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Make 2018 the Year You Start Thriving in Recovery

posted Mar 6, 2018, 2:47 PM by Lauren Hughes   [ updated Mar 6, 2018, 2:51 PM ]

Written by Adam Cook

www.addictionhub.org


The start of a new year is the perfect time to take stock of where you’ve been and focus on the life you really want. If you’re in recovery for addiction, you have already been through the hard process of starting over without using substances. Now is the time to take that process a step further so that in 2018, instead of just surviving addiction and recovery, you move forward in life truly thriving.


Eliminate Triggers From Your Home

The first step in moving in this direction after you get out of rehab is to make sure your home is a haven that supports your new life, rather than somewhere you’re constantly bombarded with triggers. Rehabilitation experts suggest, “First, ask a friend, relative, or professional to assist you in removing everything that you associate with your previous lifestyle. This includes any remaining drugs or alcohol, as well as any paraphernalia. Then, give the space a good cleaning. Scent can be a powerful trigger, so wash all linens, window coverings, and clothes in a new laundry detergent with a different scent than you’re used to.”


Being confronted with triggers affects your brain and may make you feel fear, anger, and despair. These feelings may also lead you to think you aren’t successful in recovery and erode your belief in yourself. To avoid going down this road, once you’ve had someone help you clean your home and start fresh, stay aware of your feelings and try to identify anything else around you that seems to cause emotional upheaval. Being open to identifying triggers and figuring out what’s going on behind them is a powerful tool for moving towards a life where you’re not only successful but also thriving in recovery.


Create a Meaningful Life

Some people who are in recovery feel at first like they are simply getting by. That is understandable, as the challenges of day-to-day life are a real change from the immediate reward of getting high or drinking. In an NPR profile of three men’s lives after recovery, one of the men interviewed describes how it can feel like you’re starting from scratch, simply aiming for a life of contentment. To break that mold, it’s important to discover what you can do that gives life meaning.


For some people, holding down a steady job gives life meaning because you feel good making that contribution. Other people may feel like a job is just a job, but getting in shape or discovering a new passion makes life fulfilling. Many people who are in recovery find that boredom is a strong trigger, which is especially true among retirees. If you have just been getting by up to this point, finding a way to break boredom by jumping into a job or hobby can instantly fill that void.


Find Support for Long-Term Success

Your environment and past habits aren’t the only triggers to avoid when rebuilding your life. Social situations and friends from the time when you were using can also be triggers, and removing them from your life may leave you without the social support you need. Studies have shown that being in a good environment and having positive social interactions may actually be necessary for the changes to your brain that are needed to stay successful in recovery.


To find the right friends, take this fresh start as an opportunity to discover who you really are. Few people really take stock of their relationships and take an honest look at what kind of person they want to be, but you actually have the chance to do that. This opportunity can eventually lead to much more meaningful relationships that really add value to your life.


You’ve already taken the first step to recovery by quitting drugs or alcohol. Whatever has been holding you back from really enjoying life, now is the time to get your life back on track and make 2018 the year you start thriving. This process doesn’t happen overnight, but each step in the right direction is one step closer to fully living.


Photo credit: Pexels


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