How to Thrive in a Life Without Addiction

Coral Gables Counseling Center - Wednesday, September 19, 2018
By Adam Cook
Coming out of addiction is one of the hardest things anyone can do. Not only do you have to make it through withdrawal symptoms, but you have to relentlessly fight the cravings to return to previous behaviors. Then you have to find your way back to a healthy and productive lifestyle. It’s a transition that takes time, grace, and a lot of tenacity, but you can come out of the experience stronger and happier than ever before. If you’re wanting to stay sober and also thrive in your new life, here are some steps you can take to make that happen.

Pursue nutrition and fitness

When you’re getting your life back on track, a good place to start is by eating well and exercising. If you’ve battled substance abuse for several years, you’ve likely become used to eating poorly and your body has probably suffered from malnutrition. If you start abiding by a new diet of vegetables, fruits, fish, and lean meat, while also cutting back on sugar and unhealthy fats, you’ll see that you have more energy, a stronger immune system, and better overall health.

Along with eating well, coming up with a fitness routine is vital. Exercising will improve your energy levels, help you sleep better, and help you rebuild your self-image, among many other benefits. Start with running, lifting weights, yoga, or any other kind of exercise that appeals to you and fits your lifestyle. Just start with something and you’ll find the routine that works for you. Before long you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. 

Get some rest

Rest is one of the most important factors in living a healthy and happy life. If you’ve grown accustomed to an erratic sleep schedule over time, training your body clock to get a consistent seven to nine hours of sleep each night will produce surprising changes in how you feel. You’ll begin to have more energy, sharper concentration and focus, and a better mood. Also, you’ll find that you’re sick less often. The importance of a healthy sleep rhythm can’t be overstated; without it, our bodies and minds can’t function the way they’re supposed to.

Create healthy habits

It’s likely that your life used to revolve around your substance abuse disorder. When you’re on the road to recovery, you have to find other things to fill the vacuum left by addiction. It’s essential to create new habits that are healthy and engaging, whether you choose outdoor activities, cooking at home, learning a new hobby, or other constructive activities. Find something you enjoy. Finding healthy ways to engage in “me” time — such as meditating or reading — can also be beneficial. Self-care is a critical component to living your best life.

Build new friendships

While there may be some relationships in your life that need repairing, you may have to let others go completely. For instance, don’t spend time with people from your old life who will trigger your cravings. Even if they claim to support your quest for sobriety, spending time with them can bring up memories of using, which can lead to relapse. Joining a gym, a recreational sports team or meeting people while learning new hobbies are all great ways to form friendships on a healthy foundation with people who have similar interests.

There’s no getting around it: Recovery is hard. But it can be the most rewarding experience of your life if you embrace it. If you change your diet, start exercising, and get on a steady sleep schedule, you’ll quickly feel the benefits. Creating new habits and forming healthy friendships will also help you rebuild your life. As hard as it is, if you commit to the journey of recovery, you’ll find yourself thriving without addiction.