Rebuilding your life in early recovery can be somewhat confusing, especially as your mind and body go through extreme changes. This can leave you feeling unsettled even with the best support around you. Now that you longer have your crutch of alcohol or drugs to turn to, you will need to learn new coping mechanisms for any emotional turmoil that may occur.
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Mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders are often comorbid. This means they often occur at the same time. Sometimes addiction even happens through undiagnosed and unmanaged mental health issues. Even with no history of mental health issues, recovery is an emotionally vulnerable place to be. For this very reason, it is a good idea to prepare for a drop in your emotional state, so you know what to do if it occurs.
Furthermore, it is equally as important to get help and treatment for anxiety, especially when experiencing it in early recovery. This is because unstable mental health can lead to relapse. If you are prone to anxiety, stay alert. There are ways to stave off anxiety when in addiction recovery. Here are four tips for managing early recovery anxiety.
In recovery, many aspects of your life can seem uncertain. One way to add stability to your life is to keep a daily routine. This could be as simple as getting up at the same time every day, making time for three set meals, showering daily, and going to bed at the same time every night.
You could break up the day with activities such as crafts or gardening. Joining a club or volunteer group will add a sense of purpose to your day as well as positive social interaction in your community.
A routine will allow you to feel in control of your life. Keeping your days busy in a positive way means you won’t be bored and tempted to stray to old habits that could lead to relapse.
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Managing the expectations of your progress in recovery can reassure you that you’re doing a good job. Every day that you abstain from drugs or alcohol is progress. But recovery does not happen overnight, and there will be hurdles to cross. Know that this is normal and, with support, you will meet your goals.
When it comes to managing your expectations, it may be a good idea to set small goals and work towards them. This will keep you focused and motivated. Goals could be as small as making your bed or going for a ten-minute walk every day.
If you feel hopeless or cynical about recovery, talk to your support system. Realign your expectations and realize that you will get to where you need to be if you stick to recovery.
Did you know that mindfulness can help anxiety? Mindfulness is about focusing on the present. As well as treatment programs such as mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (MBCT) you can practice mindful meditation in your daily life.
Ways to be mindful include being present and observing your feelings, thoughts, and actions in real-time. Take the time to eat breakfast mindfully. When you walk, observe the nature surrounding you. Acknowledge your feelings as they are happening and accept them without judgment.
Realize you can find ways to be happy now, not just later. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Your life is not on hold; it is happening right now.
You will already have support in place, but you might want to consider private therapy if you don’t already have it. Your therapist will be able to alleviate concerns in your recovery and offer coping mechanisms to manage your anxiety.
Having reviewed our top four tips for managing early recovery anxiety, you must remember not to bottle up your feelings. After all, no one wants you to suffer in silence.
Experiencing anxiety in your recovery is not failure or unwillingness to beat addiction. Lean on your support system, who are there to help you and want to see you succeed.
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