Many are taking advantage of this unprecedented time to turn their lives around, starting healthy new habits, learning new skills, learning new things, and much more. Now, this may seem quite easy to those who don’t have substance abuse disorders or co-occurring disorders; for those who do suffer from them, though, this time may seem a little overwhelming.
I’d like to give some advice on making sure that your home or living situation is a healthy environment that nurtures recovery, whether you’re starting or continuing it. You can remember this as the three Ps of recovery, Preparation, Processing, and Positivity.
Having known several people in and out of alcohol rehabs throughout New England, and some close friends in sober houses in MA, I have witnessed how a residential treatment program has been specifically designed to look after the physical and mental well-being of people with addiction problems. I’d like to offer some ideas from the people who have been in such places to make your home your own residential treatment center.
The most commonly recurring piece of advice I’ve heard is to make sure the space you’re living in is free from addictive substance, paraphernalia, and reminders. Things like shot glasses or movie posters depicting alcohol or drug use can be incredibly triggering to the subconscious mind. This is key to keep your mind on the positive progress you’re making.
What can seem most daunting to many people with substance abuse problems is coming to terms with all the repressed thoughts and emotions that they have unsuccessfully bottled up or ran away from. When these feelings finally come to the surface, it can result in feeling an overwhelming amount of anger, grief, and shame. This is an integral part of recovery, which is why many rehabilitation centers offer therapy to let people share and come to terms with this pain.
Having supportive and loving people around you is integral in processing these feelings, and at this time, when we cannot simply go out and see friends, it’s important to have some people you can contact any time you need. Many of New England’s rehab centers are offering over-the-phone counseling services, via phone or video call. Taking advantage of this could be the defining factor in the successful beginning or continuation of a recovery; don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Staying positive can also be a defining factor in a successful recovery. This can be achieved through a good routine of exercise, eating healthily, and sleeping well, and here are some more tips for getting or keeping positive at this time.
Spring cleaning is an ancient tradition found in several cultures around the world, the idea being, to remove unnecessary items in preparation for new times and new prosperity. This can be a perfect time to go through your possessions and get rid of things you may not need, especially donating to charities in your local area, which might be struggling at this time.
This time is also a great opportunity to learn something you’ve always wanted, whether artistic, musical, or educational. There are a plethora of cheap or free online resources which can at least give you a place to start. A bonus tip for any parents is to teach your children some life skills you felt were missing from your own education.
Finally, remember to give yourself breaks, both physically and mentally during this time. Giving your body and mind a rest can be integral in making sure you keep the good habits going. Who knows? Maybe the pandemic will be a positive time for you.
Utilizing what is relevant to you and coming up with your own initiatives, I hope you start or continue your recovery in the best way possible, making sure your living situation supports you.