Recovery turns our entire lives as we know it upside down. There is more change than things that stay the same. It impacts every aspect of our lives, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. It also impacts the world around us, including family, friends, where we live, what we do and more.
Our lives are rebuilt around four pillars, as identified by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA.) These four pillars, like the pillars that support the roof of a building, are the places we can draw strength from. They are the things that support us and keep us going in our new lives, things that will continue to support us for the rest of our lives.
The first priority is obviously our health. We must first address the physical aspects of our addiction. Often, there are comorbid disorders as well, also called dual diagnoses, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and more. Receiving treatment and stabilizing our mental health by addressing these is the key to gaining and maintaining physical health. This includes our long-term support for recovery and any medical support we need for a dual diagnosis.
As we are in treatment and growing in recovery, we also learn about the importance of nutrition and exercise. Often, we have put our bodies through so much with our substance abuse, so eating healthy is even more important to us than to the general population. As our bodies are healing, it is important to give them all of the nutrients they need to repair and restore physical health.
Additionally, exercise helps us in many ways. It is a meaningful activity that helps reduce stress and benefits our bodies in multiple ways. Exercise also releases endorphins in the brain, creating a “natural high” that is actually helpful to our brains as they, too, heal. Exercise is known to reduce many forms of depression, reduces anxiety, helps our bodies to sleep better, and can lower blood pressure, too. Building the pillar of health is crucial to our wellness now and for the rest of our lives, yet is something that is also easy to choose one day at a time.
SAMHSA defines this as “having a stable and safe place to live.” This one can be difficult, as we must take control of our lives while we are still so fragile. Many of us did not have a safe or stable place to live going into recovery, and now, as we are just so raw, we need to find a new place to be safe and stable.
There are options. In addition to the primary residential treatment programs, there are sober living homes that are like a bridge between residential treatment and going home. The key is for us to be in control of our lives and have developed habits enough to be independent.
If we are blessed enough to have a home and family that are supportive of our recovery that is safe and stable, then we can obviously return there when we are ready. We might also have a friend from before or someone we met in recovery that can help us with a safe and stable place to live and take our next steps in life.
Everyone needs a purpose. But in recovery, we have just cut out all of our past activities and habits, and we are left hollow, yet filled with cravings. So we need a purpose. We need to be productive and stay busy. This will not only help us to stay clean, but it will help us to be meaningful members of society again. We should fill our days with meaningful people and activities to remind ourselves of who we are.
We need to find work and contribute to our community as well as become self-reliant. This helps so much with our own self-esteem and gives us resources to manage our lives. Even if finding work is proving difficult, doing volunteer work in the interim gives us a purpose blesses others, too.
We learn in recovery that we cannot do this alone, we need people in our lives. This could be family if they support us, friends, and the new relationships we have built while in recovery.
We need people in our lives that can truly provide us with love and friendship. In recovery, we need support more than ever. That sponsor who is on call for us, that friend we can call when we are having a tough day, that friend we can call when we have a success. These people are crucial to our lives and to the success of our recovery.
We need to build all four pillars to have success in our recovery: health, home, purpose, and community. The foundation for our pillars can be found at the Kimberly Center. With their experience and their personal and individual focus on recovery, they can help us set all four pillars in place and put us on the road to a successful recovery now and for our future.
At The Kimberly Center, we want to help you heal from addiction and are committed to putting you and your recovery first. We offer a comprehensive range of services including outpatient treatment, post-rehab services, continuing care, and long-term treatment. Call us now at 855-4-KCENTER (855-452-3683) for more information.