At first, a recovering addict is to going to focus on getting sober. Sobriety is going to take center stage at the beginning few years of recovery. However, later in recovery, there are other areas of life to tend to and heal. It’s not only the physical, emotional, and psychological; recovery can also mean healing the financial, relational, and vocational parts of your life too.
Re-Building a Lifestyle
Fortunately, one of the wonderful things about recovery is that it is entire life change. You’re not only ending your addiction, you’re ending a lifestyle. In recovery, you have the opportunity to put your focus on health, happiness, and building a new future. Part of this re-building is restoring the areas of your life that might have been harmed while experiencing addiction.
Once you’ve become sober and you feel solid in your ability to stay sober, you may want to look at the many areas of your life. In fact, this is not just a suggestion for perfecting your life, tending to all areas of your life is pivotal for recovery. Recognizing this, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) outlined and promoted eight dimensions of wellness. These include:
- Emotional—Being able to manage life effectively and sustain satisfying relationships
- Environmental—Ensuring that the environments in which you spend time are pleasant, stimulating, and support well-being
- Financial–Finding satisfaction with current and future financial situations
- Intellectual—Recognizing your creative and intellectual abilities as well as finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
- Occupational—Getting personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning from one’s work
- Physical—Recognizing the necessity for exercise, healthy foods and sleep
- Social—Having strong connections with others, having a sense of belonging, and developing a network of support
- Spiritual—Expanding your sense of purpose and meaning in life
Making Your Life Work Together
If you wanted to give these areas of your life some attention, you might begin by rating each of these from 1 to 10 based upon your level of satisfaction. For instance, if you feel entirely unsatisfied with your social life, then you would give this a rating of 1. However, if you feel like your social life is fulfilling and that you have strong connections with others, then perhaps your rating would be a 10. Doing this for all the areas of life listed above can give you a good sense of what’s working well in your life and what is not working so well. From there you can create a plan to focus on the areas of your life that need healing.
It’s important to remember that it’s not necessary to make each area of your life a 10. Instead, your goal is to focus on how to make each of these life areas work together. Having 8’s in all of your life areas might feel more balanced than having a few 10’s, some 5’s, and some 2’s. Balancing your life so that all the areas are working for you is ideal.
As you work on these areas of your life, remember that you can set meaningful goals. Having goals to work toward and something to look forward to can be powerful antidotes to drug addiction. It doesn’t matter what the goals are, just that they are important to you. And you can solicit help so that you’re not going after these goals alone, but instead you have a network of support to facilitate the process of healing your life.