Recovering from a substance use disorder is a long process that can be mentally and physically exhausting. Once you make it through physical withdrawal, you will likely have to face months of cravings, mental addiction, and emotional ups and downs. Maintaining a positive attitude during recovery can be difficult, but it is often necessary for staying motivated, keeping yourself going, and fighting cravings. While there are numerous ways to maintain a positive attitude, and the things that work for you will likely change depending on your personality and your situation the following tips can help you stay positive during your recovery.
1. Find Your Motivation – It’s difficult to stay positive if you don’t have a reason. If you already know what your motivation to stay clean or sober is, focus on that goal and work towards it. If you don’t, consider working to find motivation, attending a group like SMART Recovery or similar, or simply working out why you want to get clean or sober. For most of us, reasons like health, family, relationships, and financial security are motivating, but they aren’t going to be enough. Find your own personal reasons, like getting your life back, being in control, being able to achieve life goals, or being there for children or a spouse. You don’t have to pick one reason, and the more reasons you have, the more likely you are to remember why you’re fighting to stay clean in the first place. Consider creating a list and writing down every reason you have to stay or get clean or sober, and then add to it as often as you can.
2. Attend Group Meetings – Attending group meetings can seem odd or weird at first, but the ability to meet with like-minded people who will hold you accountable without judgment can be amazing for your attitude and your ability to stay substance free. Attending meetings can help you to stay clean or sober by giving you accountability and by helping you to focus your frustration and problems on an outlet, where you can talk about it. It will also allow you to focus the negativity of addiction recovery into one or two days a week, so that you can go on with your life in the meantime.
3. Take Care of Your Health – Eating right and getting enough exercise can greatly boost your mood and help you to stay clean. For example, studies show that just 30 minutes of light exercise can boost your mood for as long as 2 hours. Light to moderate exercise can help you to feel happier, reduce stress, decrease your sense of vulnerability, help you to feel more coherent, boost your energy, and increase your happiness. You should also remember to eat well, especially if you are suffering from a nutrient deficiency or gastrointestinal problem caused by your addiction.
Nutrient deficiencies can cause lethargy, depression, and anxiety, which will affect your mood and your ability to stay clean. This means eating right, making sure you get enough nutrients, and working to ensure that at least 80% of every plate is good for you. Finally, you should consider your mental health. Chances are that if you were stressed or had problems before were addicted, they didn’t disappear just because you got clean. In fact, most problems get worse. Developing a comprehensive stress management program with exercise, taking time out, and possibly using mindfulness or another stress reduction technique is crucial to your long-term health and happiness. Because stress affects your ability to stay clean as well as your ability to stay happy, it will help you in more ways than one.
4. Create Positive Interactions with Others – Interactions with others greatly affect your mood and your happiness. Where negative and judgmental interactions can cause depression, sadness, and even relapse, positive ones can cause emotional highs and happiness, which can boost your mood and help you to feel better. While it is true that a positive mood can help you to view interactions more positively, you can work to create positive interactions with friends, family, and strangers. For example, you can volunteer once or twice per week to help others, you can discuss your need for a positive and non-judgmental environment with friends and family, you can attend group meetings, and you can try to engage in positive social interactions that don’t involve a substance (such as games, dancing, paintball, shopping, etc.), on a regular basis.
5. Create Goals and Achieve Them – Creating short term goals and working towards them can help to keep you happy, motivated, and rewarded. The goal is to set meaningful goals, work to achieve them, and move past them on to a new one, so that you can achieve them and stay motivated. Breaking large goals down into short, achievable tasks can help you to focus, can improve your motivation, and will help you to stay happy as you achieve new tasks. How can you apply that to addiction recovery? Even breaking staying substance free down into daily goals can help you to stay motivated, because you achieve a new goal each day. You can also add in additional goals like completing a training, keeping a journal, eating right, exercising, applying to jobs, or volunteering, and adding onto your goals as you complete them with new, meaningful tasks that will benefit your life. It’s important not to overwhelm yourself, especially at first, but goal based motivation can be a powerful and positive experience for you. Staying positive during your recovery can help you to move forward, find and keep motivation, and to enjoy your life, even as you’re moving through the hardest parts of recovery. If you are struggling with an addiction, it is important to seek out professional help. A rehabilitation clinic can help you with physical addiction, but can also provide ongoing cognitive behavioral therapy to help you change the way you think so that you can stay clean or sober and be happy. Good luck with your recovery. The Oceanfront Recovery Addiction Treatment Program can help with the process of recovery. Our dedicated staff focus on bringing the underlying causes to the surface with a modern and effective recovery program in a safe environment. Contact us at Oceanfront Recovery today for a confidential assessment.