Recovery is more than a brief period in time. It’s the rest of your life. To stay sober, you cannot underestimate the value of consistency. Recovery requires a continual commitment. You need to choose yourself and your sobriety every day. Establishing consistency in various areas of your life can help you maintain a steady path in your recovery.
Why Is Consistency in Recovery Important?
We learn through consistency. Every time we have a new experience, a pathway is created in our central nervous system. That pathway links the emotional, psychological, and biological processes that we used during that situation. If we continue to have that experience, the pathways that are activated will become cemented. The experience will feel more familiar, and the skills that we use during that time come more easily.
Many of the pathways that develop during periods of addiction reinforce unhealthy behavioral patterns. However, we can “rewire” those pathways through a process called neuroplasticity. As you adopt healthy behavioral patterns and emotional responses, you’ll solidify those positive behaviors that support recovery.
We help people with addictions and substance use disorders recover. Get mindfulness training and learn the 12 Steps for deeper healing.
Consistency in Recovery Creates Structure
Diving into recovery presents you with many unknowns. You have no idea what the future looks like.
When you begin treatment, everything seems new. Your body feels different as the drugs leave your system. Your brain may be foggier or clearer as it adjusts to the lack of influence from substances. Your emotions are all over the place, and you don’t feel like yourself.
When you disrupt the familiar, you can easily become overwhelmed, anxious, bored or restless. Although you’ll learn more about managing these emotions in treatment, you can set up a strong foundation for experiencing other, more welcome, feelings. Therefore, establishing consistency from the beginning is essential for your recovery.
Consistency gives you something stable to hold on to. When you don’t know what’s coming next, a routine becomes one element that you can come to expect and predict. Habits and routines bring comfort, especially when many aspects of your life feel uncomfortable.
Start your recovery off strong by establishing a framework and plan from the beginning. Although the plan should allow for flexibility as you progress, it will help you create routines, maintain boundaries, make decisions and focus on your healing.
How to Create Consistency in Various Areas of Your Life During Recovery
Consistency will make recovery feel like a habit that comes naturally. But developing the capacity to stick to your habits is a practice on its own. Therefore, creating habits that are easy to follow can make it easier for you to abide by those that feel more challenging, such as staying sober.
You can generate more consistently by implementing routines and structure in the following areas of your life.
Many people neglect to practice self-care when they’re in active addiction. Because of this, their physical and mental health may suffer.
One of the easiest ways to regain some balance is to create a personal hygiene routine. This may be as simple as showering in the mornings and brushing your hair and teeth at night. While these habits may seem unimportant, they are cornerstones for creating consistency in your life.
Also, feeling fresh and clean can help you find the energy to go through your days. Maintaining your personal hygiene also improves your self-esteem and helps you stay healthy.
Counseling and Therapy
Some type of counseling or therapy is essential to any recovery plan. Regular appointments with a mental health provider give you a chance to practice consistency. Ask your therapist to hold you accountable for attending sessions.
The resources that you gain in each session will also help you maintain your recovery. However, you won’t benefit from them if you don’t attend them regularly.
When you participate in support groups and 12-step meetings, you have the opportunity to meet people who are struggling with similar challenges as you are. Your peers are in the same boat; they’re also trying to create consistency in their lives. Hearing their stories can help you learn from their experiences and feel less alone.
Being part of a community may also encourage you to attend these groups consistently. Knowing that your experiences are valuable to other members gives you the inspiration to keep going.
Creating consistency in your social life outside of meetings is also important. Many people find that their social needs change as they go through treatment. You may not be able to hang out with the same people as you did while you were using. You may need to immerse yourself in different hobbies than you did before.
Setting yourself up with a regular social routine can help you remain on a positive path. Set up a standing coffee date with a supportive friend. Arrange for a substance-free potluck once a week. Sign up for a class so that you can do something you’re interested in while meeting new people.
Career and Finances
Having your finances in order provides you with some stability. Making a budget and tracking your spending can help you set strong priorities that prevent you from making reckless choices with your money.
Consistency in your career can also help you find some footing in this next stage of your life. Whether you’re working or volunteering, make a commitment to yourself and your employer. Show up on time and do your best. You’ll get to practice many of the life skills that you learn in therapy in the structured environment of your job.
Health and Exercise
Creating healthy habits is an important part of recovery. Spending some time to create habits around nourishment and exercise can keep you feeling physically strong even when you’re struggling emotionally.
Make sure that you drink enough water throughout the day. Focus on eating foods that are rich in nutrients and make you feel good. Make time to move your body every day even if it’s just a brief walk.
Do You Need Help Staying Consistent?
When you’re in active addiction, the only thing that you may do consistently is use. Therefore, establishing consistency in recovery can feel daunting. It’s not something that you’ve practiced much, and you may even feel like healthy habits are hard for you to maintain.
You don’t have to change your entire routine at once. Take baby steps and create habits that feel simple to follow. As you maintain them, you’ll gain confidence. You’ll realize that you can take some responsibility and control over your life, and it feels good.
At Renewal Lodge, we help clients stay consistent. We help you hone the skills that you need to create a stable routine that supports your continued healing. The way that you proceed through your journey after leaving rehab is just as important as the way that you handle your first days in recovery. We can provide you with the assistance and accountability that you need as you move forward.