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7 New Habits After Leaving Treatment

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As anyone who has been to drug rehabilitation knows, it can be difficult making new habits to stay clean and sober.

Changes in daily life and lifestyle take time, and patience is not just important, it’s the most valuable tool at your disposal. This is the essence of drug addiction treatment. And you may not be able to see the benefit at first, but over time, the people close to you—family, friends and even acquaintances—will often see positive changes before you do.

However self-destructive some things may have been in your life (not to mention your ability to grow and thrive), some old habits are hard to let go of. Like an old friend, most likely they’ve been at your side a long time, and without them you fear you may be left feeling like the proverbial hole in the donut. Far from suggesting you enter the monkhood and renounce all earthly attachments, there are a few easier, more realistic ways to create new habits in your life starting the day you leave the drug treatment center:

1) Make your bed in the morning, every morning. There’s a reason those in drug rehabilitation centers are asked to do this. It’s a way of creating a positive habit for yourself the first thing you do, setting the tone for the day.

2) Sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time, every day. Again, it may sound simple, but it creates consistency for you, which, hopefully, you’ll be grateful for, even if you’re still in drug detox.

3) Call three clean and sober people every day. It can be a counselor from the drug rehab, a friend who might be going through drug detox (you know how they feel, right?!) or an old friend you haven’t seen. And the conversation doesn’t necessarily have to have something to do with drug rehabilitation. Which leads us to…

4) Take a break. Spend 30 minutes a day doing something having nothing to do with your drug rehabilitation program. Read the newspaper. Watch sports highlights. Walk the dog. Now that you’re getting your life back, enjoy it! Remember in drug detox all you wanted to do was hug your dog?

5) Make a daily gratitude list. Even if you can’t think of one thing to be grateful for. Here’s a start: you’re clean and sober today! The time at the drug detox center is behind you! Only nine more to go...

6) Keep a journal. Writing something, anything, every day. It’s for you, and you alone. Journaling is a great tool as far as recording your progress, especially if you’re still in drug detox or drug treatment.

7) Enjoy life again. Going through drug addiction treatment and getting clean isn’t easy. Find what you love, and do it often. You have a new life.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says the promises of 12-step work “are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.” Trust the process, and hang on. Things will get better every day.

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