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8 Effective Tools to Help You Sail Through Early Addiction Recovery

recoveryThe secret to managing early addiction is to have the right weapons in your arsenal. One of the reasons rehab can be such a worthwhile option is that it gives you the opportunity to pick up some of the most effective recovery tools. The better prepared you are to face the challenges of recovery, the more likely you are going to be to succeed. Here are eight of the most effective recovery tools for early sobriety:

1. Honesty

One of the better-known sayings that you have probably already heard in recovery is that ‘you are only as sick as your secrets’. Honesty is one of the most effective tools in recovery because it keeps you from falling back into denial. If you feel the need to start hiding things from people, this can return you to the slippery slope of addiction.

Being honest all the time is hard, but it is crucial if you want to make progress in recovery. It is often the things that people feel most uncomfortable about admitting that they most need to be open about in order to make progress. This does not mean that you have to share your life story with everyone you meet, but it is important to be able to confide in at least one person – this could be a therapist, sponsor, or an understanding friend. If you intend to follow a programme such as the 12 steps, you will need to be completely honest in order to make progress.

2. Gratitude

So long as you remain grateful for your life away from addiction, it is very unlikely that you are ever going to relapse. The problem is that it is almost human nature to take things for granted. When individuals first break away from addiction, they tend to be very grateful for their new life; there may be some major life improvements during the first few months of sobriety but then things begin to slow down. It is easy to stop being grateful because you fail to see just how much better life is now.

Developing gratitude is a tool you can use to strengthen your recovery. One of the most effective ways of using this tool is to keep a gratitude journal. This is where you write down all the good things in your life – it is best to do this journaling on a daily basis. Keeping a gratitude journal can seem like a chore at times but the impact it can have on your life is tremendous.

3. Learn to Meditate

Meditation can be an extremely effective tool for those in recovery because it can help them better deal with stress and any lingering addiction cravings. It is common in early recovery to complain that it is difficult to concentrate, but it is not necessary to do much meditation to reap the benefits; in fact, one of the benefits of meditation is that it can actually improve concentration levels.

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to be particularly effective for those in early recovery. The great thing about this technique is that there is no need to sit in the lotus position or learn any chants; it is possible to practice mindfulness when just walking or even driving a car. This type of meditation means just focusing on the moment in a more objective way. One of the great benefits of mindfulness meditation is it allows people to see how cravings are just thoughts that arise in their mind briefly before disappearing.

4. Learn Relapse Prevention Techniques

There may be times in early recovery when you feel at high risk of relapse, so it is vital that you have some tools to help you deal with this type of situation. There are lot of different relapse triggers, but the most common are hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness; these are easily remembered using the acronym HALT. If you are experiencing any of these emotions then it is vital that you rectify the situation right away because it could mean you are at more risk of relapse.

5. Physical Fitness and Healthy Eating

It is often said that in order to enjoy a healthy mind, you need to have a healthy body. If you do not enjoy good health, it can lead to depression, lack of energy, and the inability to get the most out of life. It is doubtful that anyone becomes sober to feel sick and tired, so it is important that you work on your health when you become sober. This does not mean that you need to throw yourself into an exercise addiction or become too stringent about your eating habits. The aim here is progress, not perfection – even if you start by going for a thirty-minute walk every day, which will make a significant difference.

6. Develop a Sober Social Support Network

A network of sober friends is crucial in early recovery. These are people you can turn to for advice, support, and feedback. It is common for those who have escaped addiction to have issues when it comes to dealing with others, it is therefore vital that they begin to improve their interpersonal skills and make some new friends.

One of the easiest ways to make friends in recovery is to join a recovery support group. These fellowships allow you to mingle with those on a similar path to you. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous also arrange social gatherings (for example, parties and conventions) as well as meetings. Doing voluntary work is also a great way to meet new people.

7. Set Goals

Your main priority in early sobriety is to stay sober, but it is also helpful to have some other small goals. These targets should not be too ambitious because you already have enough on your plate, and they should not put your sobriety at risk in any way. The type of goals that are suitable for early recovery would include things like learning to meditate, getting fit, or joining an evening class. Some activities to avoid might include starting a new relationship, launching your own business, giving up cigarettes, or moving to a different part of the world.

8. Learning to be Self-Compassionate

People who fall into addiction usually become very self-centred, but this is usually combined with self-hatred. If you are too hard on yourself in recovery, it could mean that you drive yourself into depression and steal all the joy out of your new life. You need to be a best friend to yourself. It will not be possible for you to show compassion to others until you can do the same for yourself. Self-compassion does not mean that you become narcissistic or arrogant; it is more about being completely honest about your faults and weaknesses and loving yourself regardless. When you develop this compassion for yourself, it makes it easier to change. It also means that you can be more understanding of the mistakes and foibles of others.

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