Addiction wreaks havoc on your life in so many ways, and it’s especially damaging your health for a few reasons.
First, when you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re not as likely to practice self-care. This includes eating balanced nutritious meals, exercising, and sleeping well.
Additionally, there’s a good chance your substance of choice was actively depleting your body of essential nutrients when you were using.
For example, alcohol inhibits the absorption of vital nutrients like thiamin, vitamin B12, folic acid, and zinc. Alcohol also depletes the body of carotenoids, a major source of vitamin A and E in the liver.
While you’re under the influence, health likely isn’t a top priority, but you may begin to feel the effects of substance abuse on your health.
So, if you’re in this position now, it’s time to reclaim your health.
Healing Your Body
Once you’ve surpassed the intense physical detox, it’s time to re-learn how to function without drugs or alcohol. This is a time to nurture your body to help it heal and grow stronger.
First, focus on committing to a healthy diet. You’ve already kicked a major detrimental substance abuse habit, so it’s okay to be kind to yourself. You don’t have to create a diet of deprivation in order to be healthy. In fact, that’s probably the worst thing you can do. When you feel deprived in recovery, you may find it harder to stay sober.
Instead, allow yourself to have some of your favorite junk foods in moderation. Just be sure to fill your diet with fresh fruits and vegetables so you can get all the nutrients your body is so desperately craving. And a little dessert every now and again won’t hurt either. Again, it’s all about moderation.
You can do this by making small food swaps throughout your day. Maybe choose fresh veggies instead of french fries or kale chips instead of potato chips.
Prepare food and snacks ahead of time, so you don’t have to make last-minute food choices and succumb to harmful cravings.
Exercise is another important part of reclaiming your health. And the good news is that you don’t have to go overboard to live a healthy lifestyle.
Commit to going for a walk after dinner each night, taking a morning jog, or working out at your favorite gym. Choose something you enjoy that works with your schedule, so you’ll stick with it. When it comes to exercise after getting sober, sustainability is more important than intensity. Start a daily practice that you’ll enjoy for years.
And if you’re having trouble sticking to a routine, consider enlisting the help of a workout buddy or group fitness class. Accountability often helps people meet their fitness goals.
Healing Your Mind
Getting healthy after getting sober is about more than just taking care of your physical health. Your mental health is equally important, especially if you want to avoid relapse.
In the early days of recovery, be sure you have a sound support system in place and cut ties with anyone who is toxic to your recovery. Keep in close contact with your sponsor and maintain honest and open communication with your loved ones. No one does this alone, so be sure you have a great support system in place to help you through the difficult times.
And when you’ve passed the rehab stage, you may want to seriously consider continuing therapy beyond group counseling. Your mental and emotional health is worth it.
Meditation is another excellent tool to help you reclaim your health after getting sober. Meditation helps train your mind to spend more time in the present moment.
As you probably already know, recovery isn’t a straight line. It has many ups and downs, and if you plan to stay sober for the long term, you’re going to have to take it day by day.
Reclaiming your health after getting sober is about more than just avoiding substance abuse triggers. That’s an important part of the journey, but we all must take care to look after our physical and mental health along the way.
This is a marathon and not a sprint, so if you have a bad day, know that there’s another right around the bend.