My life is a testament to the power of habits — both bad and good. Today I’m in recovery because of bad habits that turned into addictions over time. My codependency, self-destructive tendencies, and substance use disorder I had formed over many years made for a real recipe for disaster. I discovered the best way for me to stay sober and keep recovering was in creating, and sticking to, different kinds of habits.
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Some days, certain habits help more than others, although all of them are important. I incorporate each of these healthy habits into my daily life, and the following five practices have helped me stay strong in recovery:
Don’t underestimate the power of endorphins! I do some form of workout at least six days per week, and it is one habit I will always recommend to stay positive in recovery. The natural endorphins released in exercising are incredibly beneficial in my daily life, and help manage my mental health struggles. I have found that just one hour of sweat therapy per day is the best way for me to get out of my own head, and the fastest way to turn a bad day into a good one. Whether you decide to lift weights, go for a run, or take a long walk, you could be one exercise away from feeling healthier and happier.
Not a day goes by where I don’t write something. I often have a hard time expressing my feelings and I’ve found I can convey them much easier when I write them out. There have been many occasions where I’ve sat down to write what I do not understand, and I end up feeling lighter because the pain is no longer locked inside. You do not have to be considered a good writer for journaling to be a beneficial habit. All you need is a pen, piece of paper and the desire to heal through writing.
Reaching out to strangers, finding other survivors, and building a support group is a huge part of how I’ve been able to keep recovering. We need others to remind us that what we’re doing is worth it; that the battle we face to remain in recovery is something we don’t have to face alone. I have formed numerous great connections through sobriety. It is so important to have people to talk with who understand my struggles, as well as being there for those who need someone to hear them out. Recovery is not something that needs to be done alone. There is a whole community of people out there that are willing to help you.
If it weren’t for reading, I would have no idea who I am. It is through the words of a stranger that I can discover parts of myself that I didn’t know existed, or parts that I’ve kept hidden. Reading has always been something I enjoy, but it has become something else entirely in recovery. I read books on addiction, and memoirs of people who are now living in sobriety. Through reading, I’ve learned why certain people are more likely to become victims of addiction, and the way drug dependence affects the brain. Reading has opened my eyes to so much I was living in denial of, including why I am the way that I am. I may not agree with everything I read, but I’ve found such positive benefits from doing what I can to understand myself.
Although I find all these habits important, forgiveness is probably the most important one, for everyone. To be in recovery, you must forgive yourself for the damage you inflicted on yourself and those around you. If you hold onto that kind of pain, recovery will only be that much harder. It is necessary to forgive your past mistakes if you want to move forward. This is not a step that can be skipped, nor is it something to be avoided. Forgiveness is something we must partake in each day. It is acknowledging that we are human, that we make mistakes, and that we can be better than our worst day. You are not what has happened to you; you become who you are by what you have learned. You deserve to forgive yourself.
It’s by practicing these five habits that I am able to keep recovering. They aren’t the only positive habits you can put into action, but they are my top five that have helped me the most. What habits keep you in recovery? Or does recovery seem like a far-off dream? If you’re struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, The Recovery Village can help. Call us 352.771.2700 today to learn about our flexible inpatient and outpatient options, and how you can take the first step toward healing.