Most people don’t purposely neglect their health and well-being when addicted to drugs or alcohol. However, it can be an unfortunate consequence. Certain substances can suppress your appetite, leading to a range of health complications. You might also make poor choices for your body under the influence.
As a result, many people face a raft of health complications during or after addiction, especially related to the brain, kidneys, liver, and heart. While you might not be able to reverse any damage caused by drugs, leading a healthier lifestyle post-addiction might protect your health going forward. If you need a helping hand starting your new life on the right track, you can find a few helpful tips in this guide below.
The first step toward building a healthier lifestyle post-addiction involves getting help for your addiction and recovery. Rehabilitation centers offer a number of options depending on your addiction severity and the steps you’ve already taken to get clean. They might recommend a medical detox, a partial hospitalization program, or intensive outpatient treatment as a few options to explore.
After entering these programs and building your support network, you can also explore support options like regular meetings and communicating with a dedicated sponsor. By prioritizing treatment to help you become sober and remain so, you might feel much stronger to work on other parts of yourself.
Being addicted to drugs can mean you do things you would never do while sober. You might destroy relationships with friends and family members, break the law, and prioritize your drug addiction above everyone and everything of importance in your life.
Some people may never forgive you for how you acted while in the throes of addiction, but you can forgive yourself. Holding on to guilt, blame, and shame, can hold you back from leading a much healthier lifestyle.
While you don’t have to forget the mistakes you made while under the influence of drugs, you can make a conscious decision to move on. In the process, you might also be able to start enjoying your new life and mending some of the relationships your addiction destroyed.
You’re going to need all the support you can get when recovering from an addiction. After all, it can be mentally and physically tiring to focus on your recovery during every waking moment. That’s why it can be crucial to surround yourself with people who will build you up, not break you down.
You might turn to your immediate family for support when you need it the most, but you can also bring friends into your inner circle. Find sober friends who understand the importance of partaking in safe activities. If your friend group is the reason you became addicted to drugs in the first place, cut contact and build a new, safer friend circle.
Life after addiction can sometimes feel a little aimless. It’s easy to forget how you used to fill your days before alcohol or drugs took over. While it can take time to build a new routine, you might find that setting goals helps with those feelings of aimlessness.
Think about everything you want to achieve with your new, sober life. Write down a list of large and small goals, such as rebuilding relationships with loved ones affected by your addiction, getting a job, and eating a healthy diet.
If you have large goals that don’t seem achievable, break them down into smaller pieces. For example, eating a healthy diet might start with simply remembering to eat breakfast. You can build up from there.
Most people addicted to drugs don’t intentionally stop eating. However, substance use can affect your appetite. Central nervous system stimulants like methamphetamines and cocaine suppress how much ghrelin your body produces. This is the hormone that tells your brain when you’re hungry and satiated.
You might skip meals when your brain isn’t telling you to eat. With time and as your addiction worsens, it’s easy to go countless days without nourishing your body. As a result, many people with drug addictions are nutrient-deficient and suffer from malnutrition. Entering a rehabilitation center can help you create new, healthy habits, but it’s crucial for you to continue these at home. Get into the habit of adding healthy food to your grocery cart that can assist with your recovery, such as:
- Whole grains
If you’re worried about not being able to prepare healthy meals that nourish your body, consider meal subscription services. You can select balanced recipes and have all ingredients delivered to your door. Most subscription meals are ready to eat in under half an hour.
When you have a plan in place for your recovery, social circle, and nutrition, you can then begin focusing on exercise. Exercise is not only helpful for your physical health, but it can also benefit your mental health. In fact, studies have shown that physical activity is more effective than medications and counseling.
Aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week. You might decide to join a gym, participate in a dedicated exercise class, or enjoy activities with your friends. Swimming, cycling, walking, and running are also cost-effective and beneficial exercise types you might see the value in. You might initially start exercising to stay fit and healthy, but the mental health benefits can also have you including it as part of your everyday routine.
If you lost your job due to your actions while addicted to drugs, or you’re simply ready to enter the workforce, you might think that your past addiction will hold you back. However, it doesn’t have to. The Americans with Disabilities Act is designed to ensure that people recovering from addictions have the same opportunities as anyone else. Employers also can’t ask job seekers questions about substance abuse.
Should you require further drug support in the future, you have the right to take medical leave from your job under the Family Medical Leave Act. Your past addiction doesn’t have to get in the way of you supporting yourself and your family.
Leading a healthier lifestyle during drug addiction recovery can be challenging. Your entire world has changed, and you must now find your new version of normal. By taking these actions above, you might be able to create a healthier and more rewarding life than you ever dreamed possible.