure on a regular basis. Remaining accountable and continuing to seek help can improve your happiness and success during your journey through recovery.