5 Tips for Taking your Life Back after Addiction (by Adam Cook)


just to say that 5 men completed the two day addiction programme which I facilitated recently. It went really well. Great participation, presence and honesty from those taken part. Since then I have received an article from Adam Cook which I am very happy to publish on this website.

Wishing you a good summer. Peter

5 Tips for Taking Back your Life after Addiction

Now that you’re in recovery, it’s as if you’ve been given a new lease on life. You’ve experienced what it’s like to hit rock bottom, and you’re determined never to return. After letting go of the old, now is a perfect time to bring in the new. Here are five tips to help you get or keep your life on track so you can thrive.

1 – Have a vision for your life. Some call it finding their North Star, while others call it finding their life’s purpose. Author Stephen Covey says, “Start with the end in mind.” Identifying what it is you want out of life provides you with both meaning and direction. Once you have a vision, it clarifies everything from how you want to spend your time to who you want to spend it with.

2 – Make health your priority:  Exercise! It’s no wonder that exercise is referred to as the “wonder drug-but-not-a-drug of the mental health world.” Whatever boosts the production of GABA in the brain eases symptoms of anxiety and depression. Because alcohol and certain drugs boost GABA, some turn to them as a form of self-medication. The good news is that research has found that exercise is a healthy, non-synthetic way to elevate GABA. So, instead of using numbing agents, make exercise a part of your day, every day.

Eat a balanced diet low in refined sugar and high in protein and complex carbohydrates. This helps regulate mood swings as well as cravings.Get enough sleep. During deep and REM sleep, the brain regulates all of its chemicals and resets the neurotransmitter systems.

For your spiritual health, find what works for you, be it meditation, yoga, or Bible studies. Research has shown that spiritual practices help the brain regenerate and heal itself.

3 – Find your tribe. In recovery, the value of a good support system cannot be underestimated. Just as you may have had to cut ties with those in your past who had an unhealthy influence on you, you will want to welcome those who support you in staying clean and sober. Surrounding yourself with others who choose sobriety will help you to avoid triggers and remain focused on your recovery. Because they understand your challenges, they offer a safe place for voicing your struggles. They’re also in a position to offer insights and ideas on how to overcome them. They can be a lifeline during difficult times.

4 -Revisit or pick up a new hobby. Hobbies not only protect you from boredom (a common relapse trigger), but they have physical, mental, and social benefits too. From bicycling to soap making, there are many possibilities, but perhaps nothing is more beneficial for those in recovery than learning to play a musical instrument. Many of the traits you need to learn a new instrument mirror the ones you need in recovery, such as self-discipline, dedication, determination, and responsibility. Cognitively, you improve some of the damage that drugs or alcohol abuse had on your brain as well. According to a neuropsychologist at the University of Westminster, “Music is a strong cognitive stimulus that grows the brain in a way that nothing else does.” Plus, it’s a great way to release your emotions!

5 – Know your personal triggers for substance abuse. As helpful as these coping tools are, you still shouldn’t put yourself in harm’s way. This means staying away from people, places, and things that might trigger you to use.

Congratulations for having the courage to step away from what doesn’t serve you. You could have chosen a different path, but here you are embracing your recovery and welcoming a new, positive lifestyle. As you explore the positive coping tools above, you can’t help but feel optimistic that the best is yet to come.


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