Routine in Recovery
As a general rule, we are believers in the power of routine in recovery.
A good slate of routines can go a long way toward helping you maintain your sobriety. For example, it is a good idea to have a set of routines around things like attending 12-Step (or other) recovery meetings, meeting with your sponsor, going to therapy, and the like.
It is also smart to stick to some routines around getting enough sleep, eating nutritious food, and getting enough exercise. Each of those areas of life are important to both your physical and mental health—and physical and mental well-being are important foundations for your ongoing sobriety.
And we also believe it is smart to include social activities and spiritual practice into your schedule of routines. Making time to see supportive friends and family provides a boost to your recovery. So does spending time in some sort of spiritual practice that works well for you; prayer, mediation, mindfulness, yoga, artistic expression, or other options can support your efforts to maintain your sobriety.
Routines v. Ruts
Again, we think establishing these and similar routines in your life can be extremely helpful as a strategy for staying sober.
But there are routines, and then there are ruts. And when a routine becomes a rut, it is likely time to make a change. The change may be temporary or permanent, but in either case, escaping a rut is a smart move for those in recovery.
The Risks of a Rut
One of the primary reasons a rut can be problematic for a person in recovery from a substance use disorder is the danger of boredom. Keeping boredom at bay supports your sobriety because you are less likely to return to drugs or alcohol as a way to lessen what often feels like a negative emotion.
Boredom can sneak up on you, so it is important to be vigilant. For example, it might not immediately occur to you that you are in a rut when it comes to your exercise routine. Your commitment to regular exercise may carry you along for quite some time before you start to notice that you never look forward to exercising (or even come to dread it). Once you do notice, however, there’s a strong likelihood that you might start skipping your workout or bike rides or dance class or pickup game with your friends.
That might be no big deal in the short run, but it could lead to trouble if it goes on too long.
Reset When You Are in a Rut
How do you overcome a rut? The key might be to shake up the routine. If your workout isn’t working for you anymore, the answer isn’t to give up pursuing physical health. Instead, the answer is to find something that does work for you.
And that advice applies no matter which of your routines has become a rut. You could try a different 12-Step meeting (or a different program all together); you could shift from meditation to yoga; you could change up your winddown routine before bed. After all, there is no “one way” to do any of the things that support your recovery. A little variety can be a wonderful thing.
Again, that variety might be temporary (after some time trying yoga or other spiritual practices, you might find yourself eager to return to your original approach) or permanent (maybe swimming replaces jogging as your exercise of choice).
The important thing is to recognize the rut as it is forming and then make a healthy change to keep it from becoming an issue.
If You Are Stuck in a Rut of Substance Use, We Can Help
A substance use disorder might well be described as a deep, deep rut. You keep taking drugs or using alcohol over and over. And if you try to stop? You are faced with difficult withdrawal symptoms—including strong cravings—that are likely to send you right back where you started. The rut just keeps getting deeper, and it can easily seem as though it is impossible to escape.
But it isn’t.
At Bel Aire Recovery Center in Kansas, we have the expertise, experience, and compassion necessary to help you get sober. And we offer access to the support, resources, and strategies you will need to stay sober. If you are ready to pull yourself out of the rut of substance use, we are ready to give you the push you need to get moving in the right direction.