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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Strengthening Your Addiction Recovery Through Service

addiction recovery
In early recovery, many people often find themselves with more time than they know what to do with; thanks to no longer having to dedicate nearly every waking hour to fueling their disease. No longer having to figure out how you're going to keep from going into withdrawal frees up a massive chunk of your day allowing you to focus on making progress. Having some downtime is not inherently dangerous, provided however that people in recovery use those hours productively, i.e., going to meetings, socializing with others in one’s support network, and exercising. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect those who are working a program will always be at a meeting, so it's vital that individuals in recovery seek out new ways to fill their time.

If you are a person committed to keeping the disease of addiction at bay, then you have probably come to the realization that your head isn’t the safest place in which to loiter. Meaning, when you have nothing “to do” you might be apt to ruminate about the past or the future unless you find ways to stay busy. Since most people's recovery history is laden with painful experiences, spending too much time thinking about it can be risky. On the other end, spending inordinate amounts of time dreaming of what the future holds can lead to restlessness and impatience; after all, the gift and blessings of recovery can take a stretch to manifest. Simply put, it is paramount for those in the program to stay in the here-and-now, the “precious present.”

Once in the program, it can take some time for individuals to figure out how to stay productive, even when it seems like you don’t have to occupy time. A good number of people will choose to fill up free space in their schedule, particularly in the evening, with television. Others might opt to read some recovery-related material, which is always a healthier choice than TV. There is a number of things that you can choose to do that will help you stay present, although some activities can strengthen your recovery.

Staying Present in Recovery

In the first six months to a year of peoples’ sobriety, it is wise to adhere firmly to the suggestions proffered in treatment and from your support group. Recommendations which could include doing step work (e.g., Fourth Step Inventory), reading your Big Book, meetings, prayer, and meditation. The goal is to immerse yourself in living an entirely new way, leading a life that doesn’t revolve around selfish and self-defeating behaviors. Dedicating yourself to following the lead of others will better protect you from doing anything that could jeopardize your program.

After months of doing many of the same things repetitively, your actions become second nature. The things you do day-in-and-day-out for recovery will commence without having to think about it. While such a reality is a good thing, there are some who may start to feel like their life today is a touch mundane and tedious; this is a feeling that many people share after being clean and sober for a time. If you've begun feeling that way about your life today, it is critical that you take steps to invigorate your program and one of the best ways to accomplish this is through being of service to others.

There are a good many ways that you can help your program and add color to your life through helping others, both inside the “rooms” and out. If you have a significant amount of idle time during your week, perhaps you might look for volunteering opportunities in your area. Giving back to your community is an excellent way to break up the monotony of the week. Another way you can give back is by volunteering to offer a ride to a "newcomer" who finds it difficult to get to a meeting; or, invite somebody new to get coffee after attending your “homegroup.” Whenever you are in service to others, you are not in service to your addiction.

Addiction Treatment

During National Nurses Week we would like to honor every nurse who has selflessly volunteered their time, caring and showing compassion for those struggling with addiction. Nurses are an invaluable asset to the field of addiction medicine. At The Haven, we thank you for your service!

The Haven at Pismo can help you or a loved one begin a life-saving journey of addiction recovery. We provide a continuum of care, including medical detox, gender-specific residential programs, and outpatient programs. Please contact us today to learn more about our programs. 805-202-3440.