Addiction is a monster that has slowly plagued society, much like the recent pandemic. However, not all hope is lost as many choose to walk from this life of danger and embark on a recovery journey.
Although the recovery journey is no easy feat, a healthy mind and body can do wonders to speed up the process. Let’s look at what you can do to escape the clutch of drugs and return to normal life.
Eating A Healthy Diet
Perhaps the obvious yet overlooked part of the recovery journey is healthy eating. Your health is indispensably dependent on what you eat. A healthy diet will allow your health ravaged by drugs to recover faster and protect against infections.
In general, drugs slow down your metabolism and disrupt your organ function. For instance, alcoholics suffer from liver damage and worsened gastrointestinal systems. The resulting vomiting and diarrhea leech the patient of all nutrients and fluids.
On the other hand, stimulants like cocaine suppress appetite and cause dehydration leading to electrolyte imbalance.
Start by eating whole foods, vegetables, fruits, and lean meat. Cut down on sugar and aggravate damage to your body. Opt for grilling, roast, or stews instead of fried food. You should also reduce refined snacks like instant ramen, chips, and canned food. Over time the change will be noticeable, and you will have a remarkable surge in energy and stamina.
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Another important stepping stone in your recovery journey is exercise. Its effects on both the mind and body have been well-documented. You will strengthen your muscles and bones and manage stress better.
The detrimental effects of substance abuse are well-known, and the recovering addict fares no better from the aftereffects of withdrawal. Furthermore, you will also notice a positive change in your quality of sleep. Exercise is a boon to all these issues.
Improved mood, a stronger immune system, and increased energy are added benefits of regular exercise. It gives the patient a sense of control over the body as they slowly adjust to everyday life. The CDC recommends 150 minutes of regular exercise per week.
Walking, yoga and swimming are great exercise options. Additionally, you can also take up cycling. It is a healthy hobby and therapeutic, especially if you go trail riding. The scenic mountains and fresh air are bound to lift your mood and spirits and provide ample exercise.
Practice Healthy Sleep Habits
Proper sleep goes a long way toward cultivating a healthy mind. It allows you to catch up on rest so your body can heal slowly during the day. Try to make a sleeping schedule and stick to it so your body clock can adjust accordingly. Sleeping without following a plan will leave you feeling tired and sleepy. Here are a few tips:
- Sleep for at least 8hrs a day.
- Make sure to go to sleep and wake up at the same time.
- Naps shouldn’t exceed more than one hour a day.
- Cut down on caffeine intake at least six hours before bedtime.
Form Connections With Others
The journey to addiction recovery is difficult to walk on when you are alone. A support system goes a long way to eliminate relapse into substance abuse and heal from the aftereffects quickly.
Loneliness and isolation are one of the chief factors that contribute to substance abuse. Therefore, you must rebuild your social circle and work on personal relationships.
Connect with your friends and family you can trust and depend on. If there are unresolved issues, seek professional help from a family counselor. Additionally, go out, try to meet new people, and forge new friendships. You will be surprised how a different perspective on life from other people can transform your ideologies and principles.
Nurture Your Interests
While you slowly recover from the aftereffects of substance abuse, try to immerse yourself in different hobbies to stave off boredom. Rekindle old passions like picking up your sketchbook or bringing your abandoned garden to life.
Alternatively, you can also join clubs or volunteer for community activities. This will keep your mind occupied and prevent triggers that may revert you to your old ways.
Managing Stress In Recovery
One trigger factor that leads to addiction is stress, and people seek drugs to relieve this stress. Even during recovery, the patient suffers from anxiety, resulting in a relapse.
When your body is under stress, it causes the release of a large amount of cortisol which is responsible for anxiety and “jitters.” One way to tackle this is by releasing endorphins through exercise to counteract cortisol.
Another way is to practice meditation. Meditation improves focus and reduces stress. There are many types of meditation depending on your needs, such as zen and guided meditation. Seek professional help from an instructor for more details.
The acronym HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired) can be a guide to preventing self-destructive behavior. By ensuring that these basic needs are met, patients are less likely to return to addiction.
Set Goals (and Work to Keep Them)
Setting goals can give you a sense of purpose and keep you away from triggers that can reignite your old habits. Start by jotting realistic and short-term goals and then gradually move on to bigger goals. This will keep you grounded and aid in your recovery journey.
Practice Self Love
Addiction is a dark phase of your life that could have been an amalgamation of bad decisions and poor circumstances. Nevertheless, the fact that you java decided to turn your life around for the better is a brave and commendable feat in itself.
The journey to self-love is neither easy nor short. However, with diligence and patience, you can slowly pick up the pieces of yourself and be remade anew. Treat yourself with kindness and forgive yourself for past mistakes. Take to journaling and reading, and remember to practice positive affirmations to yourself.
There are many triggers to substance abuse; a therapist can identify them and provide guidance so that they can be managed early on, preventing a relapse. Sometimes even supportive family and friends aren’t sufficient to identify all your issues. In such cases, you may benefit from a professional psychotherapist.
Addiction has long-lasting chemical and mental effects on your body and mind respectively. Nevertheless, there is a lot you can do from your end to reverse most of the damage done to your body. The recovery journey is different for every individual. There is no fixed timeline for recovery but good physical and mental therapy coupled with medications can drastically speed up the process.
At the end of the day, your recovery depends on you and your will to get better. Keep striving and be surrounded by supporters to aid in your arduous journey. Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light. Wishing you luck on your recovery and cheers to a sober life!