One thing you will likely notice about life in an addiction treatment center or even in a sober living home is that routines are important. There’s a regular time for everything. You get up, you eat, you go to group, you meet with your therapist, you get some exercise, and you go to bed at regular times. In a sober living home, you have more flexibility, but you also have chores and a curfew. It’s a good idea to try to stay in a regular routine even after treatment for the following reasons.
Willpower is limited.
Perhaps the most important benefit of keeping a regular routine is that a routine makes good decisions easier. Making any decision takes a little bit of mental effort. Making a decision that goes against our inclinations, such as ordering a salad instead of fries or deciding not to have a drink, can take a lot of energy. If you have to make these kinds of decisions a lot, you will be exhausted by the end of the day and you will be more vulnerable to making unhealthy choices. By creating a healthy routine, you basically make all the big decisions before the day even starts. You don’t have to decide when to get up, when to eat, when to exercise, when to go to a meeting, or when to go to bed. You’re already in the habit of doing these things in a certain order and at certain times. Once your routine is in place, you can have a pretty healthy and productive day, even if you’re feeling lethargic and uninspired.
Good sleep is crucial.
Getting enough restful sleep is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It reduces anxiety, improves self-control, strengthens concentration, and reduces negative thinking. Deep sleep is when your body heals and your mind consolidates new memories and skills. Having a regular bedtime and wake-up time is one of the best ways to improve your sleep. Your body expects to go to bed at a certain time every evening, so it starts preparing in advance. You fall asleep more quickly and sleep more deeply. This is especially important since many people experience insomnia early in recovery.
Structure keeps you focused.
There are two extremes you want to avoid in addiction recovery: boredom and stress. Both are common triggers. When you’re bored, you start looking for something to do, which sometimes means hanging out with bad influences and sometimes means fixating on using again. While you want to have a bit of downtime in your day, you don’t want so much that you become restless. On the other hand, neither do you want to be so stressed that you feel overwhelmed and helpless. Excessive stress and anxiety can make you reach for old coping mechanisms. A good routine helps you avoid these extremes. You can adjust your schedule so you have enough to do, but not too much.
Life should be predictable for a while.
A final benefit of a regular routine is that you feel like you have more control over your life because, for the most part, you know what to expect. Knowing that tomorrow will be much like yesterday reduces anxiety. This may sound a bit dull, but for a while, a bit dull is far better than chaos
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.