07 Jan Taking Care of Yourself on Your Journey to Recovery
Individuals who start substance-abuse recovery often go in thinking that once they complete a treatment program, all they have left to do is maintain physical health. Getting healthy, of course, is the end goal — but there are many dimensions to the recovery journey. Each has its own challenges, and each has to be managed.
In addition to physical, emotional and mental strength, you’ll need to build spiritual and financial health. The financial side of the recovery journey may be especially overlooked, yet it’s an integral part of the process.
It sounds overwhelming — and it can be — but you can do it in small steps.
Let’s take a look at what to expect as you work through each of these recovery aspects.
Alcohol and drug addiction not only depletes your body of energy but also leads to many bad habits that you’ll need to change. Building new, healthy habits and becoming more resilient will improve your ability to avoid relapse.
Besides maintaining a healthy diet and creating an exercise routine, it’s important to establish regular medical care. If you haven’t had a physical, vision or dental exam in a long time (or ever), this is the best place to start. And make it a priority.
After years of neglect, your body may have started deteriorating. Failure to address the residual effects of prolonged substance abuse can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes.
Emotional and Mental Recovery
Mental health is crucial to your recovery journey because you’ll be navigating many new emotional states. The emotional roller-coaster catches many people by surprise, especially since they don’t realize that the brain is working hard at overcoming the chemical imbalances that substance use had caused.
As we’ve talked about earlier, there’s also a strong connection between substance abuse and trauma. You may be experiencing the lingering, long-term effects of a traumatic episode without even realizing it.
The best place to start working on your emotional and mental health is outpatient counseling, whether it’s group or individual sessions. A professional can help you process your emotions as well as suggest therapy strategies that will help keep you on the right path.
If you are a person of faith, seeking peace and balance will help you weather the ups and downs of recovery — and create a support system for the other aspects of the journey. Seek ways to reground yourself so you have something positive to fall on.
Reach out to your faith community — your pastor or fellow congregation members. Use the power of prayer and gratitude to inspire new hope on your journey.
If you were addicted for a long time, you likely destroyed any savings or financial security you had and are starting at ground zero. It’s possible you never even learned budgeting and cash-handling skills, and you may have poor credit.
The financial realities after a treatment program can hit hard, but even more so if you’re financially illiterate. Finding a source of income, paying bills, saving money for a rent down payment — you’ll need to face all these responsibilities, and more. One place to find help is through community resources, such as workshops at your local community college.
All this is a lot to take in. You’ll need to rely on your support network — family, counselors and peers. They all want you to succeed, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.
The first and most important step is to not fall back on the behavior that got you here. Be prepared to take one small step after another — but don’t go backwards.
If you’re not sure where to start, contact Olalla Recovery Centers. We can help you find the resources that can keep you strong on your journey of recovery.