Steps For Recovery – The Easy Way Out

Looking for a way out is usually what gets people to search online for how to stop addictive behaviors. How do I change habits? What are the steps for recovery? Whatever the search was that got you to this page, as an addict we are usually looking for the easy way out.

And I say we, because trust me I was there. I searched for years for the magic bullet. That “Aha moment”, that one process or technique that would get me to stop destroying myself. I wanted an easy way out.

I wish I could tell you there was one. I know people that made the decision to stop their drug or their behavior and never looked back. From my experience those are the ones that have not become so engulfed in their addiction that it is hardwired in their brain. Or they were at the other extreme and have had so much pain and loss that the thought of engaging in the behavior again is more daunting than not doing it.

The recovery process involves work, one step at a time, good days and bad days. This is why you need to prepare. Here are 5 steps for recovery to help you define your path towards changing once and for all.

Steps For Recovery

Identifying your direction forward is a necessary part of the process. It’s like planning a trip, If you don’t know the destination, how do you set the GPS to get you there? What are the sites you want to see along the way, where do you need to take a pit stop.

Planning your recovery in a sense is like planning a trip. It is the preparation stage of change. The steps below actually include most of the stages for change, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. There is no magic bullet but if you let the stages of change be your guide you can get to your destination

Step 1 – Know The Destination

Be clear what you want. The more you can see the end result the easier it is to plan.

“I don’t know what I want” is often a response I get when I ask clients what they want.

What I ask then is “What is going on in your life now that you know you don’t want?” Sometimes it is easier to back into the answer to that question. When you know what you don’t want, what would you rather have?

For instance. The end result might include abstinence, a better job, a healthy body, a healthy relationship, a balanced lifestyle, a spiritual practice, financial security.

Once you have your vision, write it out, what does it look like when you are living this version of your life.

That may sound like a lot and feel a bit overwhelming, but remember you only need to move forward one step at a time to get to where you want to go, you will eventually get there. You can even take a detour and still get there. Slow and steady wins the race, this is not about finding the fastest route.

I understand, you have made this decision and you want it now. Unfortunately that is not the way it works.

Step 2 – Believe You Can Get There

This is an important step that is often left out. You have to believe in your vision. If the dream of a better job, a healthy relationship, and a balanced life feel out of reach, then lower the bar.

Maybe a more believable vision is keeping the job you have by showing up on time and being productive, leaving the current relationship, and getting caught up on bills.

This goes in the face of all the Law of Attraction and Abundance thinking that I have studied. I feel like having dreams that you don’t believe you can ever reach is counterproductive in this instance, and will lead to self – sabotage. So I am asking you to create a vision of a life that is better than what you are currently living but still feels achievable.

Once you have had some successes add to your vision. We do this naturally. You achieve a goal and then you create a new one. You reach your ideal weight and then you continue to tone and sculpt your body or you decide you want to coach other people on having a healthier body. Adding to our vision or goals is what healthy people do.

After you start feeling more confident and believe in yourself you will know that you can have more than you first believed you could have. So stretch yourself a bit and build the dream.

Step 3 – Prepare For Obstacles

Recovery is not an easy path, as I stated earlier there is no magic bullet. If it was easy you would have already done it. By the time you are looking for ways to stop using you have had plenty of pain. The problem is that there is still a benefit of using, whether it is real or perceived, it is there and so there will be urges and thoughts. Have a plan.

Walk yourself through a typical day. When did you engage in your behavior or substance? What do you need to do differently to break that habit? What are some obvious triggers? What else can you do to deal with stress, negative emotions, cravings and thoughts.

You will need to find activities to fill the void, you will need support, and will need relaxation techniques, Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, add in some exercise, have some spiritual outlets whether that is meditation, prayer, yoga, or a walk in nature, we need to connect to spirit.

Read your vision daily, keep building the motivation for change. The pain is more of a distant memory once you stop using, the vision of a better life needs to be strong to continue to pull you forward.

Step 4 – Revisit and Review

This should be at least a weekly thing. If you have the time to do it daily even better. At least once a week check in, How motivated are you still feeling? Do you need to add to the reasons you are doing this, go back and look at your vision of the desired outcome.

Have you discovered triggers you never even knew were triggers. Do you have enough support, are you able to surf the wave of urges? (Surfing the wave means just that, just going with it and riding it through to the end, just like a wave, it will crest and then fall.)

What are some things that are coming up? Do you need to learn about setting boundaries, maybe read a little about codependency.

Use your journal to keep track of things that are coming up, thoughts, new ideas, as a way to process thoughts and feelings.

Celebrate successes. Remember to give yourself credit for what you are doing well. This is what will help you continue to be successful and build confidence in your ability to stay the course. This is also the time to check in and see if maybe you want to stretch yourself, maybe you can achieve more than you gave yourself credit for initially.

Step 5 – Live Your Best Life

This is what it really is all about. Finding your joy. Having a life that when you wake up in the morning you can say “Thank You God for another day.” Or whatever your belief is, just waking up and being happy that you have another day on this earth instead of going to bed at night and hoping you don’t wake up.

In this stage of change it is all about balanced positive living. That doesn’t mean you won’t have any curve balls or that every day will be sunshine and rainbows, but that there is a sense of gratitude and appreciation for all that you do have even on the not so good days.

This is also the stage of continued personal growth, maybe getting better at communication, being assertive, it might be going back to school, it could be just being more responsible and mature. It is your path and it is unique to you. It is your choice what path you take and what the destination looks like.

Hope this was helpful, let me know your thoughts.

Peace and Joy on your recovery path!

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