Regaining Structure and Control
You have probably noticed that life before rehab used to be unmanageable, chaotic and out of control. That’s what addiction does, takes over your life and puts it upside down. It makes you prioritize drinking/use and stop attending your meetings, doing your chores and fulfilling your daily commitments.
For those who are in an inpatient program the routines have been already set up. The major challenge is adapting to them and afterwards, creating your own schedule. In the other hand, when you are part of an outpatient program you have to set your own routines from the very beginning, and even when you receive help from your sponsor and peers, almost the entire responsibility relies on you.
- A structured recovery schedule reduces the uncertainty of a chaotic life and the stress and anxiety of the unexpected events. By following a routine, you will be less exposed to the pressures of the outside world and to a hypothetical relapse.
- Without a structured routine the recovery would be much more difficult. During rehabilitation you have so many different things to deal with: going back home, rebuilding relationships, finding a job, pay your bills, etc. Especially the start can be very overwhelming. Structure helps you deal with this pressure by organizing your chores and making your adaptation to this new lifestyle more manageable.
- An organized behavior is the reflect of an organized mind, and vice versa. Our brains and behavior are connected in a two- way process. Everything you do will have an impact on your thoughts and ideas as well as everything you think will affect your behavior. Having a structured life will allow you to think and behave in an organized and non- chaotic way.
- It helps you prioritize your own health and well- being. This routine will be filled with activities aimed at your recovery and the creation of healthy habits. By prioritizing your well- being, you will also be working on your self- esteem, self- discipline and staying accountable of your own progress.
- It helps you stay productive and become a functional member of society. Even if you stay clean, you can’t overcome chaos with more chaos, which sooner or later could drag you back into more self- destructive habits. By having a structured routine with your daily chores and tasks you are powering up your productivity and learning time management skills.
- It gives you a tangible way to measure success. Every day you follow your schedule and cross off all your tasks is a day you had succeed!
- It keeps you busy. Although recreation and rest are a must for those wanting to live a healthy life, having too much spare time can make you vulnerable to temptations.
- Finally, the lack of structure makes it difficult to get back on track and stick to healthier habits. Not having a set routine is giving yourself permission to be inconsistent, and that is exactly what you need to avoid if you want to meet your goal of lifelong sobriety.
- Nutrition: Plan and cook healthy meals, three a day at set times.
- Exercise: At least 45 min exercise per day. Not only it will increase your physical health and resistance but it will also help you feel energized and improve your mood.
- Set wake- up and bed times. Make sure to get 6 to 8 hours sleep a day.
- Recreational activities.
- Quality time with friends and family: Having a strong support system is a key aspect of recovery; make sure to give them and yourself enough time to enjoy this new stage of your life.
- Daily and weekly appointments. Prioritize everything related to the rehabilitation program: support groups, medical appointments, psychologist, etc.
- Work / study time.
- Self - care and hygiene routines
Functional Recovery Life
- Make it simple: having too many chores, assignments and duties can be as overwhelming as having no routine at all. It can let you feeling too tired or frustrated when you don’t manage to do all your tasks or attending all your scheduled meetings. Just keep the essential tasks in your daily schedule, start with the basics and progressively add new time slots and activities.
- Start creating structure by organizing your home and office. It is not only a great first step to develop some structure, but it will also help you stick to your new habits and routines. These environments are a reflection of your internal reality, so make sure to have them clean and organized.
- Apply structure consciously by practicing healthy habits and recognizing the external and internal aspects that can put your routine –and sobriety- at risk.