Top 10 tips to thrive in early recovery

When you first get clean and sober, it might feel overwhelming. That's normal. Just breathe, it's going to be okay.

Here are ten tips to help you stay on the path of recovery.

    1.    Find your tribe. Find a group of sober friends that will understand you, support you, and love you. Focus on the similarities when building new relationships in sobriety. There is a whole new world of collective soulmates waiting for you!
    2.    Don’t isolate. Utilize your new sober friendships. It can be tempting to isolate, especially when you’re feeling down on yourself or overwhelmed or shy. However, isolation can be a slippery slope that makes it easier to relapse. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone.
    3.    Check out a twelve-step or other recovery group. Wondering where to meet other sober people? Try a recovery group such as AA, NA or Refuge Recovery. These groups are free, everywhere, and full of people who want to change their lives and become clean, sober and happy. They offer a community of support, a lot of wisdom and a program for living well.
    4.    Find a sponsor or a mentor. Twelve-step groups encourage you to get a sponsor—someone who can guide you through the twelve steps. Whether you attend one or not, it’s a good idea to connect with someone who has more sober time than you, who has lived through early recovery and can help guide you. You can also seek additional support from a therapist or psychologist.
    5.    Practice yoga. A regular yoga practice can be a powerful source of support. It naturally boosts dopamine levels in your brain, which helps you feel good, and can help you grow in mind, body and spirit. Practicing yoga can be an especially helpful tool for taking action when you’re experiencing cravings or feeling triggered.
    6.    Meditate. Yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Yoga helps calm your body to prepare your mind for meditation. Most recovery groups suggest developing a daily meditation habit, because when practiced regularly, it is a path to finding inner peace. There are many different styles of meditation—find one that works for you!
    7.    Change your diet. Avoid foods that contain white flour, caffeine and sugar—these stimulate your brain the same way that drugs and alcohol do, and trigger cravings. Instead, look for foods that gently boost your dopamine to healthy levels. Try to include lean protein with every meal. And remember—Greens, Greens, Greens!
    8.    Find ways to help others. If you’re having a hard day, one of the best ways to feel better is to do something to help someone else. This is a cornerstone of most recovery programs. Reaching out to another person in recovery and asking how they are can take you out of your own problems. In serving others, we serve ourselves.
    9.    Don’t take on too much! Be gentle with yourself. Before flying, the flight attendant always reminds us to put our oxygen mask on before helping others with theirs. The same goes in life. Remember to practice self-care and self-kindness. You are responsible for your own sobriety; you can help others, but you can’t keep them sober.
    10.    HALT. If you find yourself getting too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, halt! These feelings can trigger a relapse, and are a sign that it’s time to practice some self-care. Tune in with yourself and what you need. Take a nap, have a meal, call a friend or sponsor.

Bonus tip: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Find ways to laugh. Recovery can be full of joy :)

Joan Borsten