Dealing with substance addiction is never easy because it affects a person’s physical health and emotional well-being. Considering treatment is your first victory, no matter how small the step seems, as a part of the entire journey.
It shows an intention to fight back and conquer negative emotions and cravings. But the road back is fraught with challenges beyond overcoming the temptation to reach out for a bottle of beer or a pack of cigarettes. Besides investing in physical effort, you must build mental resilience to practice sobriety.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, substance use is intertwined with several co-occurring disorders. Statistics show that 50% of people with severe mental disorders struggle with substance abuse. Conversely, 53% of drug abusers and 37 % of alcohol abusers struggle with at least one serious mental illness. Anyone in recovery should integrate a mental health focus into their care.
Here are a few actionable self-care tips to maintain your mental health during addiction treatment:
Meet Your Basic Needs
Meeting your basic needs is the first step for people seeking help for substance addiction. You cannot concentrate on recovery until you have everything you require in daily life. It includes essentials such as good nutrition, hygiene, exercise, and adequate sleep. A safe space is also a part of mental self-care during addiction treatment. Being surrounded by people you can trust can make all the difference.
According to the Canadian Centre for Addictions, an inpatient rehab facility is the best place to begin your treatment journey. By joining such a program, you can rest assured about the fulfillment of your basic requirements. Further, you get professional addiction guidance regarding nutrition, exercise, therapy, and medication.
Connect With Peers
Addiction recovery can be an isolating experience. You may encounter social stigma with the closest friends and family members leaving for good. You may intentionally want to distance yourself from people who judge you or fail to understand your struggles. Isolation can affect your mental health as the process takes several weeks or months.
Connecting with peers who are going through the same journey is an ideal self-care tip. Research shows that including peer support groups in addiction treatment can potentially reduce substance use, improve engagement, and lower relapse rates. Additionally, it minimizes your stress levels as you do not fear being judged.
Setting boundaries is another significant self-care practice to protect your sobriety during addiction treatment. Start with physical boundaries, such as leaving people and places that may risk your sobriety. Also, create mental or emotional boundaries, such as staying away from people who discourage or demotivate you.
For example, you can cut contact with friends indulging in substance abuse because having them around increases the relapse risk. If a relationship or job compounds your stress, ending it is the best way to regain mental peace. Creating healthy boundaries is about prioritizing your needs without feeling guilty about setting them.
Studies suggest that mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are more effective than standard treatment in treating addictive disorders. It is the best form of self-care to adopt during your recovery journey. The great thing about practicing mindfulness is that it nurtures your mental health for the long haul, even when you win the battle against substance addiction.
Mindfulness is about learning to be in the present moment, fully aware of where you are and what you are doing. It enables you to overcome the guilt of the past and stop worrying about the future. You can cope with reality and focus on recovery alone. The strategy also reduces your mental burden during treatment and beyond.
Keep a Journal
Over the years, journaling has emerged as an effective aid to addiction recovery. Writing out your thoughts on paper is therapeutic when it comes to mental self-care, even for people not dealing with substance addiction. Either way, adopting this simple everyday recovery is a wise move for people undergoing rehab treatment.
Journaling is a form of self-reflection, enabling you to know yourself better, identify triggers, and relieve a racing mind. You can try the classic “Dear Diary” format or keep a gratitude journal to list daily achievements during treatment. Alternatively, let the emotions loose by writing in the flow, without worrying about words and expressions. You could even keep an audio or video journal or try art therapy.
Surprisingly, decluttering can help you maintain your mental well-being during de-addiction. Any clutter in your home, mind and life can distract or slow you down. List the things you need to eliminate to regain control.
- Anything that reminds you of addiction, such as alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs tucked in your drawers
- Digital clutter in your devices, such as the phone number of your supplier or your addiction-peer group
- Negative thoughts such as self-doubt, guilt, shame, and depression
Commit to purging these elements and starting fresh with a clean slate. You will feel a lot lighter and more focused on your recovery process.
Invest in Self-Growth
Investing in self-growth is another realistic self-care tip to boost your mental health during deaddiction. Besides directing your thoughts and efforts in a positive direction, self-growth paves the way for future success. Write a wish list of things you want to learn and prepare an actionable strategy to tick everything on it.
For example, learning a new skill, such as graphic design, gives you better job prospects once you rebuild your career after achieving addiction recovery. Exercise as a self-growth initiative helps you become healthy and strong. Reading books, gardening, or learning to play an instrument fosters a sense of peace and happiness.
Addiction recovery can be exhausting, even for the most motivated individuals who want to beat addiction for good. The effort you invest along the way can often take a toll on your mental health, leading to negative emotions and affecting your confidence in the long run.
Making a conscious effort to nurture your mental health can help you save your sanity during this tough journey. You can rely on these practical self-care tips to build your resilience and keep your mental health intact as you navigate the road to recovery.
Follow me down the rabbit hole!
I'm Alice and I live with a dizzying assortment of invisible disabilities, including ADHD and fibromyalgia. I write to raise awareness and end the stigma surrounding mental and chronic illnesses of all kinds.
Dr. Wilson graduated from Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, IL. Dr. Wilson specializes in providing culturally competent and trauma-informed care to patients with physical disabilities. In addition to her private practice, she works as a science communicator, teaching health literacy to middle school and high school students in her local school district.