Losing steam in addiction recovery? 5 ways to keep your recovery fresh.
Sometimes, the fact that I am in recovery seems to slip out of my mind for days at a time. At five and a half years sober, living in recovery feels like my normal, my routine. If you’d have told me at the beginning of recovery that someday this would be the case, I’d have laughed. But the reality is that it happens — sometimes we can grow distant from our recovery and, in some cases, that can be concerning.
So how do you fix this and reconnect to something that is so vital in your life? These are a few helpful paths to reconnection that I have discovered in the past few years.
1. Take time to reflect on your early sobriety.
This can be uncomfortable and even painful for some people, but it can also be rewarding to remember how far you’ve come. When I’m feeling like I am in a rut with my recovery, I often take the time to go back and read blog posts from early on in sobriety, or look at old photos. It reminds me of how far I’ve come, but also reminds me that I never want to go back. It gives me a new appreciation for my sobriety, a fresh perspective of what life in recovery can offer me. A painful past can sometimes benefit your present, if you allow yourself to look at it that way.
Read Beth’s story: Sober Before 21, Part I: My Rock Bottom
2. Give back and offer assistance to those in early recovery.
Nothing takes me back to those early days quite like talking to someone who is going through it themselves. I try to always make myself open and available for people to talk to because I like helping them feel less alone. But I think I tend to forget that being open is also helpful for me. When you are able to take difficult things you have been through and offer hope to others going through the same, it opens up the doors to gratefulness and hope. Helping another person has a way of breathing the life back into your own recovery because you can see that your story can make a difference for someone else.
3. Connect (or reconnect) with peers.
When I begin to feel distant from my recovery, I often realize that I haven’t spent much time with peers, with people who know what recovery is like and how it can sometimes feel. Naturally, this makes me feel somewhat isolated and I begin to pull away from talking about recovery, leading me to feel a lack of connection to it. But when I have those connections with similar people in my life, I find I feel more in tune with my thoughts and emotions regarding recovery. It always feels good to find people who understand you because they have been where you are. When you find those people, hold onto them tightly.
4. Read, read, read.
In the age of the internet, there is a plethora of information about sobriety and recovery, in addition to good old books. If you’re not really in a mood or place where you feel open to talking about your recovery, reading is the next best thing. It allows you to connect with others and realize that you are not the only one feeling certain emotions and frustrations. Some articles or books may compel you to speak up about your recovery, or maybe they will just make you feel less alone. Whichever is the case, you’ll likely feel more of a connection to your recovery than you did before taking the time to read.
Not sure what to read? Check out the 6 Best Books on Addiction To Break Down Stigma and Open Your Mind
5. Talk about it.
This sounds so obvious, but I tend to forget to do it sometimes. I get so caught up in the way my life currently is and my day-to-day routine, that sometimes I forget what a big part of me my recovery is. Then, someone will randomly ask me a question about it, and I realized that speaking out loud about it feels good and refreshing. Talking out loud is a way of reconnecting to the events that shaped you so drastically. Sometimes the words may come easily, and other times it may feel like more of a battle. But what’s important is that you take the time to do it, to talk about the important aspects of your life like recovery.
Life in recovery isn’t always easy and recovery may not always be at the forefront of each day. Even so, it’s important to take the time to realize when your recovery is on the back burner and then take action to determine how to make it a priority once again. You just have to find the methods that word best for you and realize when it’s time to implement them.