When you think of the word routine, it sounds like something boring and mundane but having a steady routine can actually be a very positive thing for anyone recovering from addiction. When you are faced with days and weeks without a schedule or without anything to do, you might start to stray from your goals of staying sober. A routine helps build a stable foundation and is a crucial element in preventing relapse. For a person who no longer has their dependency to use as an escape, a routine can be a source of comfort and structure that they truly need. These are the main reasons why a routine can help you achieve success in your efforts to quit substance abuse.
1. Routine Helps to Ease Anxiety
If you have just recently quit drinking or using drugs, it can be a frightening experience that causes a lot of stress. You might not know how to handle the day when you do not have the outlet of your substance abuse. Establishing a daily routine can keep your mind off your addiction and help you to focus your energy on getting tasks completed. Being productive and having a schedule can help you forget about many of your worries and help to ease the transition into a new sober lifestyle.
2. Having Structure Makes You Responsible
In the past when you were struggling with addiction, you might have let a lot of your responsibilities slide or let people down by not being reliable. When you meet the obligations of your routine, people will begin to see you as a responsible person who they can depend on. Becoming a responsible individual means that you are also less likely to backslide and start drinking or using drugs again. You can begin to take on more responsibilities and really make progress not just in recovery but in your life overall.
3. A Routine Can Build Confidence
Starting a new routine may feel difficult at first but as you ease into it and accomplish more you will start to feel more self-confident. Getting through all your daily work tasks and chores can make you feel that you have a better handle on your life than you did in the past. Being productive and getting a lot done can have a way of making you feel better about yourself and what you are capable of doing. You might begin to create more success in your career or personal life as your confidence continues to grow.
4. Stability is Helpful in Times of Crisis
Not every day in the process of your recovery is going to be easy. When something unexpected happens or stress is building up, your routine gives you a structure to fall back on. These are the times when you are in the most danger of relapsing and getting back into old habits. Being involved in a scheduled routine helps you maintain your equilibrium and feel stable enough so that you do not feel tempted to use alcohol or drugs as an escape from your rough moments.
5. Routine Can Be a Source of Happiness
With all the things that a routine can provide you in the process of recovery you will start to find a feeling of joy as a result of your confidence and responsible behavior. When you have increased your self-esteem and have accomplished more in your life you can experience happiness again. You can look back and see all the progress you have made so that you can feel good about your new lifestyle and what you have achieved.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact us.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.