My story with substance abuse begins at an uncle’s party when I was only 9 years old. I still remember that night as if it were yesterday. I was curious about alcohol and wanted to try it, but my mom had strictly prohibited my siblings and me to go near alcohol. I planned my moves carefully so I could steal a bottle from the kitchen without the adults noticing. My plan worked, and there I was, 9 years old, trying alcohol for the very first time…

At first, I didn’t like it, but I kept sipping, and it wasn’t long before I was drunk. And I loved being drunk. That night was the beginning of a downward spiral. When I was a teenager I was abusing alcohol and using marihuana. At 19 I was hooked on more hardcore drugs like coke and meth.

My life was a mess, as you might expect. I had pushed my family and friends away, I felt like I had no purpose, my life revolved around getting my next hit. Rock bottom was getting sentenced to two years of prison at 23 for drug-related charges.

It seemed like the end of the world to me back then, but today I’m thankful for having gone to prison, as weird as it might sound. It was there that I found the strength to decide to get sober. Listening to the inmates’ testimonies at AA and NA meetings made me realize I wasn’t the first one to make mistakes, and that I still had the chance to make up for them.

I have been sober for 9 years now, and quitting drugs and alcohol was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it was worth it. My life changed during recovery in many ways, one of them was being able to adopt healthy habits in order to help me stay sober, which are now part of my daily routine. After reading Brittany’s story, I was inspired to share them with you. We all struggle, and I know a little help goes a long way. So, here are 5 positive life habits I learned during recovery that can help you throughout your recovery process.

1. Meditation

The goal of meditation is to clear your mind completely so as to bring you calm and peace regardless of the situation you might be facing at the moment. Achieving this way of mind control was very hard at the beginning, my thoughts and worries wouldn’t stop swirling around in my mind. But I was able to slowly let go of them, and I started feeling less agitated. I could start handling stressful situations more calmly.

At the end of the day, meditation is all about practice. Take 5-10 minutes every day to meditate, and you’ll see how being in control of your mind can improve many other aspects of your life.

2. Staying Active

One of the main components of my rehabilitation program was physical activity. I wasn’t thrilled about the idea, given that I had barely ever exercised in my life. It was challenging at first, but, sooner than I thought, I started enjoying it. Working out releases endorphins, which are chemicals in your brain that produce feelings of happiness and pleasure.

Exercise plays a big part in my recovery and it is still part of my life. Not only did I improve my body through exercise (I was rather overweight), but also my mind. It gave me energy, it increased my self-esteem and made me feel healthier overall.

3. Balanced Diet

Nutrition also plays a very important role in recovery. When you abuse drugs and alcohol you fill your body with toxins that can damage many of your organs. Eating well is essential in this stage since your body needs foods that will help its healing process.

A balanced diet mixed with an exercise routine can help you regulate your mood. It can also give you back the energy you lost throughout your addiction. You might start realizing it is easier to concentrate on certain tasks you used to find difficult.

4. Having Fun

I used to think it was impossible to have a good time without drugs or alcohol, but I was very wrong. Redefining fun is an important part of recovery. There are many ways in which you can have fun that doesn’t involve these substances; for me, it was reading. I don’t think I had ever read an entire book before, but during recovery, I took on reading and it changed my life. I found new interests, I started learning about things that I then became passionate about. After rehab, I started spending more time with my family, and I realized that the only thing I needed to have fun was being around people I loved and who loved and supported me.

5. Establishing a Routine

Setting a routine can help you become more organized and give you the feeling of being in control of your life, which, in my experience, is something you don’t have when you’re an addict. Following a routine can make you more productive, which in turn can make you less stressed. Every night before going to bed I think about the things I have to do the next day, I write them down and set a time and place to get them done according to their importance.

We all face the temptation to give up while in recovery, but following these 5 simple habits can make your process a little easier. Maintaining them after recovery can help you become a better version of yourself, one that is healthy and happy.

If you have any questions or would like to share your experience in recovery from drugs and alcohol, please leave a comment below.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, my name is Andy and I'm a recovering drug addict/alcoholic. I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Southern California. I spend my time helping others with their recovery and growing my business.