What, a recovery lifestyle doesn’t sound like it would be good at warfare?

I beg to differ. A happy recovery lifestyle is the best defense you have against an addicted lifestyle.

First, before you judge, do you know what a recovery lifestyle is?

Yes, addiction recovery starts with putting down a drink or drug, or whatever the addictive substance or behavior is, but then A LOT more has to happen for most people to recover. It’s not like putting down the drug or behavior, and the brain suddenly becomes wired right. The brain doesn’t know what is healthy or unhealthy, so it will do other weird things. Then, with a healthy recovery, we’re not just talking about recovering someone back to health and wellness. There is still trauma, mental health issues, shame, possibly debt, self-esteem problems, codependency issues, and other emotional problems can accompany an addiction disorder. What if you have a still-active alcoholic family that is no support whatsoever. Sounds awesome, right? Who wouldn’t want addiction in the family and to be newly sober??

But, don’t forget, what we’re working for is real change. That takes time and work. It’s hard. It’s annoying and often inconvenient. At times, you feel like you’re going backwards. Then, one day you wake up, and everything has changed. The promises have come true. You’ve done some work and seen results. Most of all you feel good.

This is the recovery lifestyle…

How about a new life where you’re happy, healthy, thriving, successful, love what you do, practice gratitude and service, and are in good shape? You have a healthy relationships with food, AND your body. Sex is part of a loving relationship, or whatever floats your boat, and you NEVER wake up hating yourself. That is where the necessity of the recovery lifestyle comes in.

This is your new, better life

The life where you find yourself in recovery, your new self, is better and stronger and deeper. When you take the time to heal and grow and learn, you actually do become everything you always hoped you would be. A recovery lifestyle can include anything you want in it, and that’s the fun part. It grows with time, and you learn to love and practice more and more healthy components. That’s been my experience anyway.

Every area of my life is full. I’m surrounded by love and light, and I adore the people close to me. Please note: This is the opposite of what my life was, and I can’t even write about my past anymore because it causes me too much pain to remember that I lived that way and did those things. My recovery life is where I found Nichiren Buddhism, EMDR, sculpting, sound baths and countless other things that make my life so incredible. I found healthy relationships, best friends, sober sisters, and most of all self-acceptance and even some confidence.

My Recovery Lifestyle Has 5 Parts

Spirituality

Spirituality is critical. It reminds me that I am not in charge and really helps take the pressure off me when I’m worried about something. My spirituality has changed a lot and I’m sure it will change more. At the moment, it includes prayer, meditation, chanting, being in nature, playing with the dogs, and those private moments where I get to be a good person in the world. I didn’t enter recovery with any spirituality whatsoever. In fact, I resented it. So, don’t feel bad if you have to start small and slow. My first God was a dog. It has evolved and changed many times over the years. I suspect it will change more as time goes on.

Exercise

For a million important reasons, we need to exercise. For recovering addicts, it will help with mood and endorphins, so it will literally make you feel better! It helps with physical health. It is wonderful for daily mental health and can provide amazing supportive communities. Seriously, want to make friends? Join a crossfit, Soul Cycle, The Sculpt Society – they literally have communities where I personally have made friends. I can’t say enough about exercise. Even getting outside for a walk now and then. Want to get out of your head? Move your body.

Coaching

This is different for everyone. I’m always in and out of therapy and coaching. I need support. I need people with good judgment helping me to make important decisions. I overreact, I get offended, I’m capable of self-destruction. Having people in my life who are there to make sure I’m doing well and staying on the track I want to be on is such a relief. Maybe you don’t believe in therapy, but joining some club might interest you. It’s not just about therapy or coaching, it’s about getting support for whatever you’re going through and having someone there to cheer you on as you work on your goals. When it comes to love, work, family, and most relationships, therapists and coaches have saved my ass many times. My first response is often wrong and I hate having to apologize for it.

Nutrition

The recovery lifestyle must include food, however I am not a nutritionist. I have no real experience with this. All I know, is that when I learned how to eat in healthier ways and think about food as fuel not comfort my life got better. I don’t subscribe to diets or how anyone should look. I subscribe to feeling good about myself! For me, that meant learning how to eat in a way that leaves me satisfied and still happy with the way I look. Everyone is different, I couldn’t speak to how anyone else should handle their food!! Meal kits have been helpful and as my recovery got stronger, eating issues lessened.

Career/Advocacy

Self-esteem is a killer. It’s one of the worst things we deal with when we come into recovery. The shame of being behind, lost, considered a loser, and on and on. This is why sober jobs are recommended in early recovery. They keep you accountable but they also help you build self-esteem through small esteemable acts. You know your recovery is beginning to work when you feel proud not ashamed all the time. Once sobriety is stable, getting on a path where you are working respectable jobs or supporting causes that are important to you is another piece of this recovery lifestyle pie that holds it all together. When you stand for nothing, you fall for anything. When you stand for something, especially recovery and our rights as recovering people, you’ll be amazed at how fast a passion can grow. How believing in something can help you believe in yourself.

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Lindsey Glass

Lindsey Glass is the co-founder of Reach Out Recovery. Her 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World Of Recovery, has helped to lift the stigma from addiction and recovery and is used in recovery programs nationwide to show what life is like on the other side of addiction. Lindsey's teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, was distributed to PBS stations nationwide by American Public Television in 2014-15. Lindsey has written dozens of popular articles on recovery. She is a recovery advocate and frequent keynote speaker. Lindsey is the author of 100 Tips for Growing Up, My 20 Years of Recovery, 2019. Before focusing on recovery, Lindsey was a TV and screenwriter. She has worked in publishing, web development, and marketing.

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