Substance abuse or addiction is the harmful and problematic use of substances—primarily drugs and alcohol—in a repeated pattern. It’s destructive and catastrophic to both users as well as their families and friends, often leading to lifelong problems such as:
- Wounded relationships between family and friends;
- Failure to attend school or work; and
- Long-term and short-term physical and mental illnesses.
Fortunately, substance abuse can be treated in many ways. In most cases, finding treatment for an addiction requires the need for psychiatrists and clinical psychologists. They often team up together to establish a comprehensive treatment plan fit for their patient’s needs and situations.
If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse, seek medical attention right away before it gets much worse. This doesn’t mean to scare you, but addiction can lead to life-threatening and uncontrollable consequences, particularly suicide.
Nevertheless, keep in mind that addiction treatment is only a part of the solution. The path to complete sobriety depends on how a patient commits to a lifelong recovery process.
Living a healthier lifestyle is crucial to recovery. It helps improve overall health and stabilize physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you don’t know how, here are some healthy habits to start now for a healthy, full, and rich life:
- Build A Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is one of the secret ingredients in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And it’s even more crucial when you’re up against substance abuse.
Substance abuse can cause a great deal of damage to both physical and mental health. During the recovery process, your body and mind will be able to heal from all the consequences addiction has caused.
However, it requires an adequate supply of nutrients for the healing process to be successful. And these nutrients are only found in food—particularly whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
Whole foods contain a wide range of nutrients you need to completely recover from addiction. These are macronutrients (e.g., carbohydrates and protein) and micronutrients (e.g., vitamins and minerals). These nutrients aren’t present in many multi-processed foods like hotdogs, junk foods, and others.
If you have no idea where to start, don’t worry; your team of specialists will help you. Usually, a healthy diet plan includes:
- Regular Meal Schedule: A regular meal schedule is important to keep your digestive system healthy and your blood sugar at the optimum range. For example, have breakfast at 7:00 AM, lunch at 12:00 NN, and dinner at 6:00 PM.
- Three Small Meals: Aiming for three small meals a day helps your body digest food properly to extract all the essential nutrients you need. Also, it prevents fat buildup that can decelerate your recovery.
- Low-Fat Foods: Fat isn’t entirely a bad thing as long as it’s taken in moderation. So, to maximize its benefits without delaying your recovery process, be sure to consume foods low in fat or rich in healthy fats (e.g., avocado, olive oil, salmon, and others).
- Complex Carbs: Complex carbohydrates slowly release glucose in the bloodstream, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, unlike simple sugars like rice. Complex carbs include oatmeal, potatoes, whole-wheat bread, quinoa, barley, and the like.
- Plant-Based Food Options: Plant-based food is crucial to a nutritious diet. It contains great amounts of nutrients your body needs to fully recover. It includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, seeds, whole grains, beans, healthy oils, and the like.
- Water, Water, And More Water: That may be an exaggeration but it’s true. You need to drink plenty of water to hydrate your system, replenish your cells, heal your damaged organs, flush out impurities, and make you younger-looking.
- No Processed Foods: Processed foods contain artificial ingredients that make them flavorful but are certainly not nutritious. These include hotdogs, hams, and canned soups and veggies. Plus, highly-processed foods can make you tired and lifeless, delaying your recovery.
- Avoid Unhealthy Snacks: Snacks like potato chips, baked chips, pretzels, rice cakes, and cereal bars should be avoided. They don’t offer substantial nutrients, only unhealthy fats, and sugars. Instead, swap them out with whole foods for better nutrient intake.
- Limit Caffeine Intake: Coffee is a wonderful drink, but it has to be avoided. It can intervene and disrupt your sleep cycle. Without a good night’s sleep, your body won’t be able to heal properly.
- Grab Your Supplements: If you’re restricted from eating a particular food group due to allergies and other health concerns, you may consider taking supplements. But before you head on to your local pharmacy, talk to your specialist first for confirmation.
That’s a lot of rules, isn’t it? But they’re all important to ensure a healthy body and fast recovery. So, be sure to follow what your team of specialists has advised you to do so.
2. Practice Healthy Sleep Habits
Did you know that a third of a day is spent on sleeping alone? That’s how crucial sleeping is, and it’s more important when taking a journey to recovery from substance abuse.
Sleeping is a time for your body to heal and recharge in order to function properly the next day. It also allows the brain to be active and carry out functions crucial for your overall health. This is why having a good night’s sleep is essential.
Without proper sleep, your mood and behavior will be negatively affected. As such, there’s a possibility of relapse and increased substance cravings, prolonging your recovery. Not just that, you’re also vulnerable to chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, etc.
That said, some tips to achieve excellent sleep quality are as follows:
- Set A Sleeping Schedule: Set a specific sleeping and waking time. You should be able to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, regardless of the day. For example, if you wake up at 5:00 a.m. on weekdays, you should also do the same on weekends and holidays.
- Establish Bedtime Rituals: These are the things you need to do before bedtime, including taking a warm shower, reading books, and listening to the radio. With these habits, your body will know when it’s time to sleep as long as you do them every day.
- Reserve The Bed For Sleep: Don’t go to bed when it’s not yet time for you to sleep. You want to limit your time in bed as much as possible so that your body won’t be tempted to sleep out of your schedule.
- Limit The Use Of Electronic Gadgets: Avoid using electronics, such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops, at least an hour before bedtime. This is because their blue light can negatively affect melatonin production in your body which can prevent you from sleeping.
- Avoid Coffee At Night: Don’t drink coffee in the evening. Otherwise, you won’t be able to sleep at the right time. It’ll boost your energy and keep you awake, making it impossible to sleep.
- Avoid Long Daytime Naps: Daytime naps should only take no more than 30 minutes. Otherwise, it’ll interfere with your sleep and ruin the sleep schedule you establish.
- Create A Sleep-Inducing Environment: A comfortable bedroom is the key to a good night’s sleep. Make sure your room is dark, the temperature is right, noise levels are down, and mattresses are cottony soft.
- Avoid Drinking Too Much Water: Drinking too much water at night may cause nocturia—a phenomenon where one has to wake up to urinate. This will disrupt your sleeping cycle and possibly cause sleep disorders like insomnia.
3. Establish A Healthy Exercise Routine
Engaging in an active lifestyle offers tons of benefits. It increases strength, supports weight loss, enhances blood circulation, increases muscle mass, and improves overall health.
That’s why practicing a healthy exercise routine is an important part of recovery from addiction. With proper training and regular exercise, your alcohol and drug cravings will be reduced, helping your mind and body to heal permanently.
Nonetheless, the recovery process can take a toll on your mental health. It can lead to a lot of stress, which may increase your chances of relapse.
Fortunately, working out is a great way to combat stress. It improves your mind-body connection, allowing you to take the upper hand in your fight against addiction for sobriety.
Nonetheless, adding exercise to your recovery plan doesn’t mean visiting the gym daily. All you need is to have 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly. That said, here are some helpful ideas on how you can incorporate exercise into your healthy lifestyle:
- Take A Walk: Brisk walk for at least 10 minutes daily. Then, step up the game by adding five more minutes each day to build your strength and endurance. Think of it like walking away from your addiction to motivate and encourage you to walk.
- Jog Around The Block: If you want to take your walks to the next level, jogging is the best way to do it. Jog around the block or to your local parks for at least half an hour. Don’t forget to bring your water and take a break whenever necessary.
- Enroll In Classes: Go to your local fitness hubs or sports training facilities and enroll in their wide range of fitness classes. These may include boxing, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), swimming, and cross-training.
- Do Home Workouts: You don’t need special gym equipment to exercise at home. If you need weights, fill a bottle with water and use it instead. You just have to be creative and focus on your goal of becoming physically fit to recover as soon as possible.
- Start Gardening: Working around your garden is no easy task, especially when getting new pots for your new plants. In fact, there’s a lot of lifting and walking in gardening. That’s why it’s a great idea to include it in your active lifestyle.
- Start Dancing: Dancing is a fun and exciting way of getting your body moving. You don’t need to be a great dancer to dance. You just need to feel the rhythm and harmony and get your body into the groove.
- Learn How To Do Yoga: Yoga is one of the best ways to combat recovery stress. It also helps improve your flexibility as well as your overall strength.
Establishing an active lifestyle isn’t enough to solve your problems regarding substance abuse. But it’s a powerful weapon that can help you take back your life from the tight grip of addiction.
4. Nurture Your Interests
Spending time doing the things you love is one of the best ways to fight off the stress of addiction recovery. Plus, it improves your physical, mental, and emotional well-being and keeps your mind away from triggers like thoughts about substances.
Here are some hobbies you might want to try:
- Participate In Community Service Projects: Check your local communities and see if there are any activities you might want to try. These may include collecting food for the needy, gardening in the community garden, and helping in a cleanup drive.
- Become A Volunteer: Volunteering is a fulfilling and life-changing task—perfect for people like you who want to escape the grip of addiction. Consult with multi-national and local organizations and ask about the process of becoming a volunteer.
- Take Online Courses: This may be the best time for you to learn new things. So, grab your computer and look for online courses that may interest you. For example, take a course about video and photo editing if you want to learn how to edit videos and photos.
- Cook: Are you a fan of food? If so, you should consider learning how to cook. Cooking is a great hobby. It’s hard yet fun at the same time. It’s also fulfilling, especially when cooking great dishes your family would love—a perfect way to start a new life.
- Learn Foreign Languages: It might be difficult to learn new languages, particularly Korean, Japanese, and Chinese. But it’s fun, fulfilling, and rewarding, especially once you’ve completely mastered them.
- Write Anything: Writing is another hobby to consider. It allows you to learn new words and gather all your thoughts. If you want to make it more fulfilling, shut your computer down and start writing with a pen and paper. It’ll help you focus without distractions.
The path to recovery from substance abuse is a challenging one. It’s a lifelong journey that requires a lifelong effort to achieve complete sobriety. But with all the tips presented above, you’ll be able to take back your life from addiction in a healthy way.