July 5 is “National Workaholics Day,” geared toward those people who love their jobs and can’t seem to get enough work time in their day. While it can be valuable to be dedicated to your job, if you’re someone who’s in addiction recovery, you might want to use this day as a time to think about putting the work toward yourself and maintaining your sobriety.

Addiction recovery tips can help you stay on the right path, practice self-care, and continue to build the life you want. It’s not easy, but just as workaholics will tell you about their professional lives, putting in the time and the effort will often yield the results you want.

Build a Strong Support Network

When you’re in recovery, isolation or feeling as if no one understands what you’re going through can be detrimental. Loneliness and isolation are two glaring factors that often contribute to relapse. Even when you have family and people who love you, if you don’t feel like they understand what you’re going through, it can be easy to pull away from those relationships.

Work on building a support system of not only your loved ones but people who are also in recovery. Support groups such as 12-step programs are a great source of recovery support, and they can provide you with a sense of accountability as you work on maintaining your sobriety.

If you have a support network, you may be more willing to ask for help when you need it and reach out if you’re feeling weak.  

In addition to friends, family and other support group participants, you may also find your care providers remain a part of your support network. For example, you may have a trusted therapist you work with regularly.

Fuel Your Body the Right Way

When you’re in active addiction, it can be damaging to your mind and also your body. People who struggle with addictions to drugs or alcohol often deal with resulting physical health issues, including nutritional deficiencies.

Health and wellness in recovery are crucial to restoring physical health, but also to help you stay mentally healthy and strong.

Nutrition and recovery from substance abuse are two things that often intersect with one another. Make it a goal to focus on the foods that you’re eating and how they’ll fuel your body. If you feel better, you’re less likely to use drugs or alcohol again and a healthy, balanced diet improves your mood.

Along with nutrition, think about ways you can get more physically active. Physical activity is a mood booster and is another good way to hold yourself accountable in recovery.

Practice Self-Compassion

We may think a lot about forgiving others for the wrongs they’ve done to us. Forgiving others can feel much easier than forgiving ourselves, but when you’re working on your recovery, you have to learn how to have that same sense of compassion for yourself.

Guilt and shame in recovery are common feelings, particularly if you think about how your battle with substance abuse affected your relationship with others. Improving your self-worth in recovery and overcoming guilt and shame in recovery is possible.

The more you’re able to heal your shame and ultimately overcome your guilt, the more clearly you’ll be able to see yourself, others and your life. When you improve how you see yourself, then you can improve your relationship with yourself and others as well.

Steps to self-compassion and self-forgiveness can include taking responsibility but also having understanding for yourself and identifying why you may have acted in certain ways.

Even for current behaviors that may occur in your recovery, it’s important to be patient and forgiving with yourself if you stumble along the way.

Learn to Relax

Self-care in early recovery is a necessity and it remains important throughout your recovery. Wellness and recovery often go hand-in-hand.

The ways you decide to engage in self-care in recovery are up to you. For example, one option is using meditation for addiction recovery. Meditation can help you calm your body’s fight-or-flight response to stress. Meditation may also help control symptoms of depression and anxiety. Specific types of meditation you might use include guided meditation or body scans.

Other ways to relax include taking walks, ensuring you get enough rest, and journaling about your thoughts and feelings.

Remember, a big reason people relapse is that they aren’t able to cope with stress without substances. Learning to relax without the use of drugs or alcohol is a lot of work in recovery, but it’s an essential part of the process.  

Develop Goals and Celebrate Victories

Every step you take in your recovery is something you should celebrate. A good way to work on practicing self-forgiveness and developing a healthy relationship with yourself involves setting goals and allowing yourself to celebrate small victories.

When you’re in active addiction, it’s very easy to feel as if your life is chaotic and directionless. Goal setting in addiction recovery gives you a sense of structure and guidance. Setting goals can help you have a sense of purpose in your life as well.

When you’re setting addiction recovery goals, prioritize the ones that will help you improve your mental and physical well-being. Make them small, attainable goals that have a sense of meaning to you. Along with those incremental, short-term goals, create long-term goals as well. 

It’s so important to always work towards things that are important to you, not only in your recovery but your life as a whole. Once you start achieving your small goals, you’ll be moving toward the place where you’re also celebrating your big victories too.

Renee Deveney
Editor – Renee Deveney
As a contributor for Advanced Recovery Systems, Renee Deveney is passionate about helping people struggling with substance use disorder. With a family history of addiction, Renee is committed to opening up a proactive dialogue about substance use and mental health. Read more

NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine. “Substance use recovery and diet.” MedlinePlus.gov. Accessed June 14, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.