structure in recovery

The Importance of Structure in Recovery

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You’re fresh out of rehabilitation and moving into recovery on your own outside your inpatient stay. When you first find yourself discharged from an inpatient rehabilitation unit, you may struggle to adapt to living in the outside world. You had a full schedule of counseling sessions and meetings to structure your day to the point where you didn’t even have time for substance use. Now you’re out on your own, and you have more free time than you know what to do with. This is where you can get into trouble in recovery despite the best-laid plans. 

You had a set schedule while you were in treatment in an inpatient facility, but can you maintain a schedule on the outside to help keep you on track and keep you from relapsing?

Set a Schedule

It’s important to set a schedule, and the best place to start is with your sleeping and waking schedule. Getting enough rest helps relieve the stress you’re feeling as someone new to recovery and allows the body to recover from the day. It also provides the structure of your waking and sleeping hours. 

If possible, try to keep a schedule where you wake in the morning and sleep at night to maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Take the TV out of your bedroom and make it strictly a space for relaxation. Turn off all electrical devices and lights when you’re trying to sleep as well as cutting back on caffeine before bedtime. A regular sleep pattern is the best start to set a recovery routine.

Plan Your Meals

Setting times and planning out meals can also help take the burden off you to find time not only to eat but also to eat well. When you were using, you probably didn’t take good care of your body and suffered from poor nutrition. Now’s the time to incorporate some meal planning into your schedule and include foods like berries or avocados packed with nutrients to rebuild your health.

Make Time for Exercise and Meditation

Another important aspect to getting well again is incorporating some kind of exercise routine into your schedule and taking a few minutes every day for meditation. It can be as simple as yoga or running a few miles, whichever you prefer. Exercise not only makes you healthier in your body, but it can help relieve the stress of starting a new sober life. Meditation helps calm the mind so you can better handle everyday stresses.

Make Time for Meetings and Counseling

You didn’t think we were going to let those things slide by, did you? When you first enter recovery, you may need to go to meetings every day to stay on track. You might also have counseling on an outpatient basis. It’s important to do these things to help maintain your sobriety, and they should be a top priority along with the basics of living.

Make Time for Journaling

Some people like to start the day with journaling, perhaps after meditation, but most like to reflect on the day’s events by journaling in the evening. This is also a great way to make a note of any cravings or any negative thoughts that you’re experiencing and commit them to your journal for yourself and possibly to share with your counselor for evaluation.

Once you have the essential things in place, they will take up a lot of your day. That’s half the battle to resisting cravings and the urge to use again by keeping yourself busy. You may still find yourself with some free time that needs to be filled.

Find or Rediscover a Hobby

If you still find yourself with some extra free time, consider exploring a new hobby or taking up an old hobby again. This is a great way to occupy your mind and include something fun and interesting to do during the day, as well as find a new social circle in some cases.

Don’t Forget Self-Care

Don’t fill your schedule so full that you have no time to take care of yourself. When we talk about self-care, we aren’t just talking about going on a splurge at the mall or pampering yourself at the spa (unless those activities somehow feed your spirit). Whether it’s reading an inspiring book or indulging in an activity you enjoy, make sure you find time to engage in a bit of self-care.

Keeping a routine helps provide some structure when you’re new to recovery. It can help reduce stress and build up a healthy mind and body after months or years of substance use and abuse. You have plenty on your plate with managing recovery in itself, so making the other aspects of your life as simple and as planned as possible can only support your effort to maintain sobriety. Here at Everlast Recovery Centers, we understand how hard it is to transition from rehabilitation to recovery. Our facilities in Riverside, California, are equipped to take you through the detoxification process to rehabilitation and recovery. Once you leave our homelike setting, we provide aftercare to help you get started in the lifelong recovery process and minimize your risk of relapse. You’ll always have a home, and a family, with us. Call us today to get started on your new life of sobriety with our traditional counseling and alternative therapies, such as art and equine therapies. Call (866) 338-6925 today.

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