All good things are available to you in recovery, but only if you learn to push yourself. When you get into a pattern of substance use, you get into the bad habit of doing things the easy way. For example, drugs and alcohol are the easy way to deal with difficult emotions. It’s not your fault; it was probably just the case that you were dealing with those emotions the best way you knew how. Drugs and alcohol are a shortcut to feeling ok. Unfortunately, once you get used to the quick fix, it gets hard to put effort into other things. At some point, you have to choose to do the harder thing–in your relationships, your health, your work, and your recovery. That can be daunting, when you consider how much work you have to do. The following are some tips for changing the way you think about the hard work of recovery.
You don’t have to do it all at once.
The first thing to keep in mind is that although recovery takes a lot of work, you don’t have to do it all at once. In fact, you can’t do it all at once. You can only do what’s in front of you right now and that’s all you should focus on. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to make some massive effort. Whether you’re trying to get into shape, fix your finances, or build a sober network, there’s only so much you can do at any given time. It takes a while to build the capacity for hard work. What’s important is that you push yourself a little harder each time. That might mean running just a little farther than you ran last time. If it was a challenge just to attend a 12-step meeting last time, consider introducing yourself to the meeting chair at the next meeting you attend. Effort is relative and by trying to do a little more than you could do last time, you expand your capacity.
Work, then rest.
It’s also important to remember that work isn’t constant. You should push yourself a little bit and then rest and recover. Don’t forget that although your brain is only about two percent of your body weight, it uses about 20 percent of your energy. That means every time you have to concentrate or or use your willpower, you’re actually using a lot of physical energy. Whether your exertion is physical or mental, you need breaks. That also means you need genuine rest. Looking at social media or playing a video game may be fun, but you’re just switching tasks, not resting. You need small breaks throughout the day and you need restorative sleep at night. Try to get at least eight hours. The good news is that the harder you work during the day, the better you’ll sleep at night.
Keep your goals in mind.
It’s hard to consistently put in effort when you don’t have any particular reason for doing it. It helps to have concrete and meaningful goals. When you have a meaningful goal in mind, effort isn’t just effort; it’s paying your dues for something you really want.
Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon uses cutting-edge techniques in individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction. Taking a holistic, sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help- our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474