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How to Avoid a Recovery Rut

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March 8, 2021

When we first come into recovery, whether by way of rehab, counseling, or a 12-step program, many of us are inundated with new experiences. Our days may be filled with therapy, support group meetings, and other activities designed to show us a new way to live. But as we learn to integrate these techniques into our daily lives, the initial excitement of sobriety (sometimes referred to as the “pink cloud”) can begin to subside.

If you’re finding yourself feeling less enthusiastic than you did in the beginning of your journey, here are some tips on how to avoid getting into a recovery rut.stressed woman at computer unable to avoid a recovery rut

1. Write a Gratitude List

It’s easy to take things for granted when life gets busy—we are human beings and it happens to the best of us. Writing a gratitude list is a common practice for people in recovery for this very reason. It reminds us of the good things in our lives, both big and small, which can help put the more challenging aspects of daily living into perspective. Research also shows that having a daily gratitude practice can help boost mood, improve self-esteem, and reduce stress.

2. Practice Self-Care

While getting sober involves taking responsibility for our actions and making better life choices, it’s also about learning how to love and care for ourselves. This includes nourishing our bodies with healthy food, exercise, and a consistent sleep schedule—things we may not have been doing when we were active in our addiction. It also means carving out time to rest, recharge, and enjoy relaxing self-care activities such as reading a book, going for a walk, taking a hot bath, or watching a movie.

3. Help Someone Else

If you’re part of a 12-step fellowship, you may have heard the expression “service keeps you sober.” It really is true—one of the best ways to break out of a recovery rut is to be of service to someone else. Now that you’ve got some sober time under your belt, you’re in an excellent position to offer support to someone else who is new or struggling in the program. In addition to helping another person stay sober, paying it forward can enrich your own recovery by reminding you of how far you’ve come and how much you have to offer others.

Remembering to Avoid a Recovery Rut

The most important thing to remember if you feel yourself slipping into a recovery rut is that you are not alone. Everyone experiences ups and downs in sobriety and what matters most is that you are willing to ask for help when you need it. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside—get support by sharing your feelings with a friend, a therapist, or a recovery support group.

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