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A Recipe for Success in Addiction Recovery

by Thaddeus Camlin, Psy.D.

Recovery from Addiction:

One Person’s Recipe for Success

recipe for success in addiction recoveryArguably the most meaningful aspect of working in a helping profession is receiving updates of success.  With permission from the individual and after removing identifying information, this week’s article shares one person’s recipe for continued success in changing a problematic pattern of substance use.  The following paragraphs are elements of the individual’s success story verbatim, with some minor changes to protect the individual’s identity.

I write to give you a recovery update.  I want you to know that I truly am following the after-care plan.  I have been maintaining balance since I left, an aspect my previous self underestimated but now am benefitting greatly from.  Before moving I would make sure I got some form of exercise in.  The body stayed strong and the mind rested easier for it.  I added a number of fitness feeds to my twitter feed to add ideas to my physical plan.  There is a great park with a lake 10 blocks from me and every other day I walk up, run three laps, and walk back.  Perfect warm up, exercise, and cool down cycle.

To balance the brain I have been utilizing a free app, Duo Lingo, to learn Spanish.  I have no previous Spanish language experience, but the United States borders Spanish-speaking countries.  So as a “good American” I will learn the language of our neighbours.  In my travels I found Europeans know their neighbouring countries’ languages.

To encourage career building I have enrolled in an online set of classes.  The online classes are a wonderful way for me to make steady headway towards certifications that will advance my career.  I have also been preparing more meals for myself.  I am pretty good at making a healthy, nutritious meal.  Quite often my partner and I cook together, which makes for great progress on nutrition and improving our relationship.

To round out the balance between Sleep, Exercise, and Nutrition, I am sleeping better and regularly.  I have gotten much better at reminding myself that it’s time to turn off the electronics and go to bed.  It still amazes me how much more I dream now that I am completely sober for a long time.  All of these aspects are becoming more and more automatic.  I do not expect to become as routine as many people are, but balance is becoming self-regulating.

I have attended SMART meetings as needed, but I do not have a regular schedule.  I went to more initially to make sure they would offer me the type of support I benefit from, and they do.  When I’m busy I don’t experience many urges and the usefulness of meetings subsides.  If I’m less busy and approaching the imaginary state called “bored,” I go to a meeting.  The people in the groups are helpful in simply coping with urges and cravings, but far more than that too.  They are smart and complex people that are also dealing with other underlying issues as I often do.  Sharing perspectives, successes, and failures in these tests of life helps me maintain my own healthy mental balance.

Lastly, I pulled out my old guitar but haven’t gotten to that yet.  I bought it a long time ago and never learned more than the basic scale.  When I feel the need for another thing to juggle, I will throw that in because music is supposed to be good to connect the hemispheres of the brain.

That’s where I stand.  I feel great.  I am feeling empowered and continuing to see many ways to direct my own continued health.  I know of resources to go to should I want or need outside assistance.  Thank you so much for your continued support.