25 Tips For a Recovering Addict to Have a Happy Life
If you or a loved one is a recovering addict, chances are you have your concerns as to whether he/she will be able to stay on the road of recovery. Rest assured such feelings are normal. After all, recovery is a learned process and if sometimes takes a while for changes to occur.
Recovery is a process
If you talk to behavioral experts, they’ll tell you that change is possible for everyone, but change takes time. There are also key variables for each person, meaning for one change may occur fast and for another, change may occur slowly. It’s not necessarily a right or wrong issue; it’s simply the reality of change.
Recovering addicts can continue to change
Getting free from addiction can be a roller coaster ride. Some days you’re up and some days you’re down, but either way, you can navigate life sober. Remember your first attempts at getting sober or clean? Maybe you relapsed time and time again, beating yourself up for failing. But you kept trying, right?
That’s the beauty of persistence. Even when you don’t quite understand change, changes can occur. In fact, change sometimes isn’t even noticed until it’s right there in front of you. One day you’re on the recovery path feeling like a ton of bricks is on your back, and the next you feel light as a feather. It’s like everything that you’ve been learning just clicks and you understand your path to recovery so much better.
Here is a list of helpful tips if you are a recovering addict. There are plenty more, but perhaps these resonate with you. Use the ones that you feel will help you, and add to the list as you continue to navigate recovery.
- Never give up. Persistence is key in the life of a recovering addict. If you relapse, get right back up and try again. If you relapse 100 times, get up 101 times. Decide today to never give up on your recovery.
- Educate yourself on addiction. Learn all that you can about addiction. If alcohol is your drug of choice, learn about alcoholism. If drug addiction is your issue, learn about drug addiction and recovery. As you learn about addiction and recovery, you empower yourself in a mighty way.
- Consider a treatment program. If you find yourself relapsing a lot, consider attending a treatment program. You can opt for inpatient or outpatient treatment, as each can be helpful in assisting you to decrease the number of relapses and/or get completely free from addiction. Learn all that you can while in treatment and apply it to your life once treatment is over.
- Resist the cravings, no matter what. Chances are urges are going to come. You must decide NOW to resist them no matter what. Bad days will come. Things won’t go as planned. Pain will show up in your life, so decide NOW that you won’t resort to coping with it via using or drinking. Resist the cravings no matter what!
- Have a plan for cravings. Just in case the temptations are crazy big, have a plan for tackling them. Maybe you can call a friend when you’ve got that huge urge to drink or drug. Or hit a 12 Step meeting. Just be sure you have some sort of game plan to cope with the cravings when they’re super intense.
- Stay single for a while. If you’ve been in toxic relationships, maybe stay single for a while and work on you and your recovery. Relationships are wonderful, but if you jump into one before you’ve given yourself time to heal and learn to love yourself, you’ll most likely jump into a toxic relationship. Make some good friends and spend time with them, continuing to work on yourself on all levels.
- Become your own friend. Learn to value time by yourself. So many people cannot stand to be alone, as they feel super lonely, so they are always out and about with others. Try to be balanced between spending time alone and with others. Too much of one thing isn’t good anyway, so shoot for balance. Enjoy your own company!
- You might not love to write, but journaling or keeping a diary is a great way to get your feelings out. It’s proven to be quite therapeutic! You don’t have to write every day. Write when you feel like it. It’s also interesting to go back through over the years to read how you’ve changed.
- Be authentically you. As a recovering addict, you are who you are, and who you are is perfect. You don’t have to go around pretending you’re someone you’re not. Be you and be proud of it. You’re a recovering addict doing the best he/she can. Now, this being said, don’t be a self-centered brat. Be an upstanding man or woman who strives to add value to humanity. Let those selfish days be in the past!
- Respect yourself and others. Respect is underrated these days, so aim to be the kind of person who respects yourself and others. Don’t put yourself down and don’t put others down. When you can be kind to yourself and others, life just feels better.
- Embrace a life of forgiveness. As a recovering addict, chances are you hurt other people. Chances are other people have hurt you too. In recovery, being able to forgive yourself and others will help you stay on the recovery path. It’s not always easy to forgive, but it’s healthy and offers hope for a peaceful state of mind. Those that can’t forgive end up feeling all crazy in their mind, beating themselves and maybe even others up. Don’t do that. Choose to forgive yourself for anything you did that hurt yourself or others, and forgive those that hurt you. This doesn’t mean what they did was right, but it means you don’t have to go on carrying those negative emotions.
- Fix or let go of that toxic relationship. If you’re in a bad relationship, either make the effort to fix it or let it go. You may need couple’s counseling to make it better, and that’s alright. Most couples need counseling sooner or later. If you’re both willing to work out the kinks, then go for it. However, if your relationship is super toxic and your partner is not willing to make any effort at making changes, consider ending it. It might not be easy, but down the road, you’ll have more of a chance to experience happiness. If you stay in a miserable relationship, chances are you’ll stay miserable.
- Believe in yourself. As a recovering addict, your opinion of yourself matters, so give yourself permission to believe in yourself!
- Let the past go. The past is over, so let it go. Learn what you need to learn from it and tell it goodbye. You don’t have to live with regret any longer.
- Don’t settle. Don’t settle for crumbs in any area of your life. You deserve to have a good life filled with peace and joy.
- Go after progress. Life is about progress, not perfection. If you think you have to be perfect, or if you require perfection from others, you’ll be in for a lot of disappointment. Progress is a great goal, as it feels good to move forward. Allow yourself some room for mistakes, and learn from them.
- Gather your supportive tribe. You don’t have to go at life alone as a recovering addict. Take time to gather your supportive tribe and share life with them. Learn how to make deep, meaningful connections with others. Allow them to be there for you and be sure that you’re there for them. Reciprocity matters!
- Give back. Do something to give back to humanity. Volunteer or just spread kindness wherever you go.
- Do what makes you happy. If you go through life sitting on the couch watching Netflix day after day and night after night, you’ll probably get bored. Sure, enjoy some good shows, but also spend time doing things you’re passionate about. Get a new hobby or go meet a friend and do something cool. Travel the world, or even just your city if funds are low. The point is to do things regularly that make you feel happy.
- Be responsible. The world needs responsible people, so purpose to be one of them.
- Visualize success. As a recovering addict, visualize your life a success in every area. This is your permission to daydream abundance. It will make a difference.
- Set goals. Set some goals and get some momentum going. It will feel good.
- Ask for help when you need. Don’t let fear or pride keep you from asking for help when you need. Everyone needs help sometimes and chances are if you need help, someone is out there willing to help.
- Determine to smile more often. It does a soul good.
- Research says that those who read regularly feel happier. Whether you’re into fiction or non-fiction, grab a good book to read this week.
As a recovering addict, your life is what you make it. Now go and make it something remarkable with your talents and gifts you’ve been given. Let the past go and create a future that brings you much peace and joy. If you need help, simply ask. You’re worthy to live out a life where you feel fulfilled and free.