The early days of your recovery journey can feel absolutely overwhelming. You have returned to your daily life after time away in treatment. You are newly sober and eager to stay that way. You are also faced with the temptations that fueled your substance use disorder in the first place and might find yourself beset by cravings that threaten to undo everything you learned and accomplished while in treatment. You might feel anxiety, confusion, stress, and more. It can be a lot.
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When you feel like you are being overwhelmed, it can be helpful to narrow your focus. Instead of thinking about everything related to your sobriety (which after all, is pretty much everything), it can be useful to identify a few key areas to address that you can be confident will move you in a positive direction.
We have three we would like to suggest.
Eating Healthily Supports Your Sobriety
So much of what we eat and drink these days is prepackaged and heavily processed. That is all in the service of convenience, of course, because our lives are extremely busy. But that convenience can come at a cost when it comes to supporting your physical health, your mental well-being, and your sobriety.
That is why we encourage you to make quality choices when it comes to the food you eat and the beverages you drink. Focusing on nutritious food may require a bit more planning when dining out and a bit more cooking when eating in, but the advantages are worth it. Indeed, cooking for yourself, your friends, and your family tends not only to increase the nutritional value of what you eat, but also to provide a real sense of satisfaction and relaxation that also supports your ongoing sobriety.
Exercising Regularly Supports Your Sobriety
Some people really enjoy exercising. Others really dread it. And a whole lot of folks are somewhere in between those two poles. No matter how you feel about exercise, it is an important part of building up your physical health, your mental health, and your ability to stay sober over time.
If you love exercise, this is great news. If you dread it, maybe less so. For a person who finds it difficult to stay motivated or who simply finds working out to be unpleasant, we have two suggestions: find something you truly enjoy and start small.
Exercise can mean so many more things than just taking fitness classes or lifting weights. Do you enjoy taking a walk with a friend? That’s exercise. Are you an avid gardener? Also exercise. Do you think you might enjoy learning to tap dance? That, too, is exercise. Finding your thing makes it easier to keep going.
The other approach that makes it easier to keep going is to start small. Often when a person starts an exercise program, they get discouraged easily when they don’t see or feel any results right away. If you feel sore but don’t feel stronger, it can be discouraging. If your goal is to run a mile, but you can barely make it around the block, that, too, can be discouraging.
That is why we suggest starting small. A brief but consistent exercise practice beats no exercise at all when it comes to supporting your sobriety.
Restful Sleep Supports Your Sobriety
So many of us struggle to get enough sleep—and the sleep that we do get tends to be restless and interrupted. We stumble to bed after falling asleep on the couch. Or we lie in bed doomscrolling and then struggle to drift off. We’re beset by worry, or the temperature in the room is wrong, or our partner is snoring. Something that is supposed to be restful can sure feel like a lot of work—and sometimes we turn to medication to get some relief. That approach, of course, can be problematic for a person in recovery.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. They include, but are not limited to:
- Setting a regular bedtime—and a regular time to rise in the morning
- Limiting caffeine intake—especially after noon
- Making sure your sleep space is tidy, cool, and dark
- Powering down your screens well before bedtime
- Establishing a wind-down routine
- Considering sleep stories or white noise or other sounds that encourage sleep
Making a commitment to better sleep is making a commitment to better health and lasting sobriety.
We Can Help You Reclaim Your Sobriety
If you are struggling with drugs or alcohol, it might feel as though you have no good options. You don’t want to keep taking the substances, but you can’t seem to quit on your own. It can seem hopeless.
Happily, it isn’t.
At French Creek Recovery Center, we can help you regain—and maintain—your sobriety. We are committed to personalized care grounded in expertise, experience, and evidence and delivered with empathy. From detox through rehab and on to our continuum of care, our team in Meadville, PA, will provide support, resources, and strategies that make sobriety a reality—allowing you to reclaim your life.