Most of us are lucky not to struggle with serious alcohol or drug problems. All of us, however, could stand to live a little healthier. Recovery from a substance abuse problem is all about learning to make healthy decisions again. The process can be very difficult and quite an arduous journey – but it’s necessary in order to have any long-lasting success after rehab. Anyone trying to make better choices in their life has something to learn from someone who has successfully conquered an addiction.
Cultivate a Positive Environment
Oftentimes we make poor health choices because our lifestyle leads us to them. Whether it is skipping meals because we’re working too much or sneaking a cigarette to cope with the stresses of a bad relationship, our physical and mental environment has a great impact on our health. A stay at a drug rehab center gives addicts a positive space to recover; for those of us whose problems are less destructive, that space is one we need to cultivate within and around ourselves.
Take Responsibility for Your Actions
Programs such as Smart Recovery give addicts the tools to take personal responsibility for their actions; if you’re trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, recognizing your power to change yourself is the first step. You chose to drive to the corner store rather than walk or bike. You chose to eat fast food instead of a salad. You choose to take the elevator instead of three flights of stairs at your office. Being aware that the choices you make are yours and yours alone can empower you to exercise more self-control.
Committing an act to memory is one thing, but committing it to paper is another entirely. You may benefit from keeping a journal documenting your moods and your progress. If you struggle to eat less or enough, keep a food diary. If you smoke to alleviate stress, keep track of the number of cigarettes you light up, and challenge yourself to lower the number.
You can also join a group – groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Weight Watchers help you take responsibility for your actions in front of a like-minded set of individuals, who face similar challenges to your own. This can be a great first step, as well as good for your morale as you struggle to maintain your goals.
Lead the Change from Within
To live better, we need to examine the reasons why we make poor health choices. Do you eat junk food to cope with stress or depression? There is a clear link between our mental health and our ability to make healthy lifestyle choices. As any addict knows, taking care of what’s inside you is one of the first steps to learning new, positive behaviors.
Overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction is a serious accomplishment, and recognizing that there are lessons everyone can learn from the recovery process does not diminish it one bit. Remember, whatever your vice is, you have the power to change.
Adrienne is a blogger and aspiring writer. When she’s not blogging about health and technology, you might find her practicing her French, whipping up some recipes she found on Pinterest, or obsessing over vintage postcards and stamps.