Healthy Habits in Early Recovery
By Colby Maynard
For those of us in recovery, it is important for us to engage in healthy habits to live our best life in sobriety. With the demands and stressors in our lives, it can be difficult to find the time to take care of ourselves. This new way of thinking is not limited to those in early recovery but rather it is beneficial to all those struggling with indulging in unhealthy habits. There are countless advantages associated with living healthy. Healthy living is not limited to being physically fit but also requires mental health balance as well.
Some people may associate healthy living with money. Pricey gym memberships and expensive organic foods can deter an individual from pursuing health over convenience. Online resources provide unlimited innovative tips for incorporating healthy habits into everyday life. Increased energy levels, balanced moods, higher quality of sleep, and lowered levels of stress are all commonplace for the individual who practices healthy habits. Choosing healthy living in recovery can help cultivate sobriety, relapse prevention, and an overall balanced lifestyle. As a woman in recovery, I have found these habits to be particularly beneficial for me, and others around me in recovery.
I was one of those people who thought that meditation would not work for me and was a waste of time. I could not have been more wrong! I have always suffered from anxiety, depression, racing thoughts, and insomnia. I always had feelings of impending doom even when nothing was wrong and could never slow my mind down, I was constantly stressed and exhausted. When I did try to meditate I would give up after only a couple of minutes because I could not quiet my mind. It was not until I started doing guided meditations that everything changed! Once I pushed through the first couple of minutes and actually gave it a chance my thoughts began to slow and my body began to relax. It took some time but guided meditation is now a habit I engage in once or twice a day. I have found that it helps to keep me centered and has helped me with my anxiety, depression, racing thoughts, insomnia, and all aspects of my recovery.
A huge part of recovery is connecting with other addicts and alcoholics. This is because no one knows what it is like better than someone who has battled the same disease as us, and can show us a new way to live. The women in AA loved me until I could love myself. Women who had more time than me helped to guide me through my early recovery with their own experience, and the women who were in the same place as me in their recovery helped me to have someone who also knows exactly what I was going through at that moment. Finding new hobbies with the women I’ve grown to admire, keeps me grounded and away from old temptations. One of the greatest blessings in my life has been my sponsor who took me through my steps. I am now able to help others and give back what I was so freely given. The fellowship and support I found in the rooms of AA and NA saved my life.
As many of us have when I was in treatment I spent hours on end sitting in groups and going to meetings. Don’t even get me started on the emotional eating that I did either! After two months in treatment, I felt sluggish, tired, depressed, and uncomfortable in my own skin because the weight I had gained. I made every excuse not to go to the gym or engage in any sort of physical activity. This turned in isolation, negative self-talk, and worsening depression. It was highly suggested to me by many others and therapists that just for the mental wellness aspects that being active would be greatly beneficial for me. I will never forget the day when I had enough and begrudgingly tied up my tennis shoes. Walking into the gym that first day was definitely the hardest, and I hated every second I was there. I am not going to lie the first couple of weeks were not much better, but I started to see a huge improvement in my mental state. My depression had eased, I was eating healthier, and had more energy. Going to the gym went from something I dreaded to something I enjoyed and looked forward too.
A major key to living a healthy and happy life in recovery is developing healthy habits that best suit you. Consistency is quintessential and vital to maintaining a new way of living. This will provide a sense of purpose and well-being. Engaging in these activities will then make the negative habits we have engaged in for so many years less appealing, and help you achieve the happy, beautiful life in recovery you deserve!