Once we have developed a substance abuse disorder, we have also developed an addictive personality capable of taking even healthy behaviors to an unhealthy extreme. For those in early recovery, we must be especially mindful of our routine in order to avoid putting too much time and energy into one particularly activity or pastime at the expense of others. Doing so would inhibit your efforts at recovery as your addictive behaviors have simply found a new obsession, preventing their removal from your daily life. How can you avoid this pitfall and protect your recovery from your addictive tendencies?
The best way to avoid developing an addiction to a particular behavior in sobriety is through the establishment and maintenance of regular daily and weekly routines. You should include a variety of activities in these schedules, but more important is your adherence to your developed agenda. All the knowledge in the world is useless if we do not act according to what we learn from it, and similarly a schedule is only as good as our follow-through in abiding by it. Rationalizing any deviation from your routine to yourself is your addiction rearing its ugly head, so in early sobriety it would be beneficial to share your schedule with a sponsor or sober support, giving yourself an added layer of accountability in your behaviors.
Once you’ve created and are sticking to a routine, you should explore new activities to incorporate into your schedule. You do not want to rest on your laurels and allow your weekly activities to begin to feel stale and boring, and the easiest way to avoid this fate is by fostering variety in our lives. When a particular habit begins to bore you, replace it with a new one! Do not fall into the trap of eliminating activities from your routine and allocating their time slot to another which already exists in your schedule, as this is a slippery slope which can lead one right back to addiciton. Even activities which seem healthy and beneficial in larger doses, such as exercise, should not be given excessive time and attention lest we sacrifice other activities important to our continued recovery.
Once we have developed a predisposition for addiction it stays with us for the rest of our lives. In order to protect our recovery and ensure our continued sobriety, we must guard against replacing our addiction to drugs or alcohol with one to an activity or behavior in early recovery. This would prevent our successfully recovering from our substance abuse disorder, as we continue to rely on unhealthy coping skills to numb the painful emotions which spring from unresolved events in our past. At Evolutions Treatment Center, part of our treatment plan for each client includes developing a better self-awareness so that you will be able to identify and eliminate any addictive behaviors in early recovery. If you find yourself struggling in early sobriety and would like some additional support, call our Admissions Counselors today at 833-818-3031 and inquire about our Intensive Outpatient Program so that you can further develop your self-awareness and healthy coping skills during this critical period of your recovery!