100 Tips for Building a Strong Recovery
By The Hope Team
The Do’s and Don’ts of Recovery
Giving up alcohol or drugs puts you on the road to a better future, but you have to keep on taking positive action in order to progress. Here are a 100 tips to help you build a strong sobriety following addiction:
- Be grateful for your recovery, this increases the likelihood you will remain clean and sober
- Look at each new day as a fresh start
- Get up before your addiction does, bright and early
- Drink a glass of water when you get up
- Aim for progress – not perfection: the only thing you are expected to do is try your best.
- Be willing and eventually it will happen.
- Do something positive daily: this can be like planting positive karma seeds that will blossom.
- Live in the present moment, don’t waste too much energy thinking about the past or future.
- Use tools like mindfulness so you are not controlled by your thoughts and emotions
- Avoid the tendency to isolate specially when your mood is low.
- Learn to listen to your intuition or higher self – this leads to happiness and fulfilment.
- Stretch yourself and leave your comfort zone: this develops you.
- Reduce the time you spend around negative people.
- Think of failure as part of a process – the only real failureis not trying.
- Develop self-compassion so you can be your own best friend.
- Replace the negative self talk with positive and inspiring thoughts – ‘I can do this’.
- Learn to self-soothe rather than beating yourself up when you make mistakes.
- Get the support you need from fellowship groups of any kind.
- Reduce expectations on others – nobody is perfect.
- Try to be understanding rather than to be understood.
- Blog about recovery: this can strengthen your sobriety and help others.
- Happiness is not about what you can get – its appreciating what you have.
- Aim to be the first to apologise in an argument.
- Write a daily journal.
- Treat difficult times as periods of growth – keep in mind the words of AA founder Bill Wilson, “no personal calamity is so crushing that something true and great can’t be made of it”.
- Have a plan for dealing with relapse triggers hunger,anger, loneliness, and tiredness – HALT
- Learn about the relapse process so you can be aware of warning signs in your behaviour.
- Practice healthy morning routines: yoga or meditation, and get the day off to a good start.
- Understand the importance of nutrition: A balanced diet is the key to a strong sobriety – avoid comfort eating.
- Get some exercise every day even if it is only a 20 minute walk.
- Avoid rigid thinking, seeing things as black or white: This limits your opportunities in life.
- Get involved in some type of volunteer service – this will supercharge your sobriety.
- Do service at a fellowship meeting.
- If you make a mistake, own up to it quickly.
- Don’t waste your time blaming other people for your mistakes – instead just think about how you could have done things differently.
- If someone hurts you, use it as an opportunity to practice compassion.
- Don’t expect any special treatment from life just because you have given up alcohol or drugs.
- Don’t insist that your way is the only right way to recover from addiction – as Bill Wilson once explained “the roads to recovery are many”.
- Always be willing to change your beliefs or opinions if it could mean improving your life.
- Lighten up and have fun – don’t take yourself so seriously.
- Realise that admitting to your limitations, or gaps in knowledge, is a strength and not a weakness.
- Try not to judge other people too harshly – most of us are just trying our best with the cards we have been dealt.
- Value human relationships above all else.
- Don’t worry about what other people think of you because you can never actually know what they think.
- Let go of the idea of ever being able to drink or use drugs again in the future – so long as you hold this door open,sobriety will always be a bit of a struggle
- Don’t romance the drink or drug – combat these thoughts that glamorise substance abuse by remembering how bad it was.
- Try praying sometimes even if you don’t believe in God –it can be a great comfort.
- Repeat positive affirmations to yourself to achieve your goals.
- Have a mantra to help keep you focussed.
- Create a mission statement reflecting your meaning and purpose in life.
- Understand the most important thing you can do to make the world a better place is to be a better person.
- Self fulfilling prophecy: expect good things to happen in the future, this will keep you motivated to do the necessary work to cause these good things to happen.
- The best way to overcome worry and anxiety is to take action.
- Accept compliments because these can boost your motivation.
- Don’t rely on other people for validation – believe in yourself.
- Write letters to yourself in the future (one year, five years, ten years, and twenty years) as this can help you clarify your goals – the website futureme.org is perfect for this.
- The occasional ‘bad day’ is normal, but if things are persistently bad, it usually means you need to change something.
- Don’t feel ashamed of your years of addiction because it got you to where you are today.
- . Understand that often the best you can do to help another person is to fully listen to what they have to say.
- Avoid saying negative things about other people – it makes you look bad, and it there is no real benefit to this type of gossip.
- It is good to have goals in recovery but understand the most amazing things in your future are going to be completely unexpected.
- Don’t spend all of your life waiting to happy – remember the warning of John Lennon “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans”.
- Understand that you can only experience love to the extent that you are willing to open your heart – if you don’t riskbeing hurt, it is hard to experience real love.
- Try to recapture the sense of awe about the world that you experienced as a child.
- Accept that there may not be clear answers to the bigquestions in life, but you can learn to enjoy the mystery of it all.
- Lighten your load in life by learning to forgive – if you want other people to forgive your past mistakes, you need to be willing to do the same for them.
- See the word as a magical place – the fact that we are here at all is already amazing.
- Develop your spiritual life – this doesn’t mean you have to become religious, just walking in nature can be spiritual.
- Accept that things are going to hardly ever turn out exactly as you planned, but this doesn’t have to be a bad thing– in fact, what the universe gives you may often be much better than what you originally wanted.
- Don’t spend more than a couple of hours a day watching TV.
- Delay any decision to relapse by at least one day and use this time to seek advice and support – if 24 hours passes, and you are still thinking of relapse, delay for another day.
- Understand how good nutrition and exercise can help manage symptoms of depression.
- Know that the only way to stay on track in life is to be willing to admit it when you get lost.
- Always be quick to forgive yourself after you mess up, but don’t waste time making excuses or trying to justify bad behaviour – your job is to learn and grow.
- Enjoy a balance of hobbies, interests, and activities in sobriety, so you don’t become too obsessed with one of them.
- Try to have at least one regular physical activity in your life, so you are not always stuck inside your thoughts.
- Try to read one book every month – this will expand your universe.
- Don’t resist your feelings because this is what causes most of your pain – if you are feeling sad don’t make things worse by feeling guilty about being sad.
- Make large goals more manageable by breaking them down into smaller goals – use rewards for achieving each stage as a way to keep you motivated.
- It is recommended you avoid making more major changes to your life in the first year of recovery (e.g. moving house or starting a new romantic relationship).
- If you are unemployed stay positive and keep looking for work – persistence pays off.
- Understand that what is often needed is that you change your perspective on a situation rather than trying to change the situation.
- Remember the serenity prayer – “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
- Build up a network of sober friends – if you are in a fellowship group, collect phone numbers and email addresses.
- Try to always say ‘yes’ to new experiences and opportunities.
- Remember that so long as you are clean and sober, you are doing something right.
- Always be willing to ask for help when you need it because this is the key to success.
- Don’t pray for an easier life – pray for more effective tools for coping with difficulties.
- Learn to rejoice in the achievements of other people.
- Understand that you learn far more from listening than you ever will be talking.
- Devote at least 20 minutes each day to relaxation.
- If you are starting to feel fed up with fellowship meetings,try going to different groups
- Don’t bother with excuses for why you can’t do something– only focus on solutions.
- Never take your recovery for granted because it puts you at higher risk of relapse.
- Learn to delay gratification – the best rewards in life oftenrequire a bit of sacrifice initially.
- Develop positive habits because then doing the right things becomes effortless.
- Develop a beginner’s mind so that you are always able to learn new things.
- Understands that most of your limitations are put there by you.
- If you are able to let go a little in life, your life will improve a little – if you are able to let go a lot, your life will improve a lot.
- Never stop trying to achieve your dreams – don’t give up before the miracle happens.
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