Early recovery from a substance use disorder is filled with many ups and downs. And sometimes, the journey may feel impossible, however, recovery is possible. At Seneca Health Services, we want you to remember that you are never alone — we are always here for you. Fortunately, there are ways to stay resilient in early recovery. Continue reading to learn more.
Set Personal Goals
While trying to remain sober in the early stages, your mind may begin to wander out of control. It’s important to keep your mind thinking healthy thoughts. One of the best ways for anyone to motivate themselves is to set a personal goal. This can range from something big such as setting money aside each month to eventually purchase a new car or home to something small like only checking social media once a day or taking a 15-minute walk on your lunch break. Whatever it may be, goals help keep our minds focused and on track.
Some goals for resiliency in early recovery include:
- Create a healthy physical lifestyle, such as exercising or walking daily
- Create a healthy mental lifestyle, such as meditating or praying daily
- Picking up a healthy hobby, such as reading, arts and crafts, or volunteering
- Remain drug and alcohol-free for x week(s) and treat yourself to your favorite food or movie
- Attend and make it through therapy for x year(s)
- Attend x recovery meetings in 30 days
- Call or visit with family and friends at least x times a month
Address and Avoid Potential Triggers
Knowing your triggers will be a big help in your recovery and sobriety. Everyone has different triggers, but some are more universal than others.
Common relapse triggers include:
- Continuing relationships with current users where substance use is common
- Extreme emotional states — depression, anxiety, and stress. If possible, avoid situations where you may tend to feel these emotions. Seeking a doctor for help if these emotions feel unescapable may help prevent relapse.
- Living conditions that may feel unsafe or trigger the unhealthy thoughts of using again
- Social settings such as parties or events that involve substance use
- Deep-rooted childhood trauma or dysfunctional family dynamics or relationships
Stating and creating boundaries for yourself is the first step in addressing and avoiding potential triggers. You must remember to put yourself first, especially when you are in such an emotionally delicate time.
There are ways to fight these triggers, such as:
- Engaging and creating relationships with supportive family members and friends that have healthy habits
- Creating a recovery meeting schedule with the help of a sponsor
- Abiding by the H.A.L.T. rule (manage conditions when you become Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired) to prevent relapse
- List all the negatives of using and all of the benefits to being and staying sober
Connect With a Support Network
Creating and maintaining relationships with people that positively impact your life can change your mindset and your overall outlook for the better. Building these strong relationships will also prevent you from feeling lonely or removed from society, which can be beneficial during your sobriety.
Recovery meetings are also extremely beneficial to remain sober. Although you may not always feel like going, it is an important process to your sobriety journey. According to the Harvard Gazette, there are two large reasons recovery meetings are so impactful — those being spending more time around individuals who are in the same shoes and support sobriety, and increased confidence in the ability to remain abstinent in social situations.
Balance Emotions With Logic
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of times when temptations kick in, it’s hard to listen to logic over lust. When you are feeling any emotions, especially H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired) — remember to “halt” and squash the feelings with a healthy activity instead of using. If you’re hungry, make yourself a healthy, filling snack, or if you’ve met a personal goal for the week, reward yourself and indulge in a favorite meal. If you’re angry, try speaking with a therapist or surround yourself with your sponsor, or a friend or family member that will help put your mind at ease. The same goes if you’re feeling lonely. And, if you’re tired, try some relaxing meditation or music to help calm your nerves so you can sleep soundly.
Take Care of Yourself
Taking care of yourself may be the most important thing to do when staying resilient in early recovery. Do not forget to take some time for yourself. Creating a daily routine that includes eating balanced meals, exercising, and getting enough sleep can increase your overall well-being. Spend some time connecting with loved ones or others who are in recovery. Make sure to also partake in activities that you enjoy — whether it be cooking, baking, listening to music, watching a movie, reading, playing an instrument, or expressing yourself through art or journaling.
Speak With a Professional | Seneca Health Services
If you cannot stop thinking about alcohol or drugs or have experienced a relapse in early recovery, you should contact one of our trained behavioral health professionals. Reaching out is hard, but we want you to know that our team of psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, nurses, case managers, and other professional staff at Seneca Health Services are here to help. We personalize our patients’ care so that they receive adequate treatment. We listen to you and will not provide any more or any less than what you need.
We offer crisis assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year to assist and support individuals, arrange and coordinate treatment services, assist with ensuring basic needs are met, encourage the use of natural supports and provide linkage to a variety of community support systems. Our highly trained behavioral health professionals are passionate about helping people find the life they want to live.
If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the Seneca office nearest you or use the link provided here.
Greenbrier County, West Virginia: (304) 497-0500
Nicholas County, West Virginia: (304) 872-2659
Pocahontas County, West Virginia: (304) 799-6865
Webster County, West Virginia: (304) 847-5425