1. Create (and keep to) a daily schedule. Making a daily schedule is much more than busywork. In recovery, it’s essential to have a clear list of what to do and when to help keep you on track. In fact, you’ll probably need to literally schedule most or even all of the hours of the day to accommodate what’s absolutely essential during early recovery. This includes the times you wake up, eat, exercise, work, attend 12-step meetings, go to doctor or therapy appointments, take medication, spend time with family and friends and sleep.
There should be blocks of time, too, for meditation and/or prayer, reading and hobbies. When you always know what’s next on your schedule, you’ll be less likely to have idle time to let your thoughts wander back to using again.
2. Make meetings a priority. If you went to rehab, you likely learned the value of attending 12-step group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA); they may have even become a necessity for you in recovery. AA has a semi-official rule, called the “90-in-90 rule,” which strongly encouraging members to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. This can be one meeting every day for the full three months, or it can take the form of two to three meetings a day (morning, afternoon and evening, for example). Doubling or tripling up on meetings may even be a means of preserving your sanity during especially troubling times or when you feel a crisis or relapse triggers coming on.
However you do it, and whether you attend 12-step support groups or alternative meetings like SMART Recovery® or Rational Recovery®, ongoing support from people who are working to maintain their sobriety is crucial in the first 90 days and beyond. Visit our 12-Step meeting page to find a meeting that’s right for you.
3. Find a sponsor, trusted mentor or therapist. If you participate in a 12-step program, finding a sponsor should be a high priority. This important person will help you navigate the program and will serve as your go-to person in times of crisis. For those who choose other kinds of self-help support groups, the goal should be to find and maintain a relationship with a key person you trust and can depend on.
4. Continue seeing your doctor or therapist. Many people in early recovery find
that it’s essential to maintain a regular connection with their physician (especially
if you’re on medication) and/or your counselor or therapist. If you are seeing one?
Don't skip appointments.
5. Create a safe environment for yourself. The healing process requires that you feel secure at home. This means that you need to clear out anything that’s related to using — for example, bottles of booze, pills, illicit drugs, pornography or other addictive substances or objects — that are around you or accessible to you. Without delay, get rid of each and every one of them. If you don’t trust yourself to do this, ask your sponsor, a trusted friend or loved one to clean out your stash so that your environment is free of any temptation to use.
6. Ask for help from your loved ones. If you’re among the lucky ones who has a spouse, partner or loved one to support and encourage you, ask for his/her assistance in structuring your environment in early recovery. Together you can create a routine that not only works for your recovery, but also takes into account and respects the needs of your family or loved one.
7. Pay attention to your diet, sleep and physical activity. Getting back to feeling in tip-top shape and maintaining your sobriety entail more than just streamlining your schedule, of course. Part of your new, structured environment in early recovery involves taking care of your nutritional needs and getting adequate rest and regular exercise. During early recovery, you are likely to be recovering from the effects of your addiction, or from complications related to your using. For example, you may be anemic, feel weak, or have a compromised immune system.
Begin by stocking your refrigerator and pantry with the following
Whole foods (including fresh fruits and vegetables)
Whole-grain cereals, breads, rice or pasta
If you’re not a cook and you don’t have anyone to prepare meals for you, buy a good cookbook or research recipes online to create menus filled with nutritious, easy-to-make meals. In fact, you may find that preparing tasty dishes can be a form of therapy and relaxation, besides being good for your overall health.
It’s also common to experience periods of sadness or feeling blue in the early days of recovery; many who return home following treatment say they just want to hole up and sleep for a couple of weeks straight. Others are plagued by insomnia; addiction disrupts the body’s circadian rhythms, making it difficult to fall (or stay) asleep without your drug/behavior of choice. In general, you should work toward getting eight to nine hours of solid shut-eye per night.
And try to schedule some time each day to get active; start with a 20-minute walk and add on from there. Regular exercise builds your body back up and gives you a healthy way to release difficult or pent-up emotions, including anger, sadness and frustration.
8. Learn your triggers and practice healthy coping skills. It goes without saying that you need to avoid triggers that can push you toward relapse. Simply put, you’ll need to start by finding ways to steer clear of the people, places and things you most associate with using.
9. Remember: If you DON'T pick it up . . . you CAN'T get high!
# # #
:: Source Materials ::
The South Suburb Counsel
Visit their website - tons of amazing resources.