Like most of us who’ve experienced the roller coaster highs and lows of being addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, I’ve never found my life “boring.” Still, there certainly have been times since getting clean-and-sober when I recognized the energy I was feeling about my daily recovery program wasn’t up to par, was missing something. Given I learned early on in recovery the value of “taking action” (and by following that suggestion on a daily basis, I’m enjoying my 23rd year living free from active addiction), here are a solid handful of tips for boosting your daily recovery program and energizing your enthusiasm about this “new way of life.”
1. “Embrace change by starting to change your routines.” The alcoholic/addict in me would get into ruts—doing the same thing the same way, over and over—that would often last months or even years! Same food, same activities, day in and day out. Of course boredom would set in! But in recovery, I was reminded I have a choice and could, whenever I wanted to, change things up and enjoy something new in my life! Switching up the activities I’d gotten locked into or selecting new items from the grocery store or the restaurant menu began adding some “spice” to my day and fresh sentiments about being alive and in recovery. Choosing a new sport or hobby to engage in, a new book to read or class to take, attending different recovery meetings than you’d formerly gone to, talking with new people in recovery and widening your recovery network… all of these “adjustments” to your routine can energize you in untold ways and bring significant rewards, if you’re willing to try them out.
2. “Live in the present moment.” So often, especially in early recovery, we can find ourselves focusing on the future (“What if…?”) or the past (“If only I would have…”), which inevitably leads to anxiety, fear, guilt or shame. By redirecting our attention back onto the present and seeking to identify what’s currently on our plate and what’s the “next right thing to do,” we’re actually energizing ourselves in the healthiest way possible. We’re engaging ourselves with Reality with a capital “R”! Because the fact is, none of us can change what has already happened, and none of us can control what will happen in the future. What will contribute most to improving the quality of your life and well-being? What you choose to do right now. Choose to keep bringing your attention back to the present moment and deciding how to live best from there!
3. “Get your mojo working.” You want to shift gears and immediately “up” how you feel about your life in recovery? Start exercising daily! Even if it’s just for a few minutes! (You can always extend the amount of time and activity you put you’re your new exercise routine.) he fact is, regular exercise helps balance your body weight, boosts your immune system, increases your energy and—hey, look at that!—enhances your brain’s dopamine levels… so you literally feel better! And this is coming from evidence-based science, People! So as the saying goes, “Try it, you’ll like it!”
4. “Feng Shui (simplify) your life.” When we come into recovery, many (if not most) of us feel overwhelmed by the state our lives are in. Whether it’s troubles and struggles with our work, our finances, our relationships, the “stuff” in our lives (literally the stuff in our rooms, our houses, our closets, our garages)… the lists of what we are being called to “deal with” when we get clean-and-sober go on and on. Well, as for the physical stuff, the ancient Eastern practice of “feng shui” (transl. “wind-water”) invites us to do what we can to restructure our physical environments, including where we work, live, sleep, eat and relax, in such a way that they’re simple and uncluttered, thereby (according to the guiding principles of this practice) allowing for the greatest flow of “good energy.” By getting rid of what you do not use, do not need or do not really like, you’re making way for a new, revitalized and more serene sense of your home and/or your work environment. The results may surprise you… including a revitalized appreciation and gratitude for where you spend much of your time, including where you do any of your recovery activities!
By bringing one, some or all of these suggestions into greater focus each day, and sincerely putting in the effort to “do things differently to get a different result,” you’ll very likely begin to feel a renewed enthusiasm about and connection with your recovery, as well as a rising sense of satisfaction at the changes you’ve been willing to make—gratefully—to stay clean-and-sober, one day at a time.