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When you first get started in recovery, everything can feel like it is happening so fast and going great. Every day brings new revelations, progress, and a significant increase in clean time, in terms of percentages. As the days turn into weeks and then months, however, and you spend less time in treatment sessions and more time out in the world, the time can begin to drag and your progress in recovery can slow, if not stagnate.
Falling into a rut in recovery can be trigger for relapse, so it is one of the things to check in on every so often and address if you find it is happening to you. Sometimes, breaking free of a recovery rut is as simple as changing things up a little bit and trying something new.
Here are five new things you can do to get out of your rut and jumpstart your recovery:
If you always have your phone on, have every app set up to send you notifications of the slightest change or update, and tend to look at your phone even when you are in a face-to-face conversation with someone, then choosing to turn it off can be a huge boost to your recovery. Without your phone to swallow up your time and attention, you can look around, notice the little things, and begin practicing mindfulness to its fullest. Really be part of the conversations you are in, actively listening to what people are telling you. You can enjoy the air, the smells, and the sights you experience when you walk down the street. Pay attention, be present in your life, and shake yourself out of your rut.
If you are always talking to the same people at meetings, or if you are not talking at all, you can change things up and potentially learn a new perspective by talking to someone you ordinarily would not. If you tend to talk to people your own age, then talk to someone considerably younger or older than you are, a newcomer, or someone you have seen around a lot but have never spoken to. A simple conversation can lead you to your new favorite book or movie, a phone number you can call in a crisis, or a piece of advice that will help you to manage whatever comes your way.
If you have always avoided a certain kind of therapy because you thought it just did not sound like it was “you,” then go out of your way to track down and find that therapy. Sailing therapy, acupuncture, drumming therapy, or aromatherapy – trying anything you have been skeptical about could be the key to turning a corner in your recovery.
Many people in early recovery are advised to attend 90 12-step meetings in their first 90 days of recovery. Regular engagement with people who are staying sober and hearing people talk about their ups and downs in that process can be inspiring. This is true whether you have 24 hours in recovery or 24 years. If you feel like you are starting to lag in your attention to recovery, rather than skipping sessions, double up and attend as many as you can fit into your schedule. Travel to new parts of town, meet new people, and experiment with different formats to keep things interesting.
Giving back is always a great way to kill boredom and to also remember why you wanted to get and stay sober in the first place. Spending time with people who are struggling and/or working to put together resources for people or animals in need can give you a sense of purpose and remind you that recovery makes every day a gift, even if it is not always exciting and progressing at a quick pace. Animal shelters, food banks, and a range of fundraisers are always looking for volunteers to help out, so pick a cause that is meaningful to you and sign up.
How do you pull yourself out of a rut when it makes you feel like you want to give up on recovery?