19 May Incorporating Positive Action in Addiction Recovery

One common misconception about successful addiction recovery is that it is solely centered around ceasing with an old habit. The problem with this perception is that it leaves out half of the equation: replacing a past addiction with positive, new habits. Replacing an old habit with new, wholesome ones is crucially important because it keeps the mind focused on other things instead of cravings, and it significantly reduces the likelihood of relapse. In essence, a successful recovery will incorporate positive actions rather than a “don’t do this” mindset—positive actions that are rooted in the belief that actions taken today can have an influence on the addiction recovery process in the long term. Here are a few ways that you can incorporate positive action in your addiction recovery.

Explore your interests.

The early stages of your recovery from past drug or alcohol addiction will be highly introspective because of the self-care involved in recovery, and this makes early recovery a great time to explore new interests that you can incorporate into a new, post-substance abuse lifestyle. The first step to replacing a past habit with new ones is to, naturally, figure out what those new habits will be. Take time to try out pastimes that you’ve never tried before, or try picking back up ones that you once enjoyed. These interests, along with wholesome habits such as healthy eating and exercise, can become your go-to positive actions.

Plan out your time.

Positive actions taken during addiction recovery are only effective if they occupy specific periods of the day. Therefore, one central part to successfully incorporating positive action in addiction recovery is planning out your time in such a way that your day is filled with “to dos” instead of “don’t dos.” Consider writing out a to do list at the beginning of each day, or establishing a deep-seated routine for yourself.

Create goals around your positive actions.

One way to ensure that you remain on course with a more positive routine is to make the things you do each day part of a goal-oriented plan. For example, exercising every day with the goal to complete a certain race in the future will hold you to maintaining a steady exercise regimen; or practicing a musical instrument every day with the hope of performing a song in the near future at a family event might keep you from abandoning your new hobby for a past addiction.

Keep practicing.

After all of this, remember: developing a new routine from scratch doesn’t happen overnight. It takes practice, and with time, you’ll find that the positive activities you’ve involved in your life now fill the voids that you once thought your previous addiction filled. So keep practicing. Keep making each day even just a little more positive than the last.

Mike Keenan is a Licensed Substance Use Disorder Counselor (LSUDC) and is continuing his education by pursuing a degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. Mike began his career in 2008 working in youth residential treatment. Soon after, he identified his passion for working with the adult population suffering from addiction and chemical dependency and transitioned into adult residential, in-patient, and out-patient treatment. Mike has excelled in a variety of supervisory and director level positions, and is currently succeeding as the Director of Client Relations at Therápia.
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