If you stopped drinking or using drugs, then you’re making a choice to change your life. Of course, depending on the severity of your past substance use, then you might be changing not only your lifestyle, but your friendships, work habits, choices, and daily behavior. Whereas before you might have been thinking about your next drink or high, now you might be giving a lot of thought to how to stay clean and sober.
If this is the case, the following is an easy self-care plan to follow. It’s a guideline for creating a structure for yourself so that you’re making life-affirming and self-loving choices. It’s a way to boost your commitment to sobriety by adding a certain organization to your life. Of course, you’re likely also attending 12-step meetings, meeting with your sponsor, attending therapy, and other activities to stay sober. However, this is another layer of protection for yourself. This is another way of caring for your own well being. If you’re ready, grab a pen and some paper and jot any ideas down that might come up as you read the following:
The Self-Care Plan includes seven important parts, all having to do with your physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual health.
- Structure – This part of the plan asks that you think about the structures you need to have in your life that will keep you consistently engaging in your own self-care without reminders. How will you structure your day to include taking good care of yourself.
- Support – An essential part of drug treatment aftercare is staying connecting to a community. In a community of others who are struggling with the same life challenge, you can find friendship, support, and safety. For instance, a sober living community is a large fellowship of like-minded recovery addicts who have their eyes on long-term sobriety. In this sort of group, you might hear the personal stories of others who are also struggling and who are also experiencing the same inner challenges of cravings. What’s also beneficial about being in a community is that you might also hear how others are handling their challenges. You can hear the insights and the ways that others are overcoming obstacles in order to stay sober.
- Positive Attitude – Doing your best to choose positive thoughts instead of negative ones can dramatically shift your perception and experience of life.
- Awareness – Increasing your awareness by attending therapy, support groups, or 12-step meetings can help you with recognizing your triggers, emotional red flags, cravings, and other risky internal experiences. Awareness can facilitate making the best choices for yourself despite having to face those triggers in your life.
- Exercise – for many recovering addicts exercise can be an essential ingredient on the path to drug addiction treatment. Physical activity can release endorphins, which alone help to boost positive feelings. Exercise can also help with the health of the brain, including making new neural connections and facilitating sobriety and change that lasts. Furthermore, to experience these benefits from exercise, you don’t have to run three miles a day; simply taking a walk regularly can boost mental health. Studies show that exercising at least three times per week is an ideal amount. However, to experience the benefits from exercise, you don’t have to run three miles a day; simply taking a walk regularly can boost mental health.
- Nutrition – Nutritional eating can in fact aide the healing process. Returning to a diet that is rich in nutrients can help replenish the body, giving it energy, repairing organ tissue, and strengthening the immune system. Recovering addicts can actually use certain foods to facilitate their healing, such as those that increase the production of serotonin, which can help enhance mood. Feeling better physically and mentally no doubt can facilitate one’s overall experience of life, providing a better outlook on the recovery road ahead. Working with a nutritionist can be an essential part of achieving sobriety, which is in fact all about feeling better emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. Healthy eating is making that choice for healthy living.
- Value System – This section of the plan asks that you clarify what your values are. It invites you to live in accordance to your values so that you are working day by day to build a life that is in integrity with what you believe in.
Little by little as you put a self-care plan in place, you might notice yourself living a life that is holistic, happy, and healthy.
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