Creating a new life in sobriety is about identifying all the behaviors and habits that led to addiction and creating positive new ones to replace them. Of course, the act of drinking or getting high is a habit that must be stopped altogether, but this is not the sole issue that needs to be addressed and adjusted in order to maintain recovery for the long-term.
There are a number of habits that we engage in every day that contribute to our state of mind and to our relationships with other people and the cravings we experience. In some cases, we may not even realize that certain things are a habit – and a negative habit that is making it more difficult to stay sober – until we look at what is stopping us from living the life that we want for ourselves.
If you have tried repeatedly to break unhealthy habits and begin regular engagement with healthy new habits without success, here are a few things you can do when nothing else seems to work.
- Make the new habit something you genuinely want to do.
It is a lot harder to turn a positive choice into a new habit when it is something you have absolutely no interest in doing. For example, if you know that you need to start exercising regularly in order to stay healthy and improve your mood but you try to do it by getting up at 5 a.m. to go running before work and you find that it’s an impossible habit to keep, it may be because you hate it. Consider what your goal is – in this case, getting regular exercise – and find a way to do it that is fun, like going roller skating with a friend, walking the dog, or going for a swim.
- Acknowledge that some new habits will be boring.
It is not exciting to brush your teeth for a full two minutes in the morning and again before you go to bed, but it is a good habit to get into that will provide you with great dental health throughout your lifetime. It is also not exciting to eat vegetables at every meal, to go to bed early enough to get a solid 7-9 hours of sleep at night, or to show up to work on time every day. It is important to accept the fact that healthy and positive habits will sometimes be boring and to also acknowledge that boring is far better than a life in addiction.