5 Bad Habits to Avoid in Recovery

good and bad habits in addiction recovery

Addiction to drugs and alcohol can cause significant harm to your mental and physical well-being. Deciding to seek treatment to overcome addiction can be a life-changing–often life-saving–choice. During treatment, you will learn the skills you need to manage addiction’s physical and emotional symptoms for the rest of your life. Using these skills in recovery can help you avoid relapsing and keep you focused on a healthy, sober lifestyle.

However, for many people, the journey of recovery is full of twists and turns. Commitment to sobriety may waver, and new challenges may test your ability to cope. The majority of people in recovery experience at least one relapse.

While going through a relapse can feel like a significant setback, it can give you information about what you need to stay sober going forward. Learning about some everyday bad habits in recovery may help you avoid a relapse or provide insight into how to move forward after one occurs. 

Here are five of the most common bad habits in recovery.

1. Neglecting Your Health

Substance abuse can be hard on your body and mind. The more you can do to support your mental and physical health in recovery, the better able you will be to stay committed to sobriety. While many people feel dedicated to self-care after completing rehab, this enthusiasm may begin to lag as the weeks and months continue. However, keeping up with these good habits is essential to protect your health.

Nutrition

Many people skip meals or make unhealthy food choices while in the grip of addiction. It is crucial to fuel your body and brain with nutritious foods in recovery. Eating a variety of foods, including whole grains, protein, and lots of fruits and vegetables, can help replenish lost nutrients and sustain your physical and mental energy.

If you struggle to include nutritious foods in your diet, start small. Try to eat regular meals that contain a source of healthy protein, a grain, and some fruit or vegetables. Drink plenty of water and limit caffeine, especially in the afternoon.

Exercise

The benefits of exercise include better self-confidence, healthier body composition, more strength, and better sleep. You don’t need to train for a marathon to get these results–about 30 minutes of moderate movements, such as brisk walking, yoga, dancing, or working out with weights, is enough to feel the benefits.

Sleep

Good nutrition and exercise can contribute to better quality sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, and keep your bedroom dark and cool. In time, good sleep habits can lead to better sleep–which means improved physical and mental health.

Taking care of your physical and mental health can mean that you have more energy and will be less likely to give in when triggered. 

2. Skipping Meetings

Support groups and AA meetings are essential aspects of recovery for most people. Regularly attending meetings gives you an outlet for your emotions in recovery and keeps you accountable to a group of peers.

There are a few reasons people might skip meetings. First, they may feel overconfident about their success in recovery. It’s tempting to start relaxing the rules and habits once you feel successful, but this can lead to a backslide into relapse. Consistency is key in recovery. 

Second, someone might skip meetings if they don’t want to be held accountable. This could happen if you are feeling less committed to recovery or don’t want to face judgment for your feelings or actions.

Lastly, you might skip meetings if you are overwhelmed or unable to cope with new challenges. This is most likely a sign that you need more support. Going to meetings should be a non-negotiable part of your schedule, even if you sometimes don’t feel like going. 

3. Not Reaching Out

Your commitment to sobriety may waver when you feel triggered, bored, overwhelmed, or challenged. During these moments, you must reach out to your sponsor or counselor. Not calling your sponsor may mean you are more likely to give in to a trigger or move closer to a relapse.

Your sponsor is there to talk you through challenges and offer non-judgmental support when you’re triggered. Talking to your sponsor can be one of your most important coping skills. Being vulnerable can be very challenging, especially if you have had to put on a front in the past. But real, meaningful recovery requires you to open up about what you’re feeling and ask for help when you need it.

If you find yourself resorting to old, destructive ways of coping instead of using the healthy coping skills you learned in treatment, it could be a sign that you need more support. Some people find they need additional support or therapy to adapt to new stress or challenges. 

4. Isolating from Loved Ones

Some people feel pressure from their friends and family to “perform” well in recovery. It might be tempting to pull away from your loved ones during especially challenging recovery periods. You may have painful memories from when you were abusing drugs or alcohol and want to avoid these during difficult times. 

You must find friends and family members who can offer you non-judgmental support. Loved ones who will listen and understand can be an important aspect of your recovery. Reach out to them when you need to listen, and spend time with them regularly. 

5. Making Excuses

During recovery, you may have times when you feel confident about your progress and others when you feel uncertain. You may also feel curious about what it would be like to try using drugs or alcohol again. 

These feelings can lead to creating excuses that justify using again. You may find yourself thinking or saying things like “just this once,” “I deserve it,” or “I recovered once so I can do it again.” These ideas can be a slippery slope that can lead to a relapse. 

Having these thoughts or making excuses for using again may be an early stage of relapse. It might be a sign that you need more treatment or support. Get the help you need immediately to avoid a relapse that can unravel your recovery progress. 

It can be helpful to check in with yourself regularly to evaluate your behaviors and how you’ve been feeling. Have you been feeling more stressed than usual? Has it been a while since you went to a meeting or spoke to your friends? Have you gotten off track with your diet and exercise? Be honest with yourself about how you’re feeling and your ability to cope.

Recovery requires dedication, commitment, and some structure. The more you can stick to a plan, the more likely you will avoid the bad habits in recovery that can lead to a relapse.

Get Help Now

Moving Mountains Recovery does more than just help you get sober–we also address the behavioral patterns and habits associated with addiction so you can change your lifestyle for the better. If you or someone you love need addiction treatment or support in recovery, reach out to the Moving Mountains Recovery specialists today. 

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