Recovery from drugs, alcohol, or mental health issues takes consistency. You need to care for yourself on a daily basis. You need to find what works for you and shed the things that are no longer useful. You may find your “recovery formula” quickly. Each day, you follow the same routine to maintain your sobriety or prevent yourself from experiencing a setback. However, as time goes on, you may find yourself merely “going through the motions.” Maybe you are writing daily in a journal or exercising five days a week. The excitement of healing and recovery starts to dissipate. You begin to skip a day or two of your routines. Soon, you find yourself having cravings. You are no longer writing in your journal and no longer eating healthy meals. Relapse may be right around the corner when you are inconsistent.
The Honeymoon Period of Recovery
When you are new to recovery and treatment, you might have momentum and some fresh motivations behind your newly found behaviors. You have the consequences of your actions on your mind. You have clear expectations about what you no longer want to be like and continue to feel the impact of these negative experiences in your mind. As you progress in recovery, your emotional memory of the bad times starts to go away. Everyone heals over the course of time, as the saying goes: “time heals all wounds.” You likely felt the impact of your behaviors and habits in a painful way. As you spend time doing the right things, you feel less and less of this impact. Soon, you may stop feeling vulnerable about your addictions or your mental health issues. You feel like you are no longer as excited or motivated to change. You may feel like you are “cured” and can start to “slack off” a bit.
Anything new will have a honeymoon period, including recovery! To remain consistent with your health and healing, you have to find ways to keep things fresh. Recovery is a lifelong journey. There is no “cure,” as much as we would like to believe that there is. One harsh truth about recovery is that the work never ends. The journey never reaches an end, and you need to make healthy choices every day. No one is perfect, and you will make mistakes along the way. When you get complacent in your recovery—when you are completing your new habits in a “zombie”-like state or disconnected state of mind, going through the motions—you need to be aware of this disconnect from your recovery. Active and conscious engagement is vital to long-term success.
How to Keep Things Fresh
Keeping things “fresh” in your recovery treatment can be simple. To remain consistent, you have to find new ways of doing old things. While this may seem contradictory—being inconsistent with consistent practices—this is about growth and change in a positive direction. As long as you are moving forward or trying new activities meant to inspire and change you for the better, you are remaining consistent. Keeping things fresh can be a great way of maintaining your dedication and interest in your health and recovery. Do some things like this to change things up or continue moving forward:
Set new goals
- You might be running daily or exercising a few times a week.
- You might be in the routine, yet finding that your heart is no longer in it or that you lack passion.
- You can create a new goal, like running a distance race in your community or improving your 1-rep max in weight lifting.
- You can set new goals each month or whatever amount of time works for you.
Find new ways to engage in your habits.
- You might be getting bored with going to the gym or running each day.
- Try joining a new fitness class or find a different fitness activity, like hiking or a sport.
- If you journal each day and feel like you are no longer interested, try a new journaling technique, like having a gratitude journal or choosing a recovery “theme” to write about each week.
- You might want to try new locations or times to engage in your healthy habits, like taking a daily walk on a different route or writing in the morning instead of at night.
Find friends to join in with your new habits.
- You can have friends support you by inviting them to your new activities.
- You can have friends over for dinner and cook healthy meals with each other.
- Find a fitness or running partner to hold you accountable with exercise.
- Join a group with your shared interests, like walking groups or creative writing groups.
One of the difficult aspects of recovery is being consistent. When we get complacent in our recovery and no longer feel committed to the process, we may start to slide backward. One day, we find ourselves back in our old habits and behaviors, and we gradually regress without knowing it until we have fully relapsed. Maintaining consistency can be challenging. We need to find ways to keep things fresh and notice times when we feel less engaged in our recovery. We may feel like we are just “going through the motions” of our treatment. When this starts to happen, we may need to challenge ourselves or change things up a bit. We might want to look at new ways of exercising or find new meals to eat. Maybe we need to recruit others to share in our newfound healthy habits. If you are currently struggling in your recovery, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for you. Call us at (303) 443-3343.