Recovery is challenging, there’s no doubt about it. For many people in early recovery, the prospect of staying sober for life seems like such a daunting task that just thinking about it can shake their confidence.
There’s a good reason why the mantra “one day at a time” is so often repeated in the world of recovery. Dwelling on the future takes your attention away from the present moment, which is where recovery actually happens. The present moment is where you take action and make decisions that support your quest to stay sober for life and improve your happiness and well-being.
Here are five daily habits that can help anchor you in the now and keep you motivated to stay sober for life, one day at a time.
- Be honest
- Have Fun
- Review Your Goals
Meditation is fast becoming a mainstream therapy in addiction treatment. That’s because meditation has been shown through a large body of research to improve self-awareness and mindfulness and reduce stress. Not only that, but according to a study by MIT and Harvard, meditation has physical effects on your brain and can even change the way external events affect your stress level and emotions.1
Try to meditate each day for ten to 15 minutes, and work your way up to 20 or 30 minutes. After a week or two, it’ll become easier to clear your mind, and you’ll begin to see noticeable changes in your stress levels and mindfulness.
Exercise improves your health to help repair damage done by addiction, but it also helps prevent relapse. A regular exercise regimen can help you stay sober for life. Exercise increases “feel-good” chemicals like dopamine that produce feelings of calm and relaxation. It also reduces stress both on the spot and for the long-term.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a half hour of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week for the strongest benefits.2 Take a brisk walk, ride your bike to work, have a swim or work up a sweat in the garden to get your daily exercise.
Addiction has a way of creating illusions all over the place, and being honest with yourself and others is the best way to keep these illusions at bay and see yourself and the world around you clearly. Honestly evaluate your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviors throughout the day. Don’t just tell yourself or others that you’ll be fine even though deep inside you know you need a little extra help today.
If you’re having a good time and enjoying your life sober, you’re far less likely to use drugs or alcohol. Strive to have fun and enjoy yourself every day. Spend time with positive people whose company you enjoy, or do an activity you like, such as catching a movie, making art or music or playing on a sports league.
Research shows that writing down your goals and reviewing them daily is a major factor for achieving them. Keep your goals written down in a place where you can revisit them every day. Post them on your bathroom mirror, fold them up and keep them in your wallet, or keep a page in your calendar that you’ll be sure to see daily.
Think about what you can do today to get that much closer to reaching them. Staying in touch with your hopes for the future helps bolster your motivation and keep you excited about what’s in store down the road.
Make Staying Sober for Life a Daily Concern
If you want to stay sober for life, every single day requires your full attention, especially in early recovery. Developing new daily lifestyle habits that promote mindfulness and improve your health and well-being will lead, day by day, to long-term success.