5 Healthy Habits to Replace Your Unhealthy Addiction
A major component of substance abuse recovery is breaking the toxic bonds one has to illicit substances and reforming positive, healthier connections in your mind. Addiction overwhelms people by slowly insinuating itself as the top priority in one’s life, forsaking food, shelter, and all other necessities. As it festers, addiction will destroy personal and business relationships, robbing one of vital human connections in favor of obsession with illicit substances.
One way to help keep the threat of relapse at bay on the path of sobriety is to replace the urges and impulses to use drugs or drink with healthier habits. Below is our list of 5 healthy habits to replace your unhealthy addiction.
Creative pursuits are perfect for keeping your mind occupied and not focused on substance abuse! Rather you are naturally creative or never tried your hand in the arts, the methodical process of most crafting practices is relaxing and cathartic.
Many have vouched that the repetitiveness of knitting is really effecting in lulling one into an almost meditative state, which is beneficial for relieving stress and distraction from troubling thoughts and urges.
Other effective crafting ventures are:
- playing music
- writing poetry or short stories
Health and Fitness
While ‘obsession’ with fitness can lead to dangerous body dysmorphic disorders and eating disorders, so long as there are no negative side effects, there is nothing wrong with turning your focus to your health and fitness. Exercise is known as a natural cause of endorphin release. Just like with crafting, exercises which include repetitive actions are the most effective.
Running, swimming, and yoga are popular practices among people in recovery. Not only does exercise strengthen the body to help reverse some of the damage done by prolonged exposure to drugs and alcohol, getting into shape can be a confidence booster as well!
Addiction recovery is all about taking back control of your life. By beginning with the physical, it may become easier to address the mental and emotional issues linked to your substance abuse disorder.
For the more intellectual people in recovery, the pursuit of knowledge is a passion which can help break the bonds of addiction. Building one’s understanding of others and the world as we know it can broaden one’s horizons and lead to amazing opportunities. Furthering your education doesn’t have to cost money; it doesn’t even have to mean going back to school. The internet is a fount of freely available information, offering webinars, videos, and forums on just about any topic one desires to learn about.
Being open to new information is transformative: acquiring new experiences and new information helps to form our thought processes and overall outlook on life.
On the opposite end of that spectrum is the opportunity to become an educator. As someone in recovery for a substance abuse disorder, your voice is desperately needed in the fight to end the stigmas associated with the disease. By being vocal and teaching others what your experiences have taught you, you are helping to increase the availability of life-saving treatment to others in your former position. Yours may even be the story to encourage someone to change their lives today.
Gardening isn’t just for retirees and farmers. Tending to flowers and plants, or even growing one’s own fruits and vegetables is soothing and ambitious. The pride and pleasure obtained from successfully tending a flower bed to full bloom or reaping your first harvest of tomatoes or herbs is gratifying and an excellent means of boosting self-confidence and self-esteem.
Don’t have a backyard? Getting a few potted plants for your living space is relatively cheap and easy. Target, Home Depot, and gardening specialty stores sell all the tools you’ll need to start your own little indoor garden. (Just make sure the things you’re growing are legal and won’t derail your sober journey.)
Some communities even have a public garden, tended by neighbors and volunteers. They feature natural, organic fruits and vegetables which are either donated to local homeless shelters or other nonprofit organizations. This way, not only are you finding a positive use for your excess energies, you are giving back to the community.
What better way to keep yourself on the right path and pay it forward than to volunteer in your community? Nonprofit and charity organizations are always looking for extra hands to help during events or on a regular basis. Homeless shelters, animal shelters, and organizations which aid underprivileged children and families are happy to accept people looking to give back, especially during this holiday season!
The unfortunate truth is that addiction can lead us into some pretty dark places: homelessness, domestic abuse, suicide attempts, and more. Once you are securely on your path of sobriety and reestablished as the person you want to be, giving your time and energy to people in your former position is cathartic. Think about the kind people who helped you at your lowest; or, if there was no one, think about how much it would have meant to have someone reach out to you. There is nothing stopping you from being that angel in the eyes of another.
When trying to form new habits in your sober life, please be mindful not to engage in anything which might trigger distress or relapse. Above any and everything else is your commitment to living with a sober mind and free of addiction.
What other healthy habits can you suggest for recovery? Give us your opinion below!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.