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10 Things People in Early Sobriety Should Try


walkingOne of the great things about breaking free of alcohol or drugs is that it opens up a world of possibilities. When your life revolves around substance abuse, there would probably not be much room for anything else; however, this would change upon becoming sober. It can be such an exciting time because there are so many new opportunities. Below are a few suggestions for things that will not only add some variety to your life but also strengthen your sobriety.

1. Meditation

Meditation can be difficult during the first few weeks of recovery, especially if your concentration is poor due to withdrawals. You can still benefit from this practice though by sticking to a simple technique or using guided meditation.  This type of activity is not only great for your body and mind; it can also be effective for helping you deal with cravings (especially mindfulness meditation) as well. It is common for those that fall into addiction to suffer from self-hatred, so a practice like loving kindness (metta) meditation can be a great option to help overcome this. It is possible to learn some simple techniques online, but it is far better to have a teacher in the beginning.

2. Journal Keeping

Writing things down in a journal each day can really help to strengthen sobriety. It can be like sharing problems with a friend, making it possible to see things more clearly as well. When thoughts are allowed to just spin around inside the brain, they can end up taking on a life of their own – things can be blown out of all proportion. Writing these thought down makes it easier to manage. The other benefit of keeping a journal is that it allows individuals to track their progress over time. This is important as change can sometimes happen so slowly that you could fail to appreciate how much better things have become.

3. Blogging about Recovery

Blogging provides many of the same benefits as journaling, but it can also mean benefiting from a community of online friends. There are no special skills needed to start up a blog, and a platform like WordPress.com is completely free to use. Writing a recovery blog encourages people to open up about themselves, and these posts can be of benefit to others trying to find their way in recovery – or those still trying to stop. Blogging could also encourage you to keep track of the latest developments in the world of recovery as well as learning more about addiction. If you really get into the habit, you may even decide to later release your musings in the form of an eBook.

4. Keeping a Gratitude List

Lack of gratitude can make it impossible for people to get the most out of sobriety. Humans just have this tendency to take things for granted. It can also be the case that many alcoholics suffer from depression, meaning that their brain is almost hardwired to focus on the negative. Lack of gratitude in recovery can mean that you become like a poor man sitting on top of a mountain of gold – you just don’t recognise your own wealth. A gratitude list is a way to train your mind to begin looking for the positives in life. Every day (many do this before going to bed) make a note of all the good things in your life.

5. Going to a Fellowship Meeting

Even if you do not think you would like fellowships meetings such as AA or SMART Recovery, it is a good idea to try these at least once. It can be such a huge help to be surrounded by those on the same path as you. You will also be able to benefit from the wisdom of those who have been sober for many years. It is common for individuals to feel lonely upon first becoming sober, but this can be avoided by joining a fellowship; groups like AA even have social functions such as dances where no alcohol is served.

6. Doing Some Service

Devoting some time to focusing on the needs of others can be one of the most powerful things you could do to strengthen your recovery. This type of activity is also a way to give something back, especially if it involves helping those still struggling due to addiction. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous depend on service in order to survive, so if you belong to this group then you will not have any problems finding things to do. Another option would be to choose to devote a few hours each week to voluntary work. This could also provide an opportunity to meet new people.

7. Starting an Exercise Programme

It is hard to get the most out of life if you are lacking in physical fitness – health really can be your greatest wealth. It is a mistake to rush into some extreme fitness regime as soon as you become sober though, but a light routine can really make a difference. As your fitness increases, you can expect more energy, an improved ability to sleep at night, and an increased sense of well-being. It can be so wonderful to feel like you are back on the path to full-health after years of substance abuse.

8. Practicing Yoga

One of the nice things about yoga is that provides a combination of exercise with meditation. If your concentration is not yet good enough for regular meditation, it could be the perfect solution. Yoga strengthens your bones, improves your flexibility, improves circulation, and is an excellent stress-buster. There are also certain types of yoga that are more like a workout because these can really get your heart pumping. It could feel intimidating to see others who are able to wrap their legs around their neck, but you would not need to be able to do anything like this in order to survive a beginner’s class.

9. Taking a Night Class

A night class can give you the opportunity to learn a new skill, improve your academic credentials, or just learn for fun. It can also be a nice way to meet some new people. There are thousands of different classes to choose from, and there will almost certainly be something to suit your personality. It is sometimes possible to turn up to the first class free of charge, which can be a good way to get a feel for what is on offer.

10. Taking up a New Hobby

A negative effect of addiction is beginning to lose interest in anything that does not involve becoming inebriated. This usually means that by the time you become sober, you have no hobbies; you may even find it difficult to remember what you used to enjoy doing before addiction took hold. During the first few months of recovery it is a good idea to experiment with lots of options. There will certainly be things you enjoy doing, but you may have to do some experimentation to find out what this is. It is better to have a number of hobbies so that you don’t become too obsessed with any one activity.

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