The process of recovery from opioids can sometimes feel very difficult. Part of this is from the intense physical withdraw opioids create, as your body may have lost the ability to function, feel healthy, or receive positive feelings without the substance use.
Addiction of any kind creates an overpowering manipulation of your desires and behavior, creating a need for a substance that subsumes the ability to lead a normal life. Thus, trying to be independent of these chemicals requires creating a healthy lifestyle and new coping mechanisms.
Here are a few practices to take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotional, in such a way as to both have an effective early recovery, and lay the groundwork for a full, healthy, and happy life.
1) Meet with a doctor to deal with physical symptoms
There will be some inevitable unpleasant withdraw symptoms, that may start as soon as hours after the drugs have left your system, and may subsist for a few weeks. Some common symptoms include anxiety, muscle pain, body aches, insomnia, chills, and nausea.
This may feel like too much to go through all your own. Clear communication with and monitoring by a health care professional can stave off the worst of these symptoms, enabling you to feel better and stronger, and more able to focus on your own recovery.
2) Develop routines of sleeping
Cutting out your addictive behavior from your life will leave a void of time and energy, and so the best way to undercut the "bad habits" of drug use is replace them with "good habits" of taking care of yourself and looking after your own health. One way you can do this is through establishing regular sleeping patterns, going to bed and waking up at the same time every night. Sleep is a very important time for your body to rest and restore itself, and so it's very important to make sure you get adequate amounts.
3) Regular and nutritious eating
Another very important area of your health that can benefit from consistent scheduling is eating. Hunger and tiredness are two of the main sources of stress and anxiety that can create unpleasant feelings and strengthen the temptation to relapse, and food is a source of energy that allows our body to continue to function. Plan to eat at regular intervals, and take the time for meals filled with a balance between vegetables, fruit, carbohydrates, and proteins. Avoid caffeine, sugar, or foods with high calories and low nutrients.
This means thinking critically about our choices, eating what will best support our health. Making a small but wise decision like snaking on raw fruits or vegetables instead of potato chips can go along way towards putting your life back in your own hands, doing things beneficial for you and making a free choice based on what's good for you.
4) Engage in exercise and physical activity
Exercise is a vitally important way for your body to strengthen, function better, and grow. Lying around all day doing nothing can end up zapping your energy, but exercise allows your body to be used, strengthen your muscles, lungs, and heart. In addiction, physical activity produces neurotransmitters that relieve anxiety, pain and tension, and is one of the most effective ways to replenish these pleasure hormones that does not involve returning to the substance of your addiction. Simply going for 30-minute walks can do a great deal in improving your chances for recovery.
5) Make time, and find ways, to relax
Drug use suppresses negative emotions and numbs you to your internal tension. Thus, withdraw often brings with it a lot of feelings of anxiousness, sadness, or frustration as those feelings come bubbling up. You need to find new ways of coping, and this means searching for ways to truly enjoy life and have fun.
Taking take out for yourself is an essential part of the recovery process. Take time to find an enjoyable activity, and then do it in such a way that you can feel pleasure, fun, freedom, and childlikeness. Learn how to listen to your emotions and figure out how to respond to them by doing what makes you feel better.