10 Ways to Love Your Life in Recovery

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Milestones in life—e.g., a new year, an unexpected job change, big birthdays, marriage, divorce, etc.—often prompt people to assess their lives and where they’re headed. In doing so, we tend to focus on things we don’t like about ourselves or our circumstances. We pinpoint everything from unwanted pounds to financial setbacks as factors to be fixed.

While eliminating or limiting the negatives is certainly a valuable endeavor, it’s equally as important to focus on and enhance the positives. Especially in recovery, it’s critical to identify and make time for things that bring us joy. After all, sidestepping substances is a lot easier when we’re also striding toward positive activities, people, and endeavors.

So here are 10 ways you can actively love your life in recovery.

  1. Make a gratitude list. If you’re not sure what’s truly enjoyable in your life of sobriety, take some time to really think about all you have to be thankful for. Do you have a safe place to sleep at night? Are you eating healthier? Do you have fewer colds or infections or maybe more energy? Do you feel better about yourself? Do you have less fear of eviction, job loss, or arrest? Do you have people in your life that you care about and who care about you? Simply writing down all you have to be grateful for—and maybe even posting this list somewhere in your home as a reminder—can help you to stay present and focus on the positive.
  2. Remember something nice that you’ve done for someone else. Did you ever cover for someone at work? Have you helped someone older—or shorter—get something from the top shelf at the grocery store? Have you given someone a gift they really wanted or weren’t expecting? Those little moments in your life where you put someone else first or performed simple acts of kindness can build your self-confidence and deliver a host of warm fuzzies. Identify them and repeat them. Woman in recovery
  3. Seek out things you enjoy. What are a few of your favorite things? Maybe it’s a favorite band, a great cup of coffee, a nap, clothes that make you feel confident, or even memes that make you laugh. Make a point of identifying and then participating in things you enjoy as often as possible.
  4. Celebrate with someone else. If someone you know is celebrating a sober birthday, having a baby, getting married, moving, or doing something else that they are really excited about, take time out to celebrate with them and share in the joy. Joy begets joy.
  5. Limit time with negative people. Give yourself permission to sidestep toxic environments and/or people that steal your joy. Politely exit conversations that are going nowhere, don’t answer texts or calls from people who are toxic to your recovery, and do your best to avoid people who dim your light. Bottom line: Saying “no” to some people and things allows you more room to say “yes” to amazing people and activities that light your fire.
  6. Go for a walk. Changing up your scenery and getting outside can help pull you out of a bad mood, shift your perspective, and give you a little exercise at the same time.
  7. Hug one of your people. Make time to literally connect with people in person, be it a hug, a peck on the cheek, or simply a quiet sit-down for coffee. Seek out a close friend, a niece or nephew, a sibling, a parent, or a new sober acquaintance and make an in-person connection a priority.
  8. Get cozy. What makes you feel warm, safe, and protected, both physically and in your recovery? Is it a warm blanket by the fire, a cherished pet, coffee and conversation with your siblings? Make yourself comfortable and choose to infuse your life with the things that inspire you most.
  9. Smile. Even if it is forced, a smile can help lower your stress levels and make you feel better about life. Plus, the disarming effect of a smile can infuse warmth and positive energy into practically any situation.
  10. Remind yourself that this is just the beginning. Take stock of all you have learned in active addiction and in treatment—and consider all that lies in front of you in terms of opportunity and growth potential. Once you step into recovery, you’ve entered an incredible moment in your life. Give yourself permission to focus on the good things you have earned and enjoy all life has to offer.
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