The Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle For Recovering Addicts

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

Dr. Norris Von Curl, II, MD

The process of overcoming an addiction is hard work. Not only do addicts have to endure the physical and psychological symptoms of withdrawal during the medical detoxification process, they must also have to address the underlying issues of their addiction through therapy, 12-step groups and other essential treatment services. When someone successfully completes a drug treatment program and is ready to resume their daily lives, there is a significant sense of uncertainty and doubt. Mixed feelings regarding recovery–especially the first few months of recovery–are very common, and it can be easy for addicts to be tempted by thoughts of using substances.

To minimize those feelings, it is important for newly recovering addicts to practice effective relapse prevention techniques. Perhaps the most important relapse prevention measure any addict can keep in the forefront is to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. By keeping in mind such things as a healthy diet, regular exercise and excellent self-care, those new in recovery can maintain a healthy body as well as a healthy mindset. The following are some tremendous benefits of a healthy lifestyle for recovering addicts.

Healthy Lifestyle Keeps You Active

silhouette of woman jumping

When someone who is newly recovering comes home after treatment, it is only natural they feel the need to wall themselves off from the world and have some alone time. While having time to oneself is important, going too far with self-isolation can harm recovery and people can develop significant depression–and depression is a common trigger for relapse. When someone adopts a healthy lifestyle, it includes regular vigorous exercise–and exercise is one of the best ways to combat stress and depression in recovery.

Exercise is not only extremely beneficial to physical and emotional health, there are a wide variety of ways to stay physically active which don’t require a lot of money. For example, newly recovering people can take a daily walk in the neighborhood, take up flexibility and strength training or they participate in an outdoor recreational sport. Even mundane activities such as walking laps in the local shopping mall is an opportunity to get active.

Sleep Keeps the Recovery Engine Rolling

There are many things that can derail one’s recovery, and not getting sufficient sleep is perhaps the most common obstacle recovering addicts face. When someone deprives themselves of a good night’s rest, they are operating on a tank that can already be running on fumes. The connection between sleep and recovery is concrete, and researchers have discovered that disruptive sleep patterns have definite links to relapse. While getting a good night’s rest is essential, there are many opinions regarding how much sleep is needed to function optimally.

Experts recommend that people should aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep per night. Additionally, creating a sleep pattern and nightly ritual that works best for the individual is ideal. For some people, they may find that music will lull them to sleep, and others may read a good book or favorite magazine until they fall asleep. For others, they may find that keeping their bedroom cooler and running a fan will help with sleep. Whatever methods that are used, when those new in recovery wake up refreshed from a good night’s sleep, they are better prepared to tackle the day.

Developing New and Healthy Interests

Humans are creatures of habit and we like routines. For those new in recovery, a common trap they stumble into is they will often not know what to do with themselves–and as a result they return to old addictive habits. Developing new interests that are healthy and recovery-based not only takes the focus off of daily stress and problems, these new pastimes can provide the same thrill and rush as drugs and alcohol provided during one’s active addiction.

For those who are trying to find new hobbies to fill their time in recovery, it may be a difficult task. If nothing springs to mind, or there isn’t anything strikes their fancy, they can start by doing something positive that gets them out of the house and involved in an activity or action that can potentially benefit them in the long run. Examples can be as simple as joining a club or finding a simple outdoor hobby. A great benefit of finding new hobbies is the fact those new in recovery can learn something new. For many, it can mean going back to school to finish their diploma or going to college to earn a degree. Besides getting out of the house, developing new interests and hobbies helps take the focus off of your problems, exposes people to others and helps promote a healthy lifestyle.

The Development of Spirituality

woman on mountain peak practicing yoga

Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of adopting a healthy lifestyle in recovery is that people can focus on strengthening their sense of spirituality and purpose in life. In active addiction, people used drugs and alcohol in hopes of ending the feelings of isolation and loneliness. While substance seem to provide a short-term solution, substances only cover the deeper issue. In recovery, people can engage in such practices as meditation, yoga and prayer in order to create harmony within themselves. Even if people don’t engage in a specific spiritual practice, they can feel a sense of oneness with the larger world by simply taking a walk through nature.

First Steps Recovery Will Give You the Tools and Support You Need to Be Confident in Recovery

As stated in the opening of this article, many people who successfully complete drug treatment may have mixed feelings in regards to their recovery. In order to step forward confidently in sobriety, people must have the necessary tools and support to help empower them to step boldly into their new lives–and that journey starts with quality drug treatment programs from First Steps Recovery. Our experienced addiction professionals utilize the best in traditional and holistic treatment services to create a treatment program that will fit your specific needs. Call First Steps Recovery Today and embrace your future.

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