Addiction treatment and recovery are undeniably life-changing for the better, but sometimes the little things often ignored make it worthwhile. Some call them fringe benefits or little extra pluses to motivate further progress and keep relapse at bay. Almost everyone will have their own personal list that pertains to them, and all are worth appreciating.
- Mornings: Waking up well-rested after a full night’s sleep is something many take for granted. Substance misuse can damage sleep cycles, causing the body to struggle through every next day. Combined with the other negative health consequences of drugs in the body, a chronic lack of sleep starts to wear away at the body contributing to a long list of illnesses. Though it can take some time to adjust to healthy sleep patterns in treatment, restful sleep is achievable and delightful!
- Full days: It’s amazing to realize how many valuable hours there are in a day when the body and brain aren’t constantly battling withdrawal or fixating on acquiring and consuming substances. There’s no more need to “sleep it off” and then rush to make up for lost time in recovery; every waking hour of the day belongs to the person in control.
- Energy levels: When the body isn’t spending all of its reserves fighting off potent substances in the bloodstream, it has energy for so much more. The constant brain fog and lethargy wane with each waking day, allowing the brain to plan for productive and healthy things that don’t revolve around using.
- Appearance: Chronic substance misuse takes a toll on physical and mental health, including someone’s looks. An unhealthy diet and sleep pattern can leave a ragged aftermath, causing red puffy eyes, sallow skin, and dry, brittle hair. Many in recovery gain a boost from how quickly their appearance improves shortly after starting treatment.
- Evenings: During heavy substance use, evenings are usually carved out every day, and hours of precious time are lost. In recovery, evening time is open for delicious dinners, family events, hobbies, well-deserved relaxation, or anything else! Sometimes even a simple nighttime routine that involves a hot foot soak and reading or tv time can be gratifying.
- Lucidity: Numbing emotions with substances can weaken someone’s ability to deal with seemingly minor problems. People in recovery often report how quickly they began to feel very visceral feelings that they hadn’t felt in a while. Though it takes some work to stabilize dealing with reemerging emotions, feeling them at all can truly seem like a gift.
- Memory: Many people are thrilled by how much better their memory functions once the veil of addiction is lifted. Though it can take some time to rewire the brain in recovery, the benefits are validating every day of hard work.
- Conscience: Those with substance use disorder carry a lot of guilt daily, especially active users. The disappointment and hopelessness of being trapped in the addiction cycle can be crushing and discourage them from ever seeking help. In recovery, guilt lessens significantly with each milestone achieved and as relationships with loved ones improve.
- Outlook: Addiction can turn even the biggest optimist into a defeatist by beating down emotional faculties that can otherwise withstand stressors. Recovery work helps improve resiliency and hope for many, creating momentum to keep them dedicated to their goals for the future.
- Relationships: Those in addiction treatment often fear that they’ve lost their loved ones due to their illness, but many find that forgiveness is a true cornerstone of recovery. Repairing old relationships and making new ones can be a fulfilling aspect of recovery life.
There is hope for recovery for those struggling with substance use disorder. Middlesex Recovery is committed to helping patients with the use of evidence-based treatment methods, including FDA-approved medication. The specialized medical providers, nursing staff, substance use counselors, and administrative coordinators understand that a whole-patient approach is necessary to achieve long-lasting recovery. Message or call a local Middlesex Recovery clinic today to learn more.