We make a big deal about each new beginning — the beginning of a new life, the beginning of a new year, the beginning of a new career. We like to celebrate newness, fresh starts and healthy decisions.
While the beginning of a new year is always a good thing to commemorate with new habits, routines and resolutions. When it comes to quitting substance use, anytime — be it the start of 2022 or the start of next week — is a good time to celebrate.
Quitting substance use doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes an attitude of resolution and the practicing of new habits to begin transforming your life for good.
Begin crafting a healthy lifestyle
A life of addiction tends to be characterized by a hyper focus on the substance. This includes:
- spending copious amounts of money on it
- dedicating time and energy to acquiring, using and recovering from it
- neglecting other important aspects of your life, like family, education or your career
In order to begin turning away from this lifestyle, you’ll need something healthy and productive to put in its place. This includes (but is in no way limited to):
- Building a healthy diet that boosts your mental health
- Improving your sleep hygiene to help you get to sleep and stay asleep
- Finding a form(s) of exercise you enjoy and taking the time to do at least 30 minutes of it a day
- Ridding your life of anything that connects to substance use, from the substances themselves to the people who encouraged that lifestyle
By replacing habits linked to substance abuse with healthy, wholesome habits, you won’t feel a giant gap in your life, or find yourself wondering what to do with all that extra time. You’ll be too busy learning new recipes and practicing yoga.
Reinvest your time and energy into the things you love
Undoubtedly, leisurely hobbies like reading, going on hikes, exploring your local city, traveling and even spending time with friends and family were pushed to the wayside in the midst of addiction. However, it is precisely those activities which will continue to bring you life and motivate you during your time of recovery.
While in the early stages of recovering from substance use, you might find it beneficial to redirect your energies into hobbies you love when you’re feeling tempted or distracted by cravings.
Going to brunch with friends, taking the day to hike a state park or even wandering around the city zoo could provide a healthy distraction when you find yourself struggling.
Don’t be too hard on yourself when you have a bad day
Quitting substance use is no walk in the park no matter how long or short you’ve been using. Drugs and alcohol literally rewire the chemical processes that occur in your brain, which is why substance use disorder is classified as a disease. It’s not just something you get over in a day.
So when you have a particularly challenging day, or you feel like you’ve failed entirely, that is okay. Failure is a hugely crucial part of recovery. It reminds you why you made the initial decision to change, can motivate you to continue struggling against the disorder and seeking recovery and can, in the future, remind you how strong you are for all you’ve overcome.
Talk to people who you can trust to support you
The most supportive people in our lives vary for each of us. For some of us, it’s our families and for others, it’s friends we made in college. For those who’ve undergone treatment already, it might be the people they met in support groups.
These people can prove to be an invaluable resource when you’re quitting substance use. They can be there for you on hard days, be adventure buddies as you begin forming new healthy lifestyle habits and can offer a listening ear on those days you just need to talk. Leaning into the people who love and support you can be a great way to find comfort during this time.
Find a therapist or research a treatment center
If you haven’t already, we highly recommend getting in touch with an addiction treatment center, or at the very least, a therapist as you begin to journey through recovery. Recovery is a journey for many reasons, not least of all because it presents many ups and downs, mental, physical and emotional challenges.
An individual trained in navigating recovery can be beneficial for helping you understand why you might be thinking certain things, experiencing certain emotions or struggling in unanticipated ways. Plus, a therapist will help you create healthy coping mechanisms and new perspectives to ensure your sobriety is long lasting.
If, however, you would like more intense treatment, consider finding an addiction treatment center. These facilities, like Silver Ridge, offer holistic treatment plans that provide support for you during this time, both in mental and physical ways.