5 Ways To Mentally Reset Your Recovery
Hit a wall in your recovery? Take these steps to get out of your slump.
By BETH LEIPHOLTZ
It’s no secret that after you’ve been in recovery for years, it can start to feel a bit routine. It becomes such a normal part of life that we can often forget what it was like in early recovery. Rather than actively engage in our recovery each day, it just becomes part of who we are.
Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can begin to feel like we are disconnected to an extent — in a slump of sorts. As someone who has been in recovery for a little more than six years, I’m no stranger to this feeling. There have been a few instances in which I’ve felt like I’ve hit a wall in recovery. I start to go through the motions and routine rather than actively take part in the day-to-day aspects.
I’ve gotten to the point now where I can recognize this happening and take certain steps to achieve a mental reset of sorts. Here are a few of my favorite ways to reset.
- REMIND YOURSELF WHY YOU GOT SOBER IN THE FIRST PLACE
Often when I’m feeling off and frustrated with my recovery, I realize I haven’t thought back to my motivating factors for getting sober. Personally, I had various reasons. But one of the driving ones was that I just wasn’t happy with the life I was living.
I think in retrospect, we tend to glamorize the time before getting sober while pushing aside the negative aspects. But I encourage you to really spend some time connecting to the reasons that you entered recovery in the first place. When we spend time consciously doing this, we’re reminded that there were several reasons that the life we were living was not the life we wanted. Realizing this makes me personally feel more thankful and at ease in the present moment, and, more than anything, it makes me grateful to be sober.
- CONNECT WITH PEERS IN THE SAME BOAT AS YOU
Because I got sober fairly young, at age 20, having relationships with people who have gone through the same thing has always been important. If I don’t maintain these relationships and connections, I often find myself feeling sorry for myself that I can’t be living life the same way that others my age are living it. But when these relationships are active and thriving, I just feel overwhelmingly lucky to be part of such a group of people.
If you find that you have little to no connections with people who have had similar experiences as you, it’s worth reaching out to try and make those connections. You can do this through in-person recovery meetings, online groups or people you met in treatment. There are so many ways, especially in today’s world, to connect and engage with people all over. Remind yourself to take advantage of that.
- TAKE THE TIME TO GIVE BACK
We’ve all heard it: Getting caught up in ourselves and our own problems can be detrimental to recovery and can lead to only focusing on the negative. When you begin to catch yourself feeling this way, think about the people who helped you early in recovery — because chances are there were a number of them. Think about what they did and said that helped you through the difficult times.
Now think about how you could do the same for someone else. Over time, I’ve found that there’s nothing that gets me out of my own head quite like helping another person who is struggling. Even if you think you don’t, you likely have valuable advice and life experiences that other people can learn from. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to meet one-on-one with someone to share these. Instead, you could speak up at a meeting when you normally wouldn’t or you could even start a blog or video series sharing your story. More often than not, someone out there needs to hear it.
- TALK TO SOMEONE WHO WAS THERE IN THE EARLY DAYS OF YOUR RECOVERY
It’s not always fun to revisit these days, but sometimes it’s necessary. Although we can think back and reflect on what we remember, there’s just something about hearing similar things from another person. Different people remember things in different ways. When you take the time to talk to someone who witnessed your recovery firsthand, you may be reminded of things you’d forgotten or pushed to the side. This person may say something that really clicks and reminds you of the driving factors behind your recovery.
- TAKE THE TIME TO DO SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL ALIVE
Even though this may not seem directly related to resetting your recovery, it has a way of making you feel grateful for the things in your life, including sobriety. For me, this often means grabbing a camera and spending time in nature. Nothing makes me realize the smallness of myself and my seemingly large problems as when I spend time out in the world and take in the enormity of it. For others, this may mean playing a certain sport or reconnecting with an old friend.
The bottom line is that having the ability to do what we love and letting ourselves feel the impact of that is something that we likely lacked when drinking or using drugs. Being able to do that in the present moment is often accompanied by an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and happiness. This, for me at least, is the ultimate reset.
Trust me when I say that I know it’s no fun being in a slump when it comes to recovery, but it happens to everyone at some point or another. Rather than sinking farther and farther into it, do what you can to climb out. Find what works for you, and keep that in mind the next time you start to feel frustrated and burnt out. As with everything in recovery, what works for one person won’t work for everyone. There is no right way. What matters is keeping in mind what is most effective for you and your recovery.
Beth Leipholtz is a Minnesotan girl, navigating sobriety in her early 20s. She writes often and about an array of topics on her website, lifetobecontinued.com. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict with a degree in communication and is currently working as a full-time reporter while doing freelance design and writing on the side.