When living with addiction, we’ve developed lifestyles that not only maintain our addictions but also exacerbate and compound them. Our lifestyles are comprised of everything we do in our daily lives – our routines, our relationships, our thoughts and feelings, and our behavioral patterns. When we’re struggling with addiction, we’re also attempting to cope with unresolved issues that are informing everything we do, think and feel. To heal from addiction, we have to transform our lifestyles. We have to create lifestyles that promote our well-being, that contribute to our happiness, and that give us peace of mind.
When we are working to create new lifestyles for ourselves in recovery, first we have to become more mindful of the lifestyles we’ve already created that have been hurting us. What toxic relationships are we staying in despite our instincts telling us they’re not good for us? Are we abusing ourselves? Are we abusing others? Are we allowing others to abuse us? What thought patterns have we developed that are contributing not only to our addictions but to the mental health issues that often accompany them? For example, do we have a way of thinking about ourselves that is self-deprecating? Are we filled with insecurity? What behaviors constitute our regular routines that are harming us? What habits have we developed that are self-harming? All of these things make up our lifestyles. Are we living a lifestyle that serves us or that harms us? Becoming more mindful of how we think, feel and operate on a daily basis gives us more insight into the lifestyles we’ve created for ourselves. Once we have a good sense of what kind of lifestyles we’ve been living with, we can take action to change them.
Creating a healthier lifestyle for ourselves doesn’t happen overnight. Our way of life takes time to develop and time to change. It takes being mindful on a daily basis of what kind of energy we’re allowing into our lives, what kind of energy we’re carrying within us, what kind of energy we’re emitting. Changing our lifestyle means checking in with ourselves constantly. We’ll need to ask ourselves important questions. What am I thinking right now that’s bringing me down? How are my thoughts contributing to my depression and my anxiety and creating a lifestyle of unhappiness? What am I thinking that is bringing my feelings into a state of imbalance? What am I doing that’s taking away from my inner peace? How are my actions self-destructive? When we check in with ourselves regularly and make notice of our central habits, we can then start self-correcting. We can catch ourselves when we’re living in ways that are harming us and take steps to turn them around. We’ll monitor the new habits that we’ve implemented in order to instill them within us.
When we’re creating new habits in order to develop a new lifestyle, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and stressed out. We can feel down on ourselves whenever we don’t feel like we’re making enough progress. We beat ourselves up. We judge ourselves harshly, and we compare ourselves to other people that we perceive to be living healthier, happier lives than we are. If we want our new lifestyles to take root and really create change within us, we have to drop the self-judgment. Our lifestyles have to include self-acceptance, and we must show ourselves patience, compassion and understanding. We have to remember that our unhealthy lifestyles have taken years to develop. We’ve been perpetuating many of the same unhealthy habits for most of our lives. The thought patterns that hurt us, the behaviors that are self-destructive and the mental health issues we’re struggling with have all taken years of our lives to become what they are. They won’t change overnight, and we must be patient with ourselves. We will want to implement our new habits one or two at a time, and we shouldn’t expect overnight transformation. Change happens incrementally. We’re striving for progress not perfection. We’ll want to remind ourselves regularly that there is no perfect way of living. There is no perfect lifestyle. Perfection is unattainable. The more we seek to be perfect or to measure up to other people, the more we hinder our progress. The healthiest lifestyles are the ones that we put time and care into developing. When we are living a healthy lifestyle in recovery, we’re conscientiously putting our time energy into healing.
Lifestyles that serve us in recovery are ones that holistically take our whole lives and our whole beings into account. When we’ve been living with the addiction and developing self-destructive tendencies, one of the most important lifestyle changes is abstinence from our addictive substance or behavior of choice. Abstinence is only one part of the equation however. We will want to transform our lives in a profound way that covers every area of our self-destructiveness. Along with abstinence, we’ll want to get back to self-care, something many of us have been neglecting for so long because we’ve been prioritizing maintaining our addictions. We’ll want to create a spiritual practice for ourselves that helps us feel grounded, that enables us to tackle our everyday struggles, including our addictive urges and temptation. We’ll want to create habits that foster good health. We’ll need to examine why we’ve lost our sense of self-respect and self-love in the first place.
Our new lifestyles in recovery will be the foundation for staying sober. Our sobriety is only as meaningful as the lifestyles we create for ourselves. Our new thought patterns, emotional responses and behaviors will reflect our lifelong goals of wellness, happiness and inner peace. As we work to change our habits, we’ll start to notice shifts within ourselves that make these goals a reality. We’ll start to think with more clarity and positivity. We’ll start to monitor our feelings more, knowing that our mental and emotional health depends on it. We’ll choose relationships that reflect our desire for happiness and peace. We’ll choose behaviors and habits that serve us rather than harm us. Our recovery process is a lifelong journey of self-transformation. Our lifestyles are the foundation upon which we grow into our higher selves.
The treatment programs at Riverside Recovery include multiple kinds of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy, weekly family therapy sessions and monthly family workshops, in order to help you examine your old lifestyle and create a new, healthier one for yourself and your loved ones. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.