The first year of recovery is often full of support, re-creating yourself, and many milestones to celebrate your hard work staying sober. But after this first year what are the best ways to keep your recovery fresh, as you settle into your new way of life without the use of alcohol and drugs? There are many things the experts suggest doing to keep your recovery and newly established life vibrant and relevant:
- Exercise: there is loads of research to back up the correlation between exercise and sustained recovery. Research is beginning to indicate that regular, moderate exercise can actually help break compulsive behaviors. It also helps prevent relapse all together, by regulating mood and energy.
- Meditation: meditation is proven to produce important changes in the structure and function of the brain, as it increases gray matter in the decision-making and learning areas of the brain. It also helps with anxiety and depression.
- Yoga: specifically the breath work involved in yoga significantly helps diminish the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It helps loosen the joints and muscles, which improves flexibility, balance and circulation; which long-term drug use has most likely affected greatly.
- Healthy Eating: many addicts enter recovery with less than mediocre self-care habits, and eating foods to help heal your body is one of them. Learning how to properly fuel and nourish you body will not only make you stronger, but also help with moods, and self-esteem.
- Psychotherapy: everyone can benefit from the continuing treatment of the core issues that got him or her using in the first place. Regular psychotherapy can help you regularly process emotions so you don’t fall back into patterns and behaviors that could lead to relapse.
- Volunteering/Giving Back: getting outside yourself and helping others is proven to help your outlook on life, and improve your experience with gratitude. This is a big component in 12-step programs, and for very beneficial reasons.
- Experiencing Life: what are your interests, and what have you always wanted to do that your addiction kept you from doing? Getting out there and living life to the fullest is the best way to sustain long-term recovery. Make life fun and exciting again, make new memories, and find things to look forward to!