Healthy Goals, Healthy Habits, Healthy Life after Addiction
Life as an addict is accompanied by a lot of unhealthy habits, and any goals that do exist go through a revolving door saddled by addiction and the lifestyle that accompanies it. It’s not difficult for a person who is in the early stages of recovery to feel overwhelmed on how to live life now that drugs are no longer a part of the equation. I could spend a lot of time talking about bad habits that are formed through drug abuse, such as sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, bad hygiene, laziness, to name a few. While necessary to point these out for the proper perspective on just how much of a lifestyle change is required to stay clean, for this article I’m simply going to focus on some simple things to focus on early on that will help create habits that are both healthy while also contributing to the ultimate goal of staying clean.
One if not the most important habit that I formed early on was getting on a regular sleep schedule. When I was using, I either didn’t sleep much at all, or I would pass out and wake up whenever I felt like it. I never felt rested, my body never got the type of sleep it needed to recuperate, and everything in my life suffered because of it.
On the flip side, a big part of my success in overcoming addiction has been the energy I have throughout the day after a good night’s sleep. I make better decisions, I’m more productive, my mood is more upbeat, and I feel sharper in every task I take on throughout the day. I’m human, and there are certainly exceptions even now where for whatever reason, I either didn’t sleep well or didn’t allow myself enough time to get proper rest. I can always tell when this happens throughout the day, and it gives me a great perspective on why I was always so miserable when this was the norm instead of the exception.
Nutrition is another healthy habit that goes a long way towards feeling good and staying positive about being clean and sober during early recovery. Most addicts will tell you they only eat out of necessity. There is no schedule, no thoughts about feeding the body proper nutrients or having a healthy balance of different food groups. An occasional run to the closest fast-food restaurant or gas station to calm the stomach is all that’s required. It’s a big reason addicts are so malnourished and often look skinny and very unhealthy. It’s also a big reason eating well and getting the body feeling healthy again helps so much early on.
Exercise has become a big and important part of my life too, but it all started with the basics, such as sleep and nutrition. As my body became healthier my goals regarding my health began to evolve with it. Taking care of myself with good hygiene became important again. The gym has become one of my favorite places to go and a part of my daily routine. The more things I incorporated into my life, the better and better I felt every day. The better I continued to feel as each day, week, and a month passed, the further removed I felt from addiction and the more repulsed I became by the life I used to live.
As these became habit-forming, I was able to set and meet goals that became very meaningful to me. The lifestyle change I so desperately wanted to make for so long had been accomplished, one step at a time. The reason it never felt as difficult as I had once made it is because I let it happen organically, focusing on one thing at a time until I had the foundation needed to feel good about myself and the way I was living. That’s what it’s all about, finding that spark in life again that reminds you repeatedly of why life is so much better with addiction in the rear-view mirror. If you or anyone you know is seeking help, please reach out.