Self-Improvement in Addiction Recovery
Whether you’re new to recovery or have several years of sobriety under your belt, there’s always room for self-improvement. Today’s suggestions come from the work of Marty Nemko, Ph.D., career coach and bestselling author of How to Do Life. His advice focuses on the general population, but we thought it would be beneficial to apply these principles to growing in recovery.
1. Put in the time.
Above all else, we recommend that you dedicate time to the areas you wish to improve in. If you’re feeling stale in your sobriety, instead of abandoning your meetings or putting down the Big Book, double down. Become a sponsor, attend new meetings in different areas, and find ways to focus on your recovery. You’ll be glad you did.
2. Avoid time-sucks.
One of the key factors in relapse is boredom, and the activities that foster boredom can also be categorized as time-wasters. Hours spent on excessive TV watching, video game obsession, and unnecessary shopping will drain you without letting you feel accomplished at the end of the day. Instead, begin to invest your time in a hobby that makes you feel fulfilled; this is a true path to self-improvement.
3. Focus on what you can control.
As we’ve discussed before, positivity is a main contributor to your overall mood and likelihood of sustained sobriety. Instead of complaining or feeling defeated by parts of your life that are out of your control – such as work difficulties, politics, or physical conditions – focus on the things you can. By changing your perspective, you’ll be better equipped to handle the stresses of day-to-day life.
If you feel stuck in your career or hobby, specializing and finding your niche can instantly unlock inspiration and opportunity. By homing in on one area of expertise, not only will you have greater demand in the professional world, but you’ll feel empowered, too.
5. Take low-risk actions.
When you’re in recovery, the idea of spontaneity can seem forbidden and destructive. As you learn your limits and begin to trust yourself more, try taking a few small, calculated risks in your professional life. Volunteer yourself for a challenging presentation or present a new idea to your supervisor. These little leaps of faith can build your confidence and open new doors to self-improvement.
6. Hang out with people who bring out the best in you.
Whether it’s a lifelong best friend or a new acquaintance from your meetings, the people you surround yourself with can truly transform your life. This is why you should only invest time in those who build you up and make you feel like your best self. By the same token, begin to distance yourself from people who drag you down or make you feel the urge to use again.
7. Take the time to find a mentor.
In the context of recovery, this means finding a sponsor and other sober individuals to turn to when life happens. As challenges arise, you’ll be greatly comforted by the presence of others who have been through it all before.
8. Chart your progress.
As you get more days, weeks, months, and hours of sobriety, it can be easy to forget how far you’ve come. By using an app or calendar to keep track of how many days you have, you can reflect on your accomplishments and strengthen your resolve to remain sober.
9. Look inward.
When things are difficult, it’s easy to place the blame on the things around us – our circumstances, bosses, whatever we can think of. Instead, when you stumble, look inward and identify opportunities for improvement. Maybe the solution is something as simple as learning a new skill or changing the crowd you spend afternoons with. You have control over your circumstances and can hold yourself accountable in your journey to self-improvement.
10. Resolve to rebound.
Difficulties are an inevitable part of life. If you relapse or even just feel tempted to use again, don’t let it be the end of the world. Instead, see if there’s a lesson to be learned from the failure and resolve to succeed at something at least that big.
Bringing Real Change to Addiction Treatment
BRC Recovery specializes in addiction treatment along the full continuum of care – from detox to sober living and aftercare programs. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or are at risk of relapse, we encourage you to contact us today. Our compassionate staff is ready to speak with you, 24/7.