If you’re new to recovery, there are some very basic steps you can take to ensure sobriety. It’s difficult for anyone to go from addiction to sobriety and vow to never drink or use drugs again. As you may already know, making a change like that is going to require support. You can get that support from friends, family, and professionals. But you can also get support simply in the way that you set up your schedule.
For instance, trying to do too much can be risky in early recovery. Because of all that you have to accomplish, your ability to stay calm will be impaired. With too many chores, tasks, responsibilities, or to-do lists, you’re more likely to feel frustrated, disappointed, or angry when things don’t go well. And too much emotional turmoil can put you at risk for relapse, especially if in the past you turned to drugs or alcohol to escape emotional pain. Below is a list of tips for working with your schedule so that you can stay focused, calm, and clear. And more importantly, these tips are meant to keep you sober for the long haul.
Make your schedule simple
- Try to eliminate anything in your schedule that is unnecessary. In fact, one of the best steps you can take to support yourself at the start of recovery is to simplify your life. Put your energy toward only what is necessary. Going to 12-step meetings, support groups, and meetings with your sponsor are crucial. But any other unnecessary activities you may need to let go of for awhile. Now, keep in mind that it’s important to include in your schedule time for self-care. So, you may need to assess whether any activities you’re doing now is adding to your sobriety or hurting it. Cutting out anything that is unnecessary may be help make your life easy to manage and cope with.
Create structure in your schedule
- Structure in a person’s schedule helps to create feelings of safety and security. And with these feelings, you may feel better equipped to grow and learn in your recovery. For instance, if you know that you always go to a meeting at noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then you don’t have to think about it. You just pick up and go when the time comes. This sort of ease makes a daily schedule require less energy and less thought. Life feels less chaotic. If you have a schedule that is unruly or difficult to manage, you will have less inner resources to face stress and cope with it. You may even feel like you don’t have your sobriety under control.
It’s important for new recovering addicts to simplify and structure their schedule for the first 90 days of their recovery. Recovery experts have found that the first 90 days are the most vulnerable for a person new to sobriety. They have more of a tendency to fall back into old habits and ways of responding to stress. And they may not yet have all the healthy tools they need to face stress when it comes. This alone can put them at risk for relapse. If you find that you need help in your early recovery, try the above suggestions.