Recovering from an addiction can feel chaotic at first as you go through a roller coaster of emotions and learn how to handle life as a sober person. In order to gain control of your progress in early recovery and get a solid foundation for sobriety, it is important to learn how to structure your environment. Structure is crucial for recovery because it can minimize unnecessary stress and keep your mind a little clearer so that you avoid the type of chaos that can lead to collapse and relapse.
Before entering recovery, addicts can lack structure in their lives because much of their thoughts and actions revolve around drug use leaving little energy for everything else. In recovery, addicts must take time to create a structure for their environment that is conducive to sobriety and keeps them focused on their goals.
Creating a Schedule
One of the first ways to begin adding structure is to set up a schedule that is simple and easy to follow. A key part of being successful in recovery is having a routine that isn’t too overwhelming but also not too empty. You want to be able to have a predictable routine that isn’t full of endless tasks and to-do lists that you never have time to finish. Failing to complete all the duties and chores you set for yourself could leave you feeling frustrated and stressed.
On the other hand not having enough to do or giving yourself too much free time could leave you feeling bored and more inclined to have cravings. Create a schedule with a list of essential activities and develop a routine that helps you feel focused and motivated to stay sober. Make sure to stick to this schedule and don’t allow others to convince to do more than you feel able to do. Although people may have certain expectations of you, it is important to respect your boundaries and do what is best for your recovery.
Focusing on Health
Sometimes when a person is dealing with an addiction the most fundamental aspects of their health get neglected. They may have had a poor diet, little exercise or not enough sleep for a long time. One of the important steps in creating better structure in recovery is to create a better diet, exercise and sleep routine that will keep you feeling your best and help to repair some of the physical damage caused by your addiction and inattention to your health.
Eating wholesome, natural foods and minimizing high fat, sugary and processed foods can dramatically improve your health and mood. Making sure to exercise a few times and week and get a minimum of eight hours of sleep every night to keep in good physical shape. Your physical health and wellness should be a top priority in early recovery so that you have the energy and mental focus to work on achieving your sobriety goals.
While in early recovery, a part of your structure should be attending meetings as much as possible. Support group meetings give you the chance to stay involved in the recovery community and connected with your own goals. Maintaining a network of people that are there for you in times of need through attending meetings can help you feel more stable throughout your journey. Meetings should be a permanent part of your schedule whether you choose to go once a week or even every day if you need the extra support. Talking to other people in meetings can also give you a chance to ask for advice and get more ideas about how they created structure in their lives.