Post Addiction Recovery: Healthy Mind Exercises

As most addicts know – or at least find out once they start the road to recovery – addiction takes an effect on your entire body: physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. And, once you begin your road to recovery, not only will you be focused on staying sober, but you will also need to focus on getting your body back on track.

Your body can typically repair itself from most if not all of the damage done, but it does need help along the way through exercise, proper rest, and nourishment.

Addiction often damages your mind and body – it can leave you feeling tired, weak, and forgetful. So, when it comes to recovery you are probably thinking about your new eating routine which will include a lot of fruits, vegetables, supplements, and various other nutritional things. Next, you are likely thinking about your new exercise plan that will incorporate getting active and being involved, you might start running or swimming. It is all about gaining that strength back and putting positive things back into your life.

But, what about your mind? That is one thing that still needs exercise and needs to be returned to a healthy state. But, it is something we haven’t talked about yet…

Well, there are literally exercises you can do for your mind. No, I don’t mean something crazy like running around and screaming your name out for a mile. Rather, they are just simple exercises that will stimulate your mind and cause you to use various sides and parts of your brain.

A healthy mind is needed for a healthy body – they go hand-in-hand. So, by exercising your brain, you are promoting a healthier physical body and just a healthier life overall.

Now, what you have been waiting for, here are those healthy mind exercises:

Test your memory.

Make a list of something – it could be a grocery list or just a random list of items. But, then take a few minutes to memorize it. Next, put the list away and try to recall all items on the list – keeping count of how many you can recall.

 

Do math in your head.

This can be frustrating because not everyone enjoys math – but it is stimulating and beneficial. So, look up a few random math problems online and practice working them out in your head.

 

Learn something new.

This could be a new sport or even a new language, but either way, learning something new is beneficial to your mind and your soul. It feels good to accomplish learning something new, but it will also stimulate your brain as you put in the time, thought, and effort to understand a new concept.

Find the Value in Rehab

Have you ever had to go to a class before? It could have been a professional class that was designed to help make you better at your job or maybe just a class for school – it could be college or high school. Anyways, you probably have viewed that class – or a class – as an obstacle at some point. You are required to be there at a certain time, you are required to bring certain materials, you have to focus and give the instructor your full attention. It is just one of those things that take time out of your day and could easily interfere with your plans.

So, in such a situation, you might consider that class to be an obstacle – it is standing between you and whatever it is you want to do. But, in fact, that course is an opportunity – not an obstacle. It is an opportunity to learn something new, to become better at your job, to be better equipped for life, and much more. It is an opportunity to get to better yourself through learning.

Well, when it comes to addiction recovery, some people view a rehabilitation program as an obstacle as well. It is another one of those things where they have to check in, they have to follow the rules, and they have to commit their efforts and energy to it. But, viewing rehab like this could greatly impact your recovery…

Viewing it as an obstacle could leave you dreading the times you have to go, might prevent you from being open to learning and improving as part of the program, and it will leave you more focused on that than focused on your recovery process.

But, in fact, rehab is an opportunity just like a class is…

Rehab is a chance to have trained and skilled individuals help you better yourself and start a new life. It is an opportunity that not everybody gets and definitely, not everybody takes advantage of. Furthermore, by viewing rehab as an obstacle rather than an opportunity, you will hinder your own healing process.

Instead, try to see the good in the program. Consider the friends you have made along the way, how much healthier you feel, and the positive impact that rehab is having in your life. Work on being optimistic rather than pessimistic. Find the good in everything – especially in rehab.

Once you learn to view it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle, you will find you are far more productive and you are enjoying each day more and more.

Life After Addiction: Finding Healthy Alternatives

When it comes to life after addiction, the main obstacle that stands in people’s way is the little green monster of relapse. It is easy to turn back to your old ways, especially when that nostalgic setting or sound makes an appearance. And, especially during the holidays, relapses become an even more prevalent occurrence among addicts who are now sober.

For example, the holidays are typically a time of gathering and hanging out, laughing and drinking, and more. But, for an addict, they can be a stressful time full of social gatherings that place stress on the individual and homes full of temptations they are so desperately trying to avoid. As a recovering addict, you might think back to past holidays where you would toast with a glass of champagne and maybe have one more with your meal. Then, once everyone had left and you had finished cleaning up the mess, you would reward yourself with a few cold beers while you binge-watched your favorite holiday movies.

And, while this activity was once an okay reward for a great day and your work cleaning up, it has now become a temptation and something that could cause a domino effect – sending you spiraling right back down to the path of addiction. So, you might find yourself frustrated because you desire that old habit…

Everyone needs that cool down period and everyone needs that “me time” activity that they love so much. We all need a way to reward ourselves. But, especially as a recovering addict, you have to ensure it is something that is healthy for you and does not interfere with your recovery.

So, while you might not be able to have a cold beer after a long holiday anymore, find a healthier alternative that will help calm you down. For example, especially since the holidays are normally cold, why not cozy up by the fire place with a mug full of warm tea? There are so many different tea flavors, picking it out is an activity in and of itself!

There are plenty of things you can do to cool down and relax and several other “me time” past times that are healthier than drugs or alcohol. It is about finding what works for you. And, continue to replace that old habit with your new and healthier one and eventually, that new and healthier habit will become your normal go-to.

Addiction Triggers: Here Are A Few Strange Ones

Once you are on the road to recovering from your addiction, one of the greatest struggles you will face in your new and improved life is the temptation to relapse. But, the temptation to relapse is not always something that just happens or just lingers around all the time. Oftentimes, the temptation to relapse and use drugs or alcohol again is set off by something called a trigger…

A trigger is just simply something that makes you crave drugs or alcohol, something that reminds you of that old lifestyle, something that makes you want to go back. It can be a smell, a sound, a person, or even a place. It might be where you used to buy drugs at or it could be the person you used to buy them from. Sometimes, it can even be an emotion. For example, you might feel stressed and that might be the feeling you used to feel right before you would use – maybe it was your reason for using – and so that might trigger you to feel like you need the drugs or alcohol again.

And, of course, people typically think of the common triggers such as old friends, a street corner, your car, whatever it is that reminds you of those old habits. But, triggers can go far beyond just the person you used to buy your stuff from. A trigger can even be something incredibly unique that you would have never considered…

Here are a few strange triggers that might pose a threat to you or a recovering addict you know:

  1. Money

    Sometimes, recovering addicts can be triggered by money because they always got out cash solely to purchase their drugs or alcohol. It might be the act of going to the ATM, it might be the smell of the money, or it might just be the fact that they still have a tendency to fold the money up like they are doing a drug deal.

  2. Grocery stores

    Nowadays, most grocery stores have a liquor aisle. So, while it might not be a liquor store just full of alcohol, a former addict might still know that alcohol is present and the access to it is just so easy.

  3. The feeling of accomplishment

Oftentimes, when people drink or use drugs they feel this high, this sense of accomplishment. It is oftentimes part of the euphoric effect the drugs or alcohol provides. So, when they feel the same sense of accomplishment – even if it is for something good – it could still pose a threat as a trigger.

Do you know of some other unique triggers? Share them with us in the comments.

Every Day You Are Making Progress

Addiction regardless of it is to drugs or alcohol, damages your body. Over time, it takes a toll on your mind and your physical body – negatively affecting parts of your body such as your organs. And, as a result, you will likely feel the effects of this – you might feel tired, weak, irritable, and various other things. Furthermore, when you are feeling unwell like this it can make addiction recovery very hard…

But, it is worth pushing through and getting better.

However, there are many people that think once the damage is done, it is done. There is no going back and healing your organs or your body, you are just stuck recovering and getting sober and then living with your body as is from this point forward…

But, that is not the case.

Organs and tissues can heal most of the time – but they don’t just do it all on their own. Of course, getting sober helps greatly. But, then you also need to nourish your body.

Focus on exercising regularly – which will also play a major role in your sobriety – even if it is something simple like a quick cardio workout a few times a week or joining a local tennis club. You just need to get moving somehow. Next, focus on what you put in your body. You have probably heard the saying, “you are what you eat,” so think about that when you eat – you want to be colorful, happy, and healthy like fruits and vegetables.

And, most importantly, remember that each and every day you are making progress.

It can be hard to take a step back and realize that even one day can make a difference. It seems so small in the scheme of things, but it is not. Each and every day counts.

It is just like when you were addicted to the drugs or alcohol, each and every day that you used and abused them – you were damaging your body. Each day counts when you are abusing your body, and each day counts when you are trying to heal it as well.

Try to recognize the value in one day and focus on the here and now. Every day that you stay sober and every day that you make a point to exercise and every day that you make a point to try and eat better, you are healing your body – one day at a time.