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5 Ways to Create Sober Routines in Recovery

5 Ways to Create Sober Routines in Recovery

5 Ways to Create Sober Routines in Recovery

During treatment, many recovering addicts discover how powerful routines are in both drug abuse and avoiding relapse. At first glance, it might seem that following a schedule is boring and repetitive, but this faulty assumption could not be further from the truth: framing the hours of each day within a clear structure is an organizational tool that yields untold benefits—especially for people overcoming addiction and the chaos that comes with it.

Why You Cannot Live Sober Without Structure

The first few weeks and months of addiction recovery launch a powerful season of healing and transformation. As the body and mind adjust to sober living, San Diego residents begin to see the reality of their lives with new—and sometimes frightening—clarity. In other words, even though you have completed treatment, you are still so new to recovery that you have yet to become comfortable at practicing your sober skills. Add to that newness the stress of returning to your home, family, job and friends and it may seem that relapse is likely. Relationships and responsibilities that have withered from neglect suddenly come to the foreground, so San Diego drug addicts may believe that everything must be “fixed” at once.

In effect, the proposition of putting your life in order overnight can feel overwhelming. It can also be dangerous, because people may want to throw in the towel after they realize it could take months or years to make amends and truly recover from the damage done by drug use. However, structure relieves this stress, because the predictability of a daily plan can allay the anxiety that comes from uncertainty about the future. Establishing and sticking to a routine is a practical way to build a lasting sobriety. On the contrary, waking up each morning without a plan for the day can set the stage for chaos. Good intentions—such as attending a 12-Step meeting—can fall by the wayside if the mind strays into fear, anxiety or daydreams. A general plan for any given hour guards against errant thoughts and emotions.

Stability is another benefit that comes from keeping a routine. One of the first signs that life is getting back on track is when someone begins acting in predictable ways and being responsible for duties, such as going to a job or following through on promises. Trust is restored as San Diego residents learn that they can depend on a recovering addict to follow through, take initiative and tend to obligations. Schedules provide the foundation for this type of stability, because it helps people become efficient, resourceful and productive.

Establishing a Routine: Five Tips and Suggestions

There are five simple ways to jumpstart scheduling, and the first is to prepare for disappointment. The discipline required to maintain a routine may seem unattainable at first, so expect to take one step forward and two steps back some days. Just keep going: according to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology and reported on in the Huffington Post, most people take about 66 days to form a new habit.

Second, simplify your schedule. Too many duties, chores, assignments, projects or task reminders that you endlessly miss can be discouraging. Instead of composing endless To Do Lists, eliminate all but essentials from your daily schedule, especially within the first 90 days of recovery. Studies funded by the National Institute of Health show that the first three months of sobriety are the most critical, because this window of time sees many, well-intentioned people relapse, fall back into pre-treatment routines that got them into trouble or give up under the pressure of cravings. In other words, prioritize recovery during this crucial time to stay clean.

The third step is to mind the basics. Take care of your nutritional needs and make sure you get adequate rest. In early recovery, you are still recuperating from the residual effects or chronic conditions that result from addiction. Many people struggle with anemia, muscle atrophy and infections, so those who return home following treatment may sleep for a couple weeks straight, which leaves time only for 12-step meetings and counseling sessions. Start your new life by stocking your fridge with healthy foods, and plan to eat three meals a day. Do not skip breakfast, or you risk depriving your body of the morning boost it needs. Aim for nine hours of sleep nightly, but do not be shocked if you need more, as these changes are normal.

Fourth, make meetings the centerpiece of your day. Most addiction treatment specialists say that recovery is only as successful as the quality of the support network recovering addicts maintain. The burden of recovery can feel too heavy to carry alone, so seek help from your San Diego loved ones.

The final step is to eliminate clutter from your life to streamline and structure your day. Items that you do not need and have not used in two years or longer should be donated, sold or recycled. Ample evidence shows that a clean, well-organized environment is conducive to healing, wellbeing and general peace of mind.

Help for Addiction in San Diego

Getting sober is hard work, but San Diego residents do not have to do it alone, as we are here to help. If you or a loved one suffers from addiction, then please call our toll-free helpline: our admissions coordinators can provide information about treatment for addicts and their families, and they are available 24 hours a day to help. Do not let addiction steal your joy—please call us now for instant help.