Getting clean can be tough, but the really hard part is maintaining your newfound sobriety. It takes time to break the cycle of dependency that may have led you to rely on drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with life’s everyday stressors. Lifestyle modifications like staying connected, eating a good diet, and exercising can help you protect the investment you’ve made in yourself. Read on for some tips on how to practice self-care in recovery.
Stay connected to sober people
You might be familiar with the Alcoholics Anonymous advice to change your playmates. That means you need to sever ties with habitual drinkers who encourage you to drink and make friends with people who will support your sobriety. Members of your family may step up to the plate to keep you socially connected without drinking, and hopefully, you will welcome this opportunity to re-establish ties.
At least some of your new social network should be people who are making the journey of sobriety along with you. These folks might come from a support group or be graduates of the rehab facility you attended. No matter what treatment method you’re using, find a group of people who want to have fun without drinking. It’s important to enjoy as many things as you can while sober. Doing so defeats the sneaking feeling that drinkers and druggers are having more fun than you are.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a drag. It’s simply a matter of being open to new foods. You tried tofu and didn’t like it? Try quinoa this time. You already know that you hate cooked broccoli? Try steamed asparagus. Can’t you stand cooked carrots? Try them raw. They taste totally different.
Lean proteins like turkey, chicken, tuna, cod, egg whites, and non-fat yogurt are your best friends when it comes time to fuel up, but you also need to be mindful of how these dishes are prepared. For example, boiled chicken is much better for you than fried chicken. No matter how you prepare chicken or turkey, consider removing some or all of the bird’s skin. The skin is fatty while the rest of the meat is quite lean.
Learn to cook a few tasty meals for yourself. You have much better control over the food you make yourself than the food you buy at a restaurant. When you cook and eat at home, it’s much easier to track your calories, fat intake, and sugar intake. That said, you don’t want your eating habits to isolate you. To prevent that, take cooking classes with a sober friend. Cook for your family or your AA group and let them cook for you. Sober dinner parties rock!
Exercise can support your sobriety
The right exercise regimen can really support your recovery. Again, an exercise that gets you out of the house and socializing with other sober people is a good idea.
Aerobic exercise releases endorphins, a naturally-occurring chemical in your bloodstream that fights depression and the craving for stimulants. You can get aerobic exercise by running, power walking, dancing, and swimming. If you’re brand new to aerobics, sign up for a low-impact class at your local gym.
If you have fallen out of shape, start your exercise routine slowly with low-impact activities like beginner aerobics and/or walking. Starting out, try to do an hour and a half of exercise a week in 20-minute increments. Once your muscles have gotten a little stronger, increase to three or four hours of exercise a week and work up to as much as an hour a day. Exercise is a good replacement therapy. It helps you steer clear of triggers, cravings, and stressors that could endanger your sobriety.
Healthy changes to lifestyle will support your new, exciting sober life. Find friends who are on a similar journey to good health, learn to cook a few good meals, and start exercising if you aren’t already. Then, reap the benefits!
Adam Cook is the founder of AddictionHub.org, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is very much interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.