Have you stopped drinking or using drugs and you're having a hard time staying positive and focused on your recovery? Do you find there are times when your mind wanders back to the days when you were drinking or using drugs no matter how hard you try not to think about it? Are you keeping your feelings and tension to yourself trying not to let anyone know how difficult it is to remain positive and clean?
Trust me you're not alone, stopping substance use may not be easy but it's much easier than maintaining sobriety and staying clean if you don't know how and if you don't have a healthy support system around you.
In a perfect world, we would all have that 'safe place' to go to after we stopped drinking or using drugs where we would be completely away from people, places and situations that remind us of our 'past using days'. Our thoughts would be automatically directed toward happier times when we were in control of our lives and destiny. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world but we can be in control of our future and learn how to direct our thoughts in a positive direction, as long as we have support and we put forth the effort and try.
In the early days and months of recovery it's difficult to stay positive all of the time and it's not always easy to find effective ways to occupy your mind when negative thoughts begin to take over. Idle time can make these challenging thoughts worse and you've come too far and worked too hard to give in. It's so important to have a healthy and positive support system in place when a person is trying to maintain their sobriety and stay clean.
Positive Support System - No matter what problems are taking place in our lives having someone to talk to and that will listen to us makes a huge difference, especially when they have our best interests at heart. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a family member or best friend in their life that doesn't drink or use drugs that they can turn to when their recovering from substance abuse or addiction. Anyone that does needs to embrace that support so they have someone to confide in and help them through the hard emotional and challenging times during their recovery.
12 Step Support - Other places to receive positive support are 12 Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous , Narcotics Anonymous and Pills Anonymous depending on what form of recovery support a person's needs. There are even support groups for heroin, cocaine, crystal meth and marijuana. You would be surprised how many people are experiencing the same difficulties and challenges in their recovery that you are even though you may feel alone and that no one understands. Thousands of people have been where you are right now in your recovery and because of the support, guidance and strength they received from a 12 step program they have successfully managed their recovery for many years. Even people who are fortunate enough to have a family member or friend to confide in find strength, hope and confidence attending 12 step support groups.
Get Moving - Release pent up anxiety, stress and frustration by running, jogging, walking, shooting hoops or just jogging in place. Find any 'positive' way you can to burn off energy and stress, you'll feel better emotionally, physically and sleep better too. You will be surprised how fast a craving or an unhealthy thought disappears when you start moving and work off nervous energy.
Put Forth Effort - Besides positive support, we have to put forth the effort every day to avoid temptations as much as possible during recovery which includes people and environments that remind us of the past. Keep recovery books on hand for times when you're emotionally struggling and your strength is being challenged. There are times you will have to stop….breathe….and call on your support system in order to get through a challenging moment, day or evening.
Additional Guidance & Support - Sometimes seeking the help of a physician, addiction counselor or therapist is necessary for people recovering from substance abuse or addiction. If you find that what you're doing isn't working you may need to talk with a professional that understands addiction. Sometimes just a few sessions with an addiction counselor or therapists can make all the difference in the world. They can help you develop positive ways of coping with stress, anxiety and depression and work through other problems going on in your life too.
I know that recovering from substance abuse and dependency is easier said than done sometimes depending on the extent of a person's addiction, but I also know recovery can be achieved and maintained. Don't ever give up on yourself, find that positive support system and take it slow. Set small attainable goals for yourself in the beginning so that your recovery isn't so overwhelming and remember when times get tuff, you have to stop….and breathe!