new to recovery

5 Life Hacks for Those New to Recovery

Those who are suffering from alcoholism, drug addiction, or even one of a number of behavioral addictions have a variety of recovery resources available with which they can achieve lasting sobriety. Most experts have determined that the most effective way to become sober is to enroll in an inpatient or residential treatment program with one’s likelihood of success increasing as he or she spends more time in rehab.

Similarly, there are a number of outpatient programs as well, making it possible for addicts to continue living at home while completing addiction treatment programs. However, it’s often said that the real work of recovery doesn’t begin until one has completed a treatment program and is returning home where he or she will be solely responsible for his or her abstinence. As such, the following are five useful “life hacks” for those who are new to recovery.

1. Make Gratitude Lists

Just about everyone will have at least heard of a gratitude list before. The idea is rather simple: Sit down and make a list of all the things for which you are grateful. Beyond that, there are a few different ways to do this. One might choose to continue adding to a single list so that it continues to grow and grow while others might prefer to begin a new list each time. It’s really a matter of preference. For those who would prefer to keep a single “master” list, the various smartphone apps for note-taking and even to-do lists could be useful as an app would allow you to have your list always at the ready for when you want to add a few lines; additionally, being able to access the list from many different devices is useful, too.

2. Recovery-Related Apps for Your Smartphone

Speak of apps that are useful to those in recovery, there are even a variety of apps available that are actually intended to be used by individuals who are in recovery from addiction. An app developer named Holly Hess realized that people having their smartphones on them at all times means that they could potentially have great recovery resources at their fingertips if there were technologies taking advantage of this ever-present virtual world. Hess created an iOS app called recoveryBox, which is an app that’s intended to help with accountability. Users use the app to track their choices throughout each day — both the positive and the negative — and can choose to share them with their connections, which can include loved ones, a sponsor, members of one’s support group, and so on.

There’s also an iOS app called 12 Steps AA Companion, which is more straightforward and serves as a valuable resource by offering Alcoholics Anonymous literature like “the Big Book” and The Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to users on-demand. An Android app called AA Speakers to Go is another on-demand resource, but this one allows users to access hundreds of Alcoholics Anonymous speakers from various events and meetings that date back to the 1930s, which is perfect for anyone who likes the reassurance of never being further away from an AA meeting than a smartphone app.

3. Take the Long, Leisurely Way Home From Work/School/Other

For most people, day-to-day life is often hectic and bordering on perpetually stressful, which is not the best atmosphere for remaining abstinent. Things like running late for work, sitting in traffic, overlapping appointments, last-minute schedule changes, unplanned emergencies, and many other situations can make a person want to pull his or her hair out. As such, it’s important for those in recovery to counter the daily grind by squeezing in some leisure time. One of the best ways to do this is to take the long route home from work, school, or wherever one spends his or her day. This is the most likely period of time when a person isn’t in a rush or late, meaning that he or she can do whatever he or she would like with that time. Taking the long way home allows a person to enjoy the silence, solitude, and scenery while collecting him or herself and just taking a breather from the frenzy of life.

4. Dive into a New Hobby or Learn a New Skill

After giving up substance abuse and returning home, most individuals are quickly confronted by just how much of their former lives had been consumed with either seeking or consuming their substances of choice. They find themselves being idle with nothing to do much more than they ever had before. As the saying about idle hands goes, it’s important not to give those new to recovery too much time to simply sit around and reminisce as there’s a good chance those thoughts will cycle around to the substance or substances they recently gave up. Instead, this is the perfect opportunity to take up a new hobby or learn something new. Some of the best skills to learn are ones in which you must use your hands such as knitting or crocheting, making jewelry with beads, making and painting birdhouses, and so on. The best case scenario is that a new hobby or skill not only fortifies one’s sobriety, but also could turn into a little side business selling handmade trinkets on sites like Etsy.

5. Take Care of Yourself

While telling a person to address his or her physical needs might not seem like a groundbreaking life hack, being in active addiction often causes people to neglect themselves and their most basic needs, especially when those needs might get in the way of alcohol or drug abuse. Moreover, since the majority of an addict’s income goes toward his or her habit, there’s not much left for things like going to the dentist and check-ups with one’s doctor, buying essentials like deodorant and shampoo, and so on. As such, those in early recovery must often regain the ability to address their most basic needs and take care of themselves, which is an important part of both one’s recovery as well as one’s overall well-being. In particular, one should begin going to a dentist to take care of his or her teeth, get haircuts somewhat regularly, go to the doctor when he or she is feeling under the weather, and eat healthy, balanced meals. Moreover, none of the aforementioned things will even cost that much money, especially with the recent healthcare reform. Taking care of oneself is essential to feeling good about oneself in recovery.

Need Help in Recovery? Give Us a Call

Adjusting to life when you’re new to recovery takes time. The road from addiction to lasting recovery has many twists and turns, but we can help you get there. At Drug Treatment Center Finder, we’ve made it our goal to help each and every addict overcome their addictions by matching them to the programming that best addresses their needs. If you or a loved one would like a free consultation and assessment, call Drug Treatment Center Finder today at 1-855-619-8070. Our recovery specialists are available 24-7 to help you begin your journey to healing.

  1. I have a friend who has struggled with smoking for a few years now and is having a hard time quitting. I like your point about how learning a new skill or hobby can help distract you from substance abuse. Helping him find an interesting sport or game to get involved with sounds like a great way to help him. Thanks for sharing!

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