Recovery from addiction is not just a question of completing a treatment program. Individuals must understand that addiction is a lifelong brain disease that requires constant monitoring and maintenance to avoid a relapse back into substance abuse. Building a comprehensive strategy that supports a healthy lifestyle can help individuals continue the techniques they learned in treatment that will maintain a substance-free life. This effort involves paying attention to a number of specific areas of your life.
Maintaining Physical Health
Many individuals who have been addicted developed health problems because of the self-neglect that occurred while under the influence. Treatment programs help these individuals learn to manage their health better to help them overcome the cravings and negative behaviors that can lead back to drug or alcohol use.
A healthy diet with whole grains, leafy vegetables and fruits, lean meats and healthy oils will help individuals in recovery maintain their general health and nutrition. Regular exercise helps them to deal with ordinary stress and the cravings that may arise unexpectedly.1 Getting enough rest and enjoying relaxing hobbies help to maintain the right physical conditions for maintaining recovery.
Maintaining Mental Health
Staying sober also means that individuals must pay attention to the factors that can cause stress and instability in their lives. If mental health problems have contributed to the substance abuse, the individual should expect to maintain regular contact with counselors or psychiatrists to continue medications and work through issues that may arise in everyday life.
Taking care of one’s mental health is as important as maintaining physical health. Individuals should get accustomed to doing the daily, weekly and monthly maintenance to stay mentally healthy.
Maintaining Emotional Health
Individuals who are recovering from addiction must also take special care to forge healthy relationships that help to sustain their sobriety. They must ensure that the people in their lives are also substance-free and can provide emotional and social support for staying sober.2 Not all relationships are healthy, and the ability to recognize the factors that can cause problems for your relationships and your emotional well-being is a critical part of creating a substance-free life.
Meaningful Goals and Enriching Work
Another important aspect of building a substance-free life is to set specific goals that have meaning for you. Whether you are working toward an academic degree, financial independence or the fulfillment of a specific dream, these goals will help to keep you moving forward when your efforts become difficult and when cravings threaten to take you back to substance use.
You can then focus your mind and efforts on these goals, and it will carry you through these difficult times. Having worthwhile work that brings you satisfaction can also help you to overcome low periods and stay motivated.
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process that requires individuals to take the necessary steps on a daily basis to ensure that they remain healthy and substance-free. Without this daily maintenance, the risk of relapse becomes a growing danger.