In any recovery endeavour, be it medical, psychological, physical, electrical or mechanical, there is always a specific set of tools that will be required to execute the job.
This principle also applies in Recovery from Substance Use Disorder. Let us consider five essential tools that are essential for this process.
1. Books/Educational Materials
To fully recover from or be in recovery for any chronic disease requires following certain dos and don’ts. There is a lot of literature on various pathways to recovery from Substance Use Disorder. You can learn about triggers, coping skills, relapse prevention, finding a recovery community or treatment centre. You can also read about very compelling stories about people in recovery to help encourage you to start, continue and sustain your recovery.
If you are reading this material then you are already on the right path, stay on it. Well done! Apart from this blog, I personally recommend ‘The Recovery Book’, it has a lot of useful information.
2. Relapse Prevention Plan
Everyone in recovery needs to have a relapse prevention plan. It is very important to anticipate your triggers and plan ahead with strategies and coping techniques to deal with the cravings which may arise from getting triggered.
If you do not know your triggers or have a relapse prevention plan, you may just be traveling the road of recovery blind. Sit with a trained professional and get yourself a relapse prevention plan now. The sooner you do it, the better it will be.
3. Eating Plan
Many people in early recovery are tempted to eat whenever they start having cravings. Some people end up getting addicted to sweets and fizzy drinks. It is therefore very essential to have a good eating plan which will ensure you have a good three balanced meals a day to help your body and brain get the best nutrients to aid in the recovery process.
Avoid eating late at night, from experience and research, I will recommend not eating after 6pm and also avoid snacking. This will help you avoid accumulating excessive body fat and thus maintain a healthy body and brain. Check out Dr. Eric Berg on YouTube, he is an expert on healthy eating and also has a wide range of topics to help maintain a healthy body and mind.
4. Exercise Plan
Some of the devastation that drugs do to the body include premature aging. Exercise helps to strengthen the muscles, get rid of old cells and improve the general outlook of the physical body. I have learned from research that it is important to engage in 30 minutes of intense exercise (any activity that gets the heart pumping like jogging, brisk walking, or working out on the treadmill), for at least five times a week.
If that is too much, I have also learned about the 2 minute rule which says that, if you cannot work out 30 minutes a day, do at least 2 minutes of physical activity every morning. It could include stretches, squats, planks, press ups, yoga, anything to get the body moving. It will also help to keep the body in shape and from aging prematurely.
5. Sleep Plan
Sleep for at least 8 hours a day; lack of proper sleep leads to stress, which could be a trigger for relapse. That’s exactly what we want to avoid. Also try to sleep and wake at about the same time every day, this helps the body maintain a good balance, which enhances a better sense of wellbeing.
Remember, anything can be achieved with discipline. There is bound to be times when you will not feel like doing any of it but remember, that is just human nature. To become a better version of yourself, you need to keep working hard despite inconveniences or discomfort.
Try these out and let me know how it goes. Enjoy the new you!