Addiction is a life of chaos. We wake up anytime anywhere, or maybe we don’t wake up at all because we were never asleep in the first place.
Life is a mess, and it’s not surprising that an active addict’s head is a mess too.
In recovery we go full circle and embrace stability.
Routine may sound dull but it works wonders for recovery.
Recovery routines are the things you do everyday, the keystones that anchor your recovery at the start and the end of the day.
First thing in the morning they set the tone for the rest of the day. At night they help bring a healthy close to the day, to draw out important lessons and to let go.
Here are a few tools we teach the clients here at Hope House that you could use to build a routine and strengthen your recovery.
An inventory is basically a review of the day. It is a great way to build self-awareness. It helps us keep ourselves in check and catch any negative patterns of thought or behaviour before they get out of hand and cause us real problems like picking up or acting out. We can use it to learn lessons from the day gone by, so that even a rough day can be of tremendous value. It is an amazing tool for personal growth and helps you to move forwards in your recovery every day.
Gratitude releases dopamine in the brain and helps you feel good. It’s an amazing way to shift your perspective when you’re feeling down and remind you of all the good things in your life.
When you get to the end of a bad day and do a gratitude list, you normally realise it was actually OK. When you do one at the end of a good day you realise it was amazing.
So in the morning and/or evening write a list of all the things you’re grateful for.
Its one of the best cures for resentment and self-pity.
Exercise is an amazing way to start the day. It gets the endorphins pumping to help you feel awake, alert and calm for the rest of the day. Pushing yourself to do something you don’t feel like doing is a great way to boost your self-respect and to start the day with a sense of accomplishment. As you begin to feel the benefits, both physical and mental, you are motivated to do more, and you feel even better, the kind of positive feedback loop that can rapidly push your recovery forward.
Reflect on a reading
Reflecting on a reading is another excellent habit to build into your routine. It helps to get you thinking about what recovery means to you today and how you’re going to apply it in your life.
Here at Hope House we read NA’s Just For Today reading every morning and share what it means for us and how we relate to it.
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”… they don’t say that for nothing.
Getting the right nutrients in the morning sets you up for the day. It helps to steady your blood sugar levels which stabilises your mood, reduces anxiety and leads to better concentration.
Meditation helps to clear your head at the start or the end of the day. Consistently meditating over time helps you to feel calmer and more focused throughout the day. You become more able to let go of the wild thought patterns that can sap your energy, bring you down, and even lead you back to relapse. It also helps with depression and anxiety.
Saying a few powerful positive affirmations in the mirror each morning can help build your self-worth. Learning to love ourselves is a huge challenge in early recovery. We often tear ourselves down with negative self-talk, viciously criticising ourselves at every opportunity. By repeating affirmations day after day we chip away at this negative self-talk and replace it with a more positive self-image.
Here’s what our recovery routine looks like at Hope House. Give it a try!