10 Tips for Staying in Recovery

Written in January 2014

I wrote these tips in 2013. They are also available as a PDF that you can share with your friends or clients. Just email me at:coachalida@gmail.com and put “10 Tips” in the subject line. I recommend choosing one tip at a time and integrating it into your life. If you like these tips you will like Recovery Coaching. 

1.  Get clear about your values. You can discover your values by asking yourself which qualities you admire in others. Write them down. Which of those qualities warm your heart? Those are your values. Decisions based on them will turn out better than decisions based on circumstances or emotions. Honor your life in recovery. Make choices that align with your values.  

2. Eat 8 or more grams of protein for breakfast. Your brain will thank you and you will be less moody all day. 8 grams of protein is two eggs. Or peanut butter toast and a glass of milk. Or a bowl of high protein cereal with soy milk.  If you suffer from mood swings try eating protein every 3 hours to stabilize your blood sugar.

3. Start a list of safe things you enjoy doing. Come up with 5 or more activities.  Keep adding to your list and keep your list with you.  Do something you enjoy every day on purpose. Get in the habit of enjoying your life.

4. Research shows that people who have support from friends, family, groups, or churches do better than those who go it alone. Choose some form of social or group recovery support. Find people who have the same issues you do where you can talk freely about your experiences and struggles. If you can’t find face to face meetings look for online or phone-based support.

5. Create new rituals for relaxation, celebration, and reward. What would be safe and satisfying? How will you know your workday is done and it’s okay to relax? How will you acknowledge your successes? How can you celebrate and stay in recovery? Remember to involve your five senses of smell, sight, touch, hearing, and taste.

6. Get in touch with your inner adult. Just like you have an inner child you have a competent adult within. You can call on your inner adult to help you make good decisions by saying “Where is my competent adult? I am calling on my competent adult.”  Repeat several times. Talk things over with your inner adult to make decisions that protect your long term health and happiness.

7. Learn to watch yourself. Learn to watch your cravings. Notice that if you watch your cravings and do nothing they go will go away. It may take time but they will go away if you don’t act on them. Over time, as you practice watching, you will get good at noticing what you are doing, feeling, and thinking. As you strengthen the part of you that can observe you will be strengthening the healthy part of you that can make good decisions in recovery.

8. Get clear about your strengths. They are what allowed you to make it this far. Do you have a sense of humor? If so, that is strength. Did you choose to leave a bad situation? What strength allowed you to do that? Add that to your list. Did you ask for help? That takes courage.  Make a list of your strengths and use them as needed.

9. Exercise is a reliable way to improve mood. Even 5 minutes of movement will make your body feel better.  A 15 minute walk can make you more cheerful. A hike, swim, or other aerobic workout is exhilarating.  If you want to feel happy move your body.

10. Find one goal or dream that is not related to recovery. Is there something you have always wanted to do? Travel? Jump from a plane? Go back to school? Find something that inspires you and commit to doing it. Identify the first step to take make it happen. Now go do it. Keep going.