Normally on the LifePlan Labs blog, we have veteran and seasoned educators submit articles on tips and techniques for both counselors and in the classroom. We wanted to introduce you to our new series involving curated posts from community members that (we believe) contain information that may be helpful to your students and their families. Our first post relates to recovery from an addiction, a topic that is extremely relevant for at-risk students, and serving them through our curriculum and outreach is our main purpose.
Allow us to welcome our first featured community author, Adam Cook, the founder of Addiction Hub, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is very much interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover. It is this mission and goal to help others that brought him to the LifePlan Labs blog. As our first community author, he would like to share his experience about addiction recovery and his story behind addictionhub.org.
Recovery from an Addiction: Getting Back On Track
Recovering from an addiction is about more than just stopping a drug or alcohol habit. This is not to say that it isn’t imperative that you free your body of its dependence on a substance. However, it is equally important to build a new life that allows for healthy habits and growth. It may seem like getting your life back on track is impossible after years of drug use. Fortunately, that couldn’t be farther from the case. Here are a few of the small changes you can make to your life today to kickstart the process.
Having the motivation and discipline to get up and get moving is difficult for everyone, not just former drug users. It is also, as you will know, beneficial to everyone.
However, for someone trying to rebuild a life post-addiction, regular exercise is invaluable as a recovery tool and coping mechanism. In a 2009 study measuring the impact of exercise on alcohol addiction, regular cardiovascular exercise not only improved subjects’ overall fitness, but also increased abstinence.
As well as giving you a natural rush that can stave off your need for drugs or alcohol, exercise can reduce stress, tiredness, and boredom, which are all common emotional triggers for relapse. It can also provide a much-needed sense of routine and stability, which helps put your life back on track.
Nature has been proven to have an overwhelmingly positive effect on both physical and mental health. According to the Student Conservation Association, benefits include increased exercise, reduced levels of depression, and increased serotonin levels from exposure to sunlight.
Taking time to go into nature will also keep you away from the temptations of an urban setting. While hiking, you will not be faced with environmental triggers like advertising, old haunts, or even friends you used with. You can be alone or bring someone along. Either way the peace and quiet of the great outdoors will do wonders to soothe your mind and avoid cravings.
Start A Hobby
Is there anything you have always wanted to learn to do, but never got around to it? Did you want to play an instrument, do a handicraft, paint, or even learn a language? Now is a great time to throw yourself into a new hobby.
Hobbies can have a calming effect, making you forget about everything else in the world but the specific thing you are focusing on. This is another great tool for contributing to recovery, as it can take hours of boredom, idleness, or frustration away from your life.
Great examples of hobbies to take up when recovering from addiction include:
- Knitting – The repetition puts you in a meditative state. You can also create beautiful, useful things that serve as a physical representation of your progress. Same goes for other forms of handicraft like cross-stitching and embroidery.
- Gardening – This combines the benefits of exercise, nature, and a hobby for a potent mental health boost. You can also learn to cultivate your own herbs and veggies, contributing to a healthy, balanced diet.
- Painting – Art therapy is becoming increasingly common in recovery programs, and for a reason. The act itself is calming, whilst the creativity involved allows you express and work through traumas and other hang-ups.
Getting back on track as a recovering addict is not all about going back to the life you had before. In fact, it is more about shaping a new life with better habits. In the short term, exercise and hobbies serves as a distraction from the triggers that could cause you to relapse. However, the long-term effects are far more exciting: a happy, healthy life, in which the need for drugs can be a distant memory.
To learn more about addiction recovery and the support groups and other resources available in your area, please visit addictionhub.org.