Psychotherapist working with drug addicted young man indoorsRecovery is a continuous process as you pursue a lifelong commitment to sobriety and good health. However, everyone has times where they slip or struggle and when it’s a bit harder to resist temptations or take care of yourself properly. It’s often the case that someone relapses only after weeks or months of gradually declining self care, worsening mental health, and other problems that drive them back to drug abuse as an escape. It can be hard to stay strong during recovery, particularly because many people don’t understand that strength and gentleness have a way of going hand in hand.

Be Gentle with Yourself

Our culture has something of an obsession with so-called tough love and brutal honesty, but these practices tend to emphasize toughness and brutality over love and honesty. The truth is, beating yourself up because you feel like you’re slipping and struggling can only lead to further spiralling. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you deserve to recover and that it’s only human to make mistakes. Don’t be shy about reaching out to loved ones or mental health professionals when you feel you need a little extra support.

Prioritize Your Health

Eating well, getting enough sleep every night, and giving your personal hygiene and grooming the care they deserve can do a lot to make you feel better day to day. When you’re taking care of yourself feeling comfortable in your skin, it’s much easier to resist the urge to relapse. Likewise, it’s also important to take care of your mental health and avoid letting yourself get burnt out or enduring too much stress. Take time to yourself when you need it.

Build Daily Routines and Give Yourself Structure

Having strong daily routines and a sense of structure often goes hand in hand with taking care of yourself and feeling good. It doesn’t necessarily matter exactly what they are, as long as they’re healthy and make you feel good. Physical exercise of any sort is a good choice, and correlates with lower rates of addiction as well. If you’re not one for the gym, though, consider starting the morning with some stretching and a brisk walk around the neighborhood.

Have an Exit Plan for Risky Scenarios

When you’re recovering from addiction, a risky scenario can be anything from a party where there are drugs or a friendly get-together where everyone else is drinking. Have a pre-planned response to these scenarios, such as leaving at a certain time for a certain reason. If you feel like being in proximity to drugs and alcohol is having a bad effect on you, you should be totally prepared to leave before you enter into these situations. Having a friend who you can trust to encourage your sobriety and support you in leaving is invaluable, as well.

Distance Yourself From Enablers and Bad Influences

When someone first spirals into addiction, they gravitate toward people that enable and share in their drug abuse problems. Once you start to recover, though, these people are likely to try to drag you down due to their own insecurity. While you don’t necessarily need to cut someone off just because they’re behind you, you do need to leave them behind if they intend to undermine your recovery.

Remember Why You Made the Commitment to Recovery

The ideal is to stay clean for yourself, and to truly understand that you deserve to live a happy, healthy, drug-free life. However, it can be hard to love ourselves at times and struggling to love yourself doesn’t mean that you should still receive support and attempt to do your best. If that’s still beyond you and you decided to recover because your daughter deserves a sober parent or even because your cat needs you alive to take care of it, that’s an admirable stepping stone on the way to recovery. Whatever it is that drives you to be better, keep it in your heart and remember it when it’s hard to feel strong.

Treat Recovery as an Ongoing Journey

Addiction is best understood as a chronic condition, and while you can achieve long-term recovery, this milestone is different for everyone. Recovery isn’t just about abstaining from addiction, but about building a healthy, self-affirming way of life for yourself. If you need a partner for your recovery journey, look into America’s Rehab Campuses and our comprehensive support levels which range from detox to outpatient counseling.