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Getting a Fresh Start on Recovery Road

If you’ve begun your recovery journey, you’ve already resolved to live a happier, healthier life free from drugs and alcohol this year. But recovery takes more than resolve, or even a stay in a rehab facility.

Hospitals and treatment centers give people a place to get substances out of their systems and learn coping strategies in a safe, stress-free environment. Returning to the wider world is a necessary step in the recovery process, though, and potential relapse triggers can turn up almost anywhere. It isn’t always easy to establish a recovery routine to minimize triggers and temptations, but it is possible. Here are some tips to help you not just survive the new year sober, but thrive in 2018.

At Home

It’s important to ensure your home serves a haven during difficult times in recovery and also provides a place where you can come together with supportive friends and family to enjoy and celebrate your new life. Often, your post-rehab renovation starts with a holistic house cleaning.

"First, ask a friend, relative, or professional to assist you in removing everything that you associate with your previous lifestyle. This includes any remaining drugs or alcohol, as well as any paraphernalia,” according to “Then, give the space a good cleaning. Scent can be a powerful trigger, so wash all linens, window coverings, and clothes in a new laundry detergent with a different scent than you’re used to."

Once the basics are taken care of, consider rearranging your space and revising your decor. A fresh coat of paint and a few inexpensive updates -- plants to keep the air clean, colorful area rugs, and inspirational artwork -- can make the space feel fresh. You might also want to carve out an area to entertain friends and family. Hosting gatherings will give you control over the guest list and what is served. Inviting people over will also encourage you to keep your home clean and clutter free, which reduces stress.

In the Community

If alcohol and other substances played a central role in your social life, you might find yourself seeking healthy hobbies or a different group of friends as part of the recovery process. If that’s the case, consider hobbies that will keep you physically active. Research shows exercise can ease feelings of anxiety and depression, which can make relapses more likely. Exercise releases endorphins and other natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain and takes your mind off your worries, according to information from the Mayo Clinic. It can also increase social interaction, bolster confidence, and provide a healthy way to cope with stress, all of which help support success during recovery.

Regular physical activity can also help you control weight and prevent or manage health conditions and concerns including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a number of types of cancer. So exercise can help keep your recovery on track by improving your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It can also introduce you to a group of friends who share your newfound healthy hobby. In fact, there are even some organisations specifically geared toward offering fitness classes, activities, and events for people in recovery.

Staying Focused

Changing your environment, hobbies, and habits will offer you a fresh start after returning from rehab. But you should remember that recovery is a lifelong process. So it’s critical to keep staying sober at the top of your priority list after leaving the hospital or treatment facility. Be sure to stay in touch with professionals who can help you through later stages of your journey and consider joining a support group that shares strategies and success stories.

And, with a clean home and a calendar filled with engaging activities to help keep you happy and healthy in recovery, you’ll soon have plenty of stay-sober tactics of your own to share.

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