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Building Basic Structure and Routine in Early Recovery: III


3. Mind the basics: Of course, getting back to feeling in tip-top shape and maintaining your sobriety entails more than just streamlining your schedule and having rehearsed things to say to others. Part of your new and structured environment in early recovery involves taking care of your nutritional needs and getting adequate rest. As it often happens, when you’re in early recovery, you’re still recuperating somewhat from the residual effects or chronic conditions resulting from your addiction. You may be anemic, weak, have muscle atrophy, or have trouble warding off infection. Many who enter sober-living residency following treatment say they just want to hole up and sleep for a couple weeks straight. Many do just that, although they do make time to be accountable to their hose-chores and go to 12-step meetings and counseling in between sleeping sessions.

Begin by stocking up the refrigerator and pantry with wholesome foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, seafood, whole grain cereals, breads, and rice or pasta. If you’re not a cook, and have no one to cook for you, buy a good cookbook or research some recipes online and create menus filled with nutritious, easy-to-make meals. In fact, creating tasty dishes can be a form of therapy for you, besides being good for your overall health.

You’ll also want to ensure that you’re eating a solid three meals a day, beginning with breakfast. This is one meal you don’t want to skip. Forget about just a cup of coffee or a latte from Starbucks on your way to work. That’s no way to treat your body, especially in early recovery. You need the fuel from food to keep you going through the morning hours, and your brain functions better with the morning breakfast boost as well. Don’t think you can skip lunch or eat a candy bar at your desk, either. That’s just no fuel and empty calories, respectively. When you’re hungry (as you’re bound to be when you don’t eat), it’s too easy for cravings and urges to surface. You’re also more likely to become jittery, nervous, frustrated, stressed out and prone to making mistakes or rushing to faulty conclusions. For dinner, it can be a light meal, if you like, but be sure to allow enough time (2-3 hours) so that you’re not eating right before you go to bed.

Speaking of bed, you need a good 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Most adults do, and this is even more critical for those in early recovery. You may even require more. If so, and your schedule permits, get more sleep. But don’t just languish the hours away in bed. There are many more things that need your attention for the early days of your recovery.

Recovery from active addiction happens “One Day at A Time”, take it easy & be well.