This weeks blog comes to us from our guest Bethany at Preventaddiction.info
Anyone who’s ever struggled with a drug or alcohol problem knows that checking yourself into rehab and maintaining sobriety is only half the battle. Getting your life back on track can be even more daunting. But before getting started, it’s important to release the shame of the addiction itself, or it can be impossible to have the confidence and fortitude to move forward. Once you let go of shame, it’s time to focus on repairing your life. Here are the key things that should be on every recovery survivor’s to-do list.
Tweak your resume so that it only reflects key employment experiences, and don’t feel pressured to tell the truth about a time gap. It’s completely okay to say you had to take time off to deal with a family situation. Craft a strong cover letter that outlines all of your strengths so that these points can be a topic of discussion should you get an interview. Tap local job resources that cater to recovery survivors, as they can provide guidance, education, and placement assistance.
Fixing Financial Ruin
Between losing jobs to spending every last dime to feed an addiction, it’s not uncommon for recovery survivors to struggle with debt long after sobriety. Once you acquire a job, create a plan to pay down your debt. While bankruptcy can relieve this pressure, it should only be a last resort, as it can make it difficult — if not impossible — to rent or buy a car or house. Consider entering a consolidation program and/or speaking with a financial advisor to help lower your interest rates and put things into perspective. You may also want to work with a credit repair specialist, especially if you have a lower credit score than you think you should have. All too often in addiction, people are financially abused while they’re under the influence, and if your credit score suddenly took a plunge, it’s possible someone you once used with stole one of your credit cards or even your identity. A credit repair pro can help remove these errors from your report, thereby boosting your score.
Make an appointment with your doctor before starting any new program, as there may be some underlying conditions (osteoporosis, heart problems, etc.) that occurred during the abuse period. Establish a healthy eating routine that’s void of sugar and junk food, and opt for easily digestible foods (think fruits, vegetables, and rice) to counteract symptoms of withdrawal. Gradually add in lean protein, healthy fats (think salmon and avocados), nuts, and a wide array of veggies. When it comes to exercise, it may be smart to start slowly by walking outdoors to get your body used to functional movement while reaping the benefits from mood- and bone-boosting vitamin D.
Starting a New Hobby — Or Rediscovering an Old One
Considering that you need to occupy your time with something other than an illicit substance, Health News Digest explains that there’s never been a better time to pick up a few new hobbies. However, make sure the activity — and any other individuals participating — won’t trigger a relapse. If venturing to faraway places is your favorite pastime, you’re going to have to learn how to travel without the temptation of margaritas on the beach and drug-infused parties, so consider signing up for a sober vacation where you can learn to have fun without being under the influence. Consider getting a dog, as it’s been proven that hounds can help recovery survivors stay sober by decreasing stress, replacing feelings of emptiness with feelings of love, and promoting activity via daily walks and exercise. Taking care of a dog can actually be a lifesaving hobby.
According to Everyday Health, relationships of all kinds take a toll when one is addicted to drugs and alcohol, yet there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to repairing them once you’re sober. Each relationship needs individualized attention and ample time to heal — this is another reason why it’s so important to let go of feelings of shame first. You’ll have to humble yourself and realize that some relationships may be too damaged to repair.
Getting back on track when suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction is tough — but it’s not impossible. It’s important to get healthy, find a job, and fix any credit you may have damaged as a result of your addiction. While that could take some time, before long, you’ll discover that sobriety is possible and sustainable.