“The Perfect Week”:
Ten Activities to Include in Your Week for Success in Recovery
One of the biggest fears that anyone in recovery has is the fear of relapse. And we get that. Life as a newly-sober individual is challenging. Going through an addiction treatment center can do a lot for helping an individual turn their life around, but it won’t solve all of their problems for them. Once back out in the real world, sober, cleaned up, and revitalized, it’s time to use what was learned in rehab and apply it to daily life.
One of the reasons why good rehabs work is because they offer structure. The life of a drug addict is about as unstructured as they come, and a good rehab instills structure, schedule, responsibility, daily tasks, and valuable goals and purposes into that person’s life.
Once graduated from such a rehab program, it’s essential to maintain that integrity of structure and purpose, just now outside of treatment. Doing so makes the recovery process more manageable, and it wards off the risk of relapse too.
Here are ten activities and habits that a recovering addict can filter into their weekly schedule to create the perfect week for recovery.
1. Set Up a Meal Plan for Each Day of the Week
We can’t stress enough the importance of healthy eating. A healthy diet is one of those things that we should all be doing, yet doing so is even more critical for someone in recovery.
When a person feels better, they are less likely to return to drug use or alcohol misuse. And because a balanced, healthy diet improves one’s health and mood, they are likely to feel better when they’re eating well. That’s why a good diet is essential to recovery.
(For some additional data on this, a great article which talks about different meal plans for recovering addicts based on their prior drug of choice can be found here).
2. Work Exercise into Your Daily Schedule
In addition to eating well, you should also include an exercise program in your daily or weekly schedule. Putting the body through exercise allows for the release of feel-good endorphin chemicals. A good workout brings on a bit of a natural, healthy high.
Furthermore, it’s generally recommended for optimal health to get some exercise every day. This could not be truer for those in recovery. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends exercise as a valuable part of the treatment process.
3. Continue to Work on Yourself
Self-improvement is the keystone in the archway of your recovery. Without self-improvement, the whole thing crumbles. You have to keep working on yourself, growing, improving, getting better at your chosen areas of life, getting better in your own mind and how you view things, etc. This is a broad concept because each person will find their own way to work on themselves. The critical point is that you do work on yourself.
4. Continue to Learn
Anyone who invests time in continuing education is an individual who will profit greatly from that endeavor. True experts, specialists in their fields, all of them make an effort to continue to learn in their chosen profession. When in recovery, you must become an expert at being a recovered addict. If you continue to learn about yourself, about healing, about staying sober, about pathways to success through sobriety, you increase your chances at a relapse-free life.
5. Stay in Touch with Your Treatment Center on a Weekly Basis
We can’t stress this one enough either. It’s imperative to stay in touch with your treatment center after completing their program. Your treatment center is your best support group, your most reliable safety net. They care about you and your recovery, and they want a sober and happy life for you. Plan it into your schedule to make a call with someone at your rehab once a week, to keep them updated, and to ask them for advice if necessary.
6. Make a Point to Get Out and About with Your Family
Many recovering addicts choose to dive into their career or education or some other endeavor when they are fresh out of rehab.
They consider that they need to be passionate about something and that something should be a healthy thing, like a career, the full-time job of being a parent, the quest of continuing education through college or a trade school, etc.
All of that is great, but you have to get out and about, too, and you should do so with positive, loving members of your life, not with negative ones.
Make a point each week to get together with your family members and loved ones (those who support your recovery), even if it’s for something as simple as a short hike or brunch.
7. Go to Church If Church Is a Fulfilling Experience for You
Many recovering addicts find peace of mind and support for their ongoing recovery in their church. If you are spiritually inclined, spending time at your church, engaging in church activities, and exploring the faiths and tenets of your religion can be very helpful. Such activities pull your thoughts and your viewpoints up and away from the despair of addiction and onto a whole new plane of consideration and belief.
8. Take Part in Activities Which Help the Community
One of the most beneficial things a recovering addict can do is help others. Time spent volunteering, giving back to the community, is not only time well spent for the community, but it’s time well spent for you.
A research project and survey from the United Kingdom explored the sheer therapeutic effect that volunteering had on recovering addicts. According to a study of 800 recovered and sober individuals, 79% of them said they volunteered in the community or civic groups as a part of their recovery journeys.
9. Find a Hobby and Take Joy in It
There’s nothing like spending time in an activity that you are passionate about. For someone in recovery, shifting their passion from substance abuse to something that is healthy and beneficial is a wise choice.
While in recovery, find an activity or a project, a goal, an ambition, or a dream hobby that you always wanted to get good at, and schedule it into your week.
10. Lean Into Your Recovery
Recovery works when people make it work. To think that all you have to do to get better from drug and alcohol addiction is to go to rehab is naive thinking. Recovery is a journey of betterment, something that you need to lean into.
The best way to guarantee sobriety for life is with a strong commitment for improvement and a dedication to the journey itself. Take part in it, live it, walk it, and schedule each week with activities and habits like the above. Make your events and daily routines conducive to an entirely different way of life, a good way of life.