Substance abuse can change the way a person feels and how they interact with the world around them. Many who struggle with substance abuse find that their physical and mental health suffer, and as a result, must also be treated alongside the addiction itself. Even with the knowledge about how substance abuse is impacting your overall health, it can still be difficult to start the journey in recovery. Quitting means changing virtually every aspect of your life in order to support sobriety, and even if that means a healthier, happier future, the thought of letting go of everything can be difficult to come to terms with.
Committing to your sobriety means finding new ways to cope with the stressors, triggers, and challenges that cause you to use drugs and alcohol in the first place. For many, substance abuse is a means of escape, and recovery is heavily focused on developing alternative healthy coping mechanisms. Learning to cope with stressors and triggers in a healthy way is a critical component of recovery as it reduces the risk of relapse in the future. Additionally, it can provide healthy outlets that promote feelings of happiness and improve overall wellbeing.
Ways to Improve Happiness in Recovery
Most people undoubtedly struggle with mental health in recovery, especially in the early stages. Even coming to terms with accepting help for an addiction can leave many with conflicted thoughts and feelings. Despite knowing it is in their best interest, letting go of addiction means letting go of the many aspects of life that allow it to continue. This can be challenging for many people in early recovery. If you choose to live substance-free, learning to live and enjoy life sober is key.
Recovery can be difficult, but there are ways you can improve the experience and learn to enjoy sobriety.
- Avoid enabling people and environments: One of the most crucial changes that must be made first in recovery is cutting off ties with enablers. This includes no longer associating with people who encourage substance abuse and no longer spending time in environments that can trigger it. Treatment is designed to help you replace old habits with new, healthy behaviors that support sobriety. Continuing the spend time around enablers can threaten your sobriety and prevent you from making the changes needed to succeed.
- New hobbies and activities: As you adapt to life without the use of substances, you may find you have more free time. Idle hands and boredom can be a trigger for relapse making it important to begin exploring new hobbies and activities. You may find you learn more about yourself and your interests as you progress in recovery and this is a great time to begin exploring. Whether this means indulging in creative outlets, visiting new locations, or spending time with new people, finding what makes you happy can be a powerful motivator in recovery.
- Invest in yourself: Your recovery is important and it is vital that you prioritize your needs first. It is a time to explore who you are and who you want to be moving forward. Exploring educational or vocational interests can help motivate you to stay on track and help you set goals for your future. Sometimes prioritizing your needs means saying no to people or to events and it is okay to do so. Putting yourself in situations that reduces stress and minimizes the likelihood of negative thoughts surfacing is an important aspect of recovery.
- Exercise: Substance abuse can take its toll on your physical health. Aside from improving your overall physical wellbeing, exercise is a great stress reliever and can boost mood through the release of endorphins. While exercising alone is a healthy outlet, you may also look into group activities or sports as another option. This helps you foster healthy relationships with others and develop shared interests with other people.
- Meditation: Addiction can often manifest as a desire to escape painful thoughts or memories. Meditation is a powerful way to take control of your thoughts and feelings through guided thought. By focusing on the present, you can actively work through the aspects of your mental health that may cause cravings to surface. Meditation provides a way to process the thoughts and feelings that may trigger relapse and encourages you to discover better ways of coping without the use of drugs or alcohol.
- Support groups: A sober network is vital to successful recovery. Those without support are more likely to relapse in the future. Joining a support group keeps you connected with other sober individuals who share similar experiences and the same desired outcome. Through support groups, you can continue to actively work on your recovery while both giving and receiving encouragement from others. It provides a unique opportunity to learn from others who have similar experiences and can help you become more confident in your recovery.
- Family and friends: Rebuilding your relationships with friends and family is another important aspect of recovery. Many find that substance abuse can strain and damage relationships, making it difficult to form meaningful connections with those closest to you. Making amends with those around you can greatly improve recovery outcomes. At the same time, your friends and family will be going through their own version of recovery as well. Rebuilding relationships and establishing trust can be a long process, but the time invested in this can be therapeutic and beneficial to a happy and healthy recovery experience.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 888.855.6877 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.