While you were in a drug rehab and away from home, your time was structured in a way that promoted consistency and a routine. That structure is not always present now that you’ve left treatment and are home. It’s during this time that you must establish a routine of your own, incorporating behaviors and activities conducive to your drug addiction recovery. Routines help you know what to expect, which in turn helps the individual keep stress levels down. When your stress levels are down, you are less likely to experience a relapse.
The first step is to evaluate your needs. If you have a routine that you’ve already established and it is productive and fits within your overall recovery plan, by all means stick to it. This is especially important in the early phase of your recovery, during the first few weeks and months. This is the time when your body and mind are still in the healing stages from your addiction.
What are some examples of an effective routine?
- Setting up a consistent work schedule
- Waking up and going to bed at the same time every day
- Taking the time everyday for a few minutes of deep breathing
- Getting the family out the door and off to school or work
- Creating an exercise regimen
- Eating healthy
- Going to daily support group meetings
- Socializing at sober events
- Taking care of the children
- Paying bills consistently and on-time
- Keeping the house clean
- Running errands
- Keeping appointments
- Devoting time to hobbies
You need to be able to know exactly what you’re doing each and every day in order to ease yourself into transition into a longer-lasting recovery. Following a daily routine schedule helps allay some of the anxiety that comes when you’re unprepared for the day ahead. If you need to, write out a schedule for each day of the week. This way you’ll be able to see gaps that need to be filled in order to keep your day predictable, productive and busy.
Here are some of the benefits of keeping a routine during your recovery:
- Most people who enter recovery will be in poor health and will be in bad physical condition. A regular exercise routine will help you get back into shape. This is important because an unhealthy body can deter your recovery
- A routine gives the individual structure and this provides familiarity and comfort. The new sober person will be experiencing a great deal of change in their life so any type of stability is welcome
- People will tend to be much more productive when they follow a routine. Without a routine, you can waste too much time worrying about what to do next
- A routine breaks tasks up into well ordered patterns so they’re more manageable. If you do not have a plan, you can easily become overwhelmed
- With a routine, you will actually get things done. What an accomplishment, to be able to cross off things on the list! No more procrastinating for you
- Boredom is a common relapse trigger, however, if you have a plan for your day-to-day activities, this is less likely to happen
- Loneliness is another dangerous emotion for people in recovery. A routine can insure that you get to regularly spend time with other people
- Insomnia can be a problem for people when they first become sober. If they establish a regular routine for going to bed and getting up, it will help them adjust to a normal sleeping pattern sooner
Routine also helps promote stability. When you’re in recovery, the best thing that can happen is that you begin to exhibit stability. This constitutes all aspects of the individuals life, from having a job on a daily basis to taking appropriate care of yourself and your family. When others look at you in this light, they feel they can count on you to do what you say and to handle your responsibilities.
Don’t be too strict with your routine
A person in recovery should not stick too strictly to a routine, and should be willing to break from it when new opportunities arise. If you become so stuck on your routine that you won’t deviate from it, even for a good reason, then your routine may end up holding you back from reaching your full potential.
You have the opportunity to succeed, but you also have the choice to fail. Success comes from the routine of being on time for work each and every day, doing what is expected of you, and being a productive employee.
While it’s you that establishes your routine, it isn’t only you that benefits. Your loved ones benefit from your increased stability. As well as your employer and employees as they are now able to count on you. Your friends benefit because they can see your positive steps which makes it easier for them to interact with you on a more healthier basis.