Substance abuse is a horrendous experience that damages the mind, body, and spirit of an addict and his or her loved ones, but for many, life after rehab can be just traumatic, as avoiding temptation and remaining sober in the real world is an incredible challenge. Some days, it seems that everywhere one looks, thereâ€™s a trigger that threatens the foundation of oneâ€™s sobriety.
Fortunately, the world offers many diversions that donâ€™t take the form of dangerous substances. To prevent the urge to relapse, recovering addicts may consider adopting any or all of the following habits. After all, it is much easier to replace a bad addiction with a good one than quit everything cold turkey.
Nicotine is a common and recognizable stimulant. Most rehab facilities allow ex-addicts to smoke e-cigarettes because they afford a small, simple, legal buzz.Thankfully, clean, flavored e-cigarettes allow for an exceedingly pleasurable nicotine experience, and emerging research suggests that the compound actually has many beneficial effects.
For example, nicotine aids cognitive ability, decreasing the development of mental disorders like Alzheimerâ€™s and schizophrenia. Additionally, nicotine promotes the growth of new blood vessels in the body, which aids circulation and can lead to stronger, healthier limbs. Finally, those suffering from depression have found that nicotine reduces the severity of their lows due to the subtle release of â€œhappyâ€ hormones dopamine and serotonin.
Labs around the world are closely examining these healthful effects and manipulating nicotine into pharmaceuticals that directly target certain health problems, but for now, plenty of ex-addicts find a suitable therapy in the form of e-cigs.
E-cigarettes allow ex-addicts total control over their nicotine intake, as e-juices come in varying strengths as well as flavors. As they progress in their rehab and no longer need the assistance of nicotine, they can easily adjust their intake, and can even enjoy the e-cigarette without any nicotine at all.
Fitness freaks will readily attest to the mental and physical high that can be achieved through regular, vigorous exercise. The endorphins that are released during aerobic activity certainly can become addictive, but as long as ex-addicts practice follow strict regimens and avoid overwork, exercise can be supremely constructive of a wholesome lifestyle.
Hundreds of ex-addicts have found the balance and stress release that was missing from their lives by participating in regular exercise. For example, as he describes in his book â€œThe Long Run,â€ MishkaShubaly was able to stave off his alcoholism by going for a run whenever he experienced an urge to drink. A similar substitution â€” active habit for drug habit â€” works for most ex-addicts.
Idle hands are the devilâ€™s playthings, as the saying goes, and an ex-addict who regularly has nothing to do is much more likely to fall into old habits like abusing substances. To avoid this scenario, ex-addicts should keep their minds and fingers joyously occupied with enjoyable hobbies.
There are many creative and exciting endeavors that can be addictive to the right people; the key is to experiment with different occupations to find the most suitable one. Ex-addicts may consider picking up any of the following hobbies during their first months of sobriety:
- Painting or drawing
- Cooking or baking
- Writing and reading
- Making music
- Playing games
Most rehabilitation programs encourage addicts to search inside and out for a divine power to whom they can pledge allegiance. This power â€” be it God or nameless, faceless Love â€” is unquestioningly benevolent, and it is always able and willing to give ex-addicts peace of mind should they ask.
Prayer (or some other spiritual activity, like meditation) usually yields a noticeable result in oneâ€™s mental state. Thus, dropping to oneâ€™s knees and asking for strength whenever one is overcome with a desire to abuse substances can be a remarkably positive addiction.
There are millions of ex-addicts around the country who are working to maintain their sobriety, and many find solace and strength in sharing their stories with their peers. Every day and night in every city, groups assemble to discuss the hardships of sobriety and the importance of maintaining a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle.
Group meetings often relieve stress and engender a sense of communal struggle, and ex-addicts who take time to attend weekly meetings have been shown in many studies to stay sober longer. Listening to the stories of fellow ex-addicts is an incredibly beneficial step in sobriety.