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5 Ways to Create Sober Routines in Recovery

5 Ways to Create Sober Routines in Recovery

Sober routines can be tough to develop, but these keys can help keep you from a life of addiction to drugs like opium

Some believe recovery is just the process of stopping the use of drugs like opium or alcohol, but this is an overly simplistic understanding of the process. Drug addiction is a holistic problem, meaning it impacts every aspect of a person, and so is recovery. Recovery is tearing down the foundation of your life and building a new life without drugs. One key component of this process is the establishment of new, sober routines. Actually, this is one of the most difficult things to accomplish because an entire life has been based upon drug use. But considering these strategies can provide the strength and support to begin to change, one day and one habit at a time.

  • Start by understanding the neurological specifics behind routines – It has been scientifically proven by various neuroscientists that there is a habit loop in which the brain moves from a conscious choice and focused effort over time to a nearly automatic response. Habits literally move out of the conscious decision making part of the brain and into the automatic response part of the brain. Though not at the same level as breathing or blinking, over time any habit becomes second nature. But it takes time. To expect sober habits to form after a day or a week is unrealistic, and this has nothing to do with the strength of your will. It is neuroscience. If you will allow your brain time to recognize these new choices as habits, eventually it will become second nature to you to have a sober routine in the same way it was normal for you to pursue drugs and alcohol in the past.
  • Recruit friends to join you in your new habits – There is great power in community, and if this power can be harnessed for good, then it can carry you into better routines. For example, if you decide to develop the sober routine of running for 35 minutes every morning, ask your neighbor to join you. This will change the seriousness with which you approach the goal because you understand that you will be letting another person down. Beyond that, you will be able to enjoy your neighbor’s company and celebrate milestones or successes together.
  • Invite people to ask about your progress – Beyond having a partner in a new routine, you can also invite others to ask you about how the new habit is going. If you feel brave, you can even open it up to a broader audience by posting on social media about your goals. This will increase the pressure on you to reach your sober routine goals. One word of warning is to know yourself and your response to stress before taking this broadcast too far. Certain personalities are more likely to implode when faced with the pressure of a public failure. If this might be you, stick with a few close friends.
  • Visualize your future with this new set of routines – There is profound power is visualizing your own success, and greater power is available as you picture your future with more detail. Many of the greatest athletes mastered this ability among them Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan. When Jim Carrey was a struggling actor, he imagined exactly how he would respond to his fans when he was one of the most popular comedic actors of his generation. You will find the same motivation and strength if you visualize your own future, in as much detail as possible.
  • Just don’t quit – This is less a secret or a strategy and more a mindset. In the same way visualizing your success can lend you power, so can the assumption of accomplishing the task. Instead of wondering if you will be able to set new sober routines, train yourself to begin your thoughts like this, “Once I have established these new routines, then I will…” The intentionality of assuming success trains your brain to expect it and to take whatever steps are necessary to get there.

A Change in Mindset Is Necessary

New routines are difficult for everyone. Yes, your specific challenges as a person in recovery make it believable odds are many. You can join them, but you have to make a choice. You can to choose to be healthy and to pursue wholeness. Research has shown that addiction is unhealthy in any number of ways ranging from increased blood pressure to long-term changes in the brain’s neurochemistry. Developing a healthier lifestyle must become your top priority.

The cost of addiction to drugs like opium is too high. If this is where you are right now, the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about addiction. They can help you find your way. Please call now.