Life Changes to Make on Your Path to Recovery Beyond Just ‘Quitting’

Quitting drugs and alcohol is a good start

The path to recovery from drug and alcohol addiction isn’t just about ‘quitting’. Most recovery experts will tell you that making huge life changes while trying to manage substance abuse can be detrimental to recovery. Huge changes like major purchases, moving, and altering the trajectory of romantic relationships should probably wait until you’ve been sober for some time. It’s important to start small and work your way up to bigger changes, but the good news is there are smaller, more manageable life changes that can aid your road to recovery.

Eat better and get some more exercise

Adopting a healthier diet not only helps you replace bad habits with good ones, but it teaches discipline and promotes better mental health as well. A strong body means and strong mind, and a strong mind is needed to help battle addiction. Exercise is great because it not only helps to occupy your time, but it helps the body and mind feel good through the production of its own happy chemicals. Another added benefit of exercise, according to Narconon, is it “will tend to put you in the company of other people who are dedicated to living healthy lifestyles, which will help to support you in your new life.”

Pick up a new hobby

For many of the same reasons exercise is beneficial to those in recovery, starting a new hobby – anything from cooking to gardening, woodworking to collecting – not only helps you occupy the void left by quitting a substance, but also introduces you to communities of people that share your interests. Many hobbyists also share a journey to recovery.

The great thing about hobbies is that they are something that can be shared among like-minded individuals and can be bonded over.

Reevaluate your relationships

You need support on your road to recovery – but you need the right kind of support.

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Remove toxic relationships 

Hopefully, you will make new friends through new hobbies and support groups, but you do have to come to terms with the fact that not all of your old connections are healthy for you anymore. Talk to your friends and family, and let them know that you are unable to sustain relationships that may trigger a relapse. If your friends can’t accommodate your new life, it might be time to make a choice to distance yourself.

Practice a mindfulness exercise

Recovery is hard, and it’s taxing on anyone’s mental health. One of the best ways to prepare your mind for what’s coming is to take some time to practice some sort of mindfulness exercise. Just a few minutes a day of meditation, prayer, or focus breathing can relieve stress and reduce the risks of a relapse.

Making some small but meaningful life changes can seriously improve your odds of success when it comes to overcoming addiction. For more on how to make life changes that last, consult this fine article from the American Psychological Association.

17 thoughts on “Life Changes to Make on Your Path to Recovery Beyond Just ‘Quitting’

      1. I highly recommend a fitness program. I started out by walking a mile each morning, Then jogging a mile. Then running 5Ks, 10Ks etc. I’m now an AG Triathlete+> Swim, Ride, Run. For me, exercise is the best path to mindfulness.

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      2. I agree. In the beginning of my sobriety, my body was pretty beaten up. I started with short walks outside. The fresh air and sunshine really helps with my dark mood. However, I never worked up to your impressive routine. The good news is that even a little activity produces a nice result.

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  1. All great ideas here…I think I did all of them. I especially had to distance myself from everything and almost everyone (except my job and family) once I realized that I had insidiously built my entire life around drinking-opportunities, drinking-people, and drinking-centered-events. It’s hard but worth it because it opens up a whole new bigger world that was shut out before.

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    1. Jenn, thanks for your thoughtful comments. When I distanced myself from all the negative people in my life, I was really left looking in the mirror. It was lonely, but that forced my to connect with people who were also sober. It really is a great way to live. Thanks again for stopping by!

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  2. Love this Victoria 😀. Would it be ok if I re-blogged this at some point in my 40 day challenge which I see you have visited (thank you). Or if you have any other thoughts or things you think would be worth discussing, I’d love to hear from you.

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    1. Tristan, I would be flattered. Take what you like! My most popular discussed topic is Christian Recovery. My most provocative article is “Here’s proof that I’m not an alcoholic”.
      Of course, so many people want to learn about Opioid addiction …. so sad.

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      1. Ah thank you so much. I really enjoyed the “Life changes…” blog as it was so positive and applicable to anyone reading. I’ll probably use it some point next week when I’m running out of topics on this 40 day marathon!! Thanks for reading the blog. T

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  3. Thank you for your post. For me, I had to change my values. I am in year five of recovery and on the value of Stability. I think I am developing trust or faith as a character trait to go with that value. We shall see…

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    1. I hit a fork in the road at year 5. It was a choice of stepping up my recovery game (working more on family, vales etc) or just take my sobriety for granted and do nothing. I am glad I chose the right path, because I am pretty sure I wouldn’t still be sober.

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  4. Reblogged this on SixtyOne Counselling and commented:
    Day 4 of the 40 day challenge. The household is down with a sicknes bug 😷 and nothing much productive happening today! Thankfully I came across a really interesting blog by Victoria B and she had really kindly said I can re-blog as part of my 40 day challenge.

    It’s all about how to stay healthy in recovery from addiction, but there’s real value in this for anyone looking to better their general sense of mental wellbeing.

    Thanks Victoria x

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  5. Thanks for this post! Just coming up on a year and a half for me and I’ve recently started exercising regularly, eating healthy, meditating because I really want to – all things that came with time, in sobriety, and help in making my life even more happy, joyous and free! I don’t think I’ll stop learning how to live a good life – and if this is the path, I certainly don’t want to! 🙂

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