Cleansing Your Life When New To Recovery From Addiction
May 31st, 2016
Cleansing Your Life When New To Recovery From Addiction
Addiction has hit your life hard and you’re ready to start over again by attending a rehab center. We’re proud of you for making the right decision! It’s not one that is easy to make because it often requires large and difficult life changes. However, moving successfully through recovery could end up being the most important time you’ll ever have in your life.
True recovery from addiction requires a commitment to cleansing your life of the negative impact of addiction and starting over. There are many different life aspects that you must cleanse and doing so will help put you on the path to true recovery. Essentially, it will eliminate all distractions and help you tap into the great personal strength hidden in the core of your being.
Cutting Yourself Off From Relapse Triggers
The first step in cleansing yourself of addiction is to cut off potential relapse triggers. These are the situations, people, and locations encouraging you to seek out a substance and use. How do you identify these triggers? Consider the “where and who” of your use. Is there a particular town or a place where you like to use and do you have particular friends or family members with whom you use?
Identifying these triggers and eliminating them from your life is absolutely necessary. Without relapse triggers, you’ll find it much easier to stick with your recovery and regain a life of sobriety. It won’t be easy to identify these problems, but it’ll be an essential aspect of your recovery process, one that will help wipe clean the slate of your life.
Psychology Today goes in depth on the most difficult of these relapse triggers to cleanse from your life: friends and family members who use. They quote a common AA saying that states: “If you visit the barber shop often enough, you’re bound to get a haircut.” Basically, if you keep visiting the same people and the same locations with whom and where you used in the past, it’s going to be hard to resist falling into old patterns.
We’re here to tell you that it is possible to eliminate these people and locations from your life in a healthy manner. Call up or email your friends and tell them that you care about them, but that you can’t see them anymore, due to your dedication to recovery. Nobody wants to complete this step in their life, but it is one that you must take if you want to start over again.
Make sure those you’re committing to removing from your life understand it is nothing personal and that you would be more than happy to see them if they quit using as well. In this way, you may even serve as a positive role model that can help your friends dedicate themselves to sobriety. While you can’t force recovery or sobriety on them, you’d be surprised at how open they’ll be if you’re honest and caring with them.
Making Your Daily Schedule About Recovery
Our lives are a mess of conflicting thoughts, actions, and responsibilities. This confusion understandably causes us a wide range of emotional difficulties. Perhaps this is why you originally turned to drug or alcohol use in the first place. Self-medicating anxiety in this way is a lot more common than you’d think.
Continuing to live your life in this chaotic manner will only contribute to a potential relapse or further drug use. That’s why you need to simplify your daily schedule and focus as much on your recovery as possible. Do you have a book you’ve been working on reading, but can’t seem to finish? Let it sit for a little while longer. Frustrating distractions like that will only make it harder for you to recover.
Instead, you need to focus on only essential tasks, such as feeding yourself, going to work, cleaning your home, and taking care of children. Attend rehab, practice your behavioral adjustment techniques, and relax as much as possible. The distractions of a too-busy life will force your mind into a negative spiral that may drive you back into substance abuse.
Getting all your ducks in a row in this way also helps cleanse your life of meaningless distractions and gives you the focus and dedication that is necessary for lifelong recovery. Once you’ve passed through your recovery process and no longer feel daily cravings, you can try implementing new projects back into your life again, but make sure to avoid over-straining yourself.
Cleaning Your Body Through Proper Nutrition
Addiction often robs your body of vital vitamins and minerals and causes a variety of problematic health issues. These health issues can contribute to mental health problems, which can then cause you to use more frequently. This negative cycle is one that must be broken if you want to cleanse your life.
MedlinePlus broke down the ways in which different substances impacted your physical health, especially withdrawal. For example, opiates cause constipation, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Alcohol abuse causes major deficiencies in a variety of nutrients, including vitamin B6 and folic acid, as well as high blood pressure, cirrhosis, seizures, and diabetes. Other substances, such as stimulants (insomnia, dehydration, and memory loss) and marijuana (weight gain and memory loss), are also problematic.
Thankfully, it is possible to combat the negative health effects of these substances by altering your eating patterns and the types of food you eat. Nutritional guidelines for recovery from addiction include:
- Avoiding heavily fatty foods
- Eating protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber
- Taking vitamin supplements to eliminate your deficiencies
- Staying away from sweets
- Quitting smoking and reducing caffeine as much as possible
- Performing daily exercise routines
These guidelines were laid down in the study “Substance Use Recovery And Diet; Nutrition And Substance Use,” written by several medical doctors and addiction specialists. They discuss the importance of avoiding habit-forming foods (such as caffeine and rich-sugar foods) and sticking with foods that are as vitamin rich as possible.
A proper diet and regular exercise will not only restore your physical health, but help promote the metabolic movement of the substances out of your system. This can help increase the speed and effectiveness of your withdrawal and even decrease the severity of your symptoms. Eating well will also generate the kind of smiles we love to see on our visitors’ faces.
Psychologically Recovering From Post-Withdrawal Syndrome
Withdrawal is an emotionally and physically traumatizing experience for many people. Sadly, we’ve seen many people fall into what is known as “post-withdrawal syndrome.” This condition is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder and causes multiple physical and mental health problems. Working with people who have it is heartbreaking, but we understand this problem and how to help you work through it in a constructive manner.
Addiction expert Terence T. Gorski wrote about this condition in his groundbreaking book Staying Sober: A Guide To Relapse Prevention. In it, he stated that “…it is the sobriety-based symptoms, especially post acute withdrawal, that make sobriety so difficult. The presence of brain dysfunction has been documented in 75-95% of the recovering alcoholics/addicts tested.”
What are the symptoms of this problem? Gorski broke them down into six subgroups:
- Inability to think clearly
- Memory problems
- Emotional overreactions or numbness
- Sleep disturbances
- Physical coordination problems
- Stress sensitivity
The stress of these symptoms is often enough to turn somebody back to substance abuse. However, recovery is possible with a concentrated effort. For example, exercise and nutrition can help promote clearer thinking and rid you of the memory fog that can hang on after withdrawal. Vitamin B supplements can also increase your mental acuity and improve your memory.
Psychological counseling and medication can help with emotional problems, sleep disturbances, and stress sensitivity. Physical coordination can be restored through exercise or even physical therapy. The important thing to remember about these problems is that they are usually just temporary. Working through them can help restore you to pre-addiction health and continue your personal cleansing process.
Increasing Your Spiritual Connection
The last, but most definitely not least, step in cleansing your life during recovery is reconnecting with your spirituality. We are big on this part of the process and feel it is often poorly discussed or misunderstood by addiction experts or those trying to heal from addiction. However, its importance is becoming rapidly apparent and we couldn’t be happier.
For example, in the essay “The Spirituality of Addiction & Recovery,” several addiction specialists discuss the “Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual” model of addiction. This model diagnoses how addiction forms biologically, psychologically, socially, and spiritually. As we’ve already discussed the first three points above, we’ll focus here on the spiritual aspect.
Spirituality is, we believe inarguably, the most important aspect of addiction recovery. This component of addiction is often caused by a disconnect from your personal higher power. Spiritual isolation is devastating and it makes many people feel a sense of numbness that compels them to use drugs. The alternative state of mind created by many drugs often feels “higher” than normal consciousness, a false perception that only causes further harm.
Once you’ve taken care of all the other aspects of the cleansing process, you can turn to assessing your personal belief system and how it can help you recover. Has your faith changed or does it need to be reaffirmed? Have you talked to a religious authority figure lately and do you think it will help? Does meditation or prayer help clear your mind and connect you with your higher power?
Whatever steps that you need, make sure you’re ready to take them. Strengthening your spiritual beliefs will only help boost your recovery success by giving you a fuller sense of purpose and a higher recovery goal. It will also boost other aspects of your cleansing process to give you the recovery success that you deserve.
Cleansing Your Life Is A Process, Not An Ending
Recovery is a lifelong process, one that requires constant diligence and dedication. Successfully cleansing your life is no different. The thing is that all that hard work will eventually pay off. After a while, cleansing activities will become second nature and you won’t have to force them any more. At that point, you’ve truly cleansed your life and obtained the potential for permanent sobriety.
You don’t have to do it alone, either. At SpringToLife.net, we can help you obtain the healthy frame of mind and focus that you need to move through the healing process of recovery. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to learn more. We’re always excited to help people through the glorious and rewarding path of addiction recovery.