Recovering from an opiate addiction is one of the hardest journeys someone could ever take, and many people need more than one try to master sobriety. In fact, according to the US National Library of Medicine, the relapse rate after opiate detoxificationranges from 72% to 88%. Still, this doesn’t mean that the odds are stacked against you. There are a lot of things you can do to help prevent relapse, and one of the most important things you can do is practice self-care. The road to recovery is not going to be easy, but it will absolutely be worth it.
You are not alone
Even though addiction tricks us into feeling like we’re alone, there are millions of peoplewho have previously or are currently suffering from opioid abuse. Finding a support group, whether locally or online, with people who understand your journey may be just the support you need when you’re having a particularly hard day. Sometimes, talking to a person who has been through what you’re going through is easier than talking to a friend or family member who just doesn’t understand.
Having someone you can talk to is a critical element of self-care. The emotional factor behind joining a support group is immeasurable. As humans, we often feel that we need to keep our emotions inside, and this is simply not healthy. Sharing your thoughts and feelings can help you unload some of your emotional burden and keep you from feeling like you need to turn to opioids to cope.
Create a list
Another important part of self-care is focusing on creating a life outside of your treatment and addiction. You can start by creating a list of healthy activities, productive trigger-coping techniques, and sober people you can call during tough times. Take up a few new hobbies and really pour your heart and soul into finding healthy ways to channel your energy.
Your list should also include situations and even people that you know put you at risk of relapse. This will help you understand where you should focus your energy and who you should be spending time with so you’re constantly in a positive, supportive environment. For example, if you used to abuse pills while hanging out at the park, put the park’s name on your list as a place to avoid, at least in the early stages of your recovery.
After a while, your list will become second nature, and you won’t have to refer to it all the time. This will help you feel more in control as time passes.
Focus on diet
In practicing self-care, you need to prioritize your diet. Eating nutritious foods doesn’t have to mean embracing a trendy or hard-to-follow diet. Simply focus on adding whole foods like fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains, and try to avoid foods and drinks that are heavy in sugar, unhealthy fats, and caffeine.
Don’t forget to stay hydrated, because withdrawal symptoms from opiate addictionoften include dehydration. There isn’t a science-backed ruleon how much water you should drink per day, and if your diet is packed with fruits and veggies, you’re already getting a lot of the water you need daily from your food. Simply having a bottle of water with you at all times is a great way to ensure you’re staying hydrated.
Change your whole life
The ultimate rule of self-care is to focus on your well-being so you can live a happy, healthy life. To achieve this, you must be willing to change your life and they you view it for the better once you stop abusing opioids. This doesn’t mean that you should change everything, as change can be overwhelming, especially in recovery. Instead, start off by focusing on small changes. Consciously shift your negative thinking patterns, and completely avoid situations, places, and people that you associate with using.
Prioritizing self-care in recovery may take some practice, but it’s worth it. As recovery expertsnote, “Reclaiming your health after prolonged substance abuse isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely possible. Make self-care a priority, and seek support as needed throughout your journey. The sober path will challenge you physically, mentally and spiritually, but with the right habits and consistency, it can be the healthiest life you’ve ever lived.”
Relapse is a reality for many people recovering from opioid abuse, but it doesn’t have to mean failure. With a few small changes, you can prevent your odds of relapsing and increase your chances for success in sobriety. Take this time to focus on and nurture your whole self, and you can live the healthy, fulfilling life you deserve.
Guest Post by Adam Cook, founder of AddictionHub.org, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. Adam is interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.
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