At Mountain Laurel Recovery Center‘s Pennsylvania drug and alcohol addiction treatment center, we believe routines and rituals play a crucial role in building a strong foundation for a lasting recovery. During residential treatment, our clients follow a set schedule to promote healthy habits while learning about themselves and the recovery process. After graduation, we encourage them to create personalized routines and rituals to continue moving forward with their recovery.
Creating Routines to Support Your Recovery
Routines are important in recovery for several reasons:
- Routines promote a sense of responsibility. Did you ever wonder why so many successful people make daily to-do lists? Knowing what you need to do each day keeps you focused and on track.
- A daily routine makes it easier to practice healthy habits. Routines give you a set time for meals, sleep, and exercise—which makes it easier to stick to the wellness-focused habits that promote lasting sobriety.
- When you know what to expect, you won’t find yourself struggling to fill idle time. Boredom is a well-know trigger for cravings in the early stages of recovery. A daily routine keeps you from wondering what you should be doing next, thus reducing the opportunity for problematic cravings.
- Routines keep you from getting overwhelmed. An effective routine helps you break larger tasks down into more manageable goals. For example, instead of saying you’re going to clean your home from top to bottom, you might have a routine that lets you clean one room each day for 15 to 20 minutes so everything stays relatively tidy.
How do you create a routine that works for you? Some trial and error may be necessary, but here are a few general tips to help you get started:
- List your non-negotiable commitments first. Some aspects of your routine, such as your work hours or when you need to attend specific recovery-related meetings, may be out of your control. You’ll need to plan the rest of your day around these items.
- Think about when you feel most productive. Some people are early birds who do their best work in the morning, while others are night owls who like to burn the midnight oil. Schedule your most important goals during the times when you know you’re likely to feel alert and up for the challenge.
- Give yourself some wiggle room. It’s not a good idea to create a jam-packed schedule. Some tasks may take longer than you hoped, or you might encounter unexpected obstacles. Adding 15-30 minute “buffer” zones in your day can give you some flexibility so you don’t feel like you’re running behind when things don’t go as planned.
- Set reminders. If you’re forgetful, use your phone to set reminders throughout the day that will help you stay on track.
Rituals are different from routines in that they are intended to be performed with focus and purpose. Rituals can benefit the recovery process in the following ways:
- Rituals celebrate accomplishments. Every day you’re sober brings you one step closer to your goals, so don’t be afraid to create rituals that recognize how hard you’re working. This could be something as simple as celebrating by meeting a friend for dinner or treating yourself to supplies for a new hobby you enjoy as you reach key recovery milestones.
- Rituals provide comfort. When times are tough, rituals help remind you that you’re not alone. Prayer, Bible study, and meditation are examples of rituals that help you rely on faith in a higher power to guide you through your struggles.
- Rituals connect you to others. Rituals related to celebrating weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays with loved ones help you strengthen the relationships that comprise your sober support network. Addiction is a disease born of isolation, so nurturing connections is a crucial part of the recovery process.
- Rituals help you unlock your full potential. Artists, musicians, writers, actors, and athletes often have specific rituals they use to help them get in the right frame of mind to complete their work. For example, an actor may listen to specific music and perform a set series of vocal warmups before a show.
Rituals can often be incorporated into your recovery routine to help you tackle challenging tasks and stay motivated to continue moving forward. The most effective rituals are those which have a personal meaning and are performed with clear intentions. To create your own recovery rituals, think about your reasons for seeking treatment and what you want to accomplish in the future. For example, if strengthening your relationship with your children is a top priority, you may find rituals that center on family togetherness to be the most helpful.
We’re Always Here to Help
Mountain Laurel Recovery Center is proud to offer a full continuum of care to prevent relapse and ease the transition back to independent living. Our goal is to provide the support you need to face the future with confidence.