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Tips for Setting Priorities During Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

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Seeking help and starting the beginning stages of recovery is extremely hard, but following through with continued recovery is a battle in itself. Recovery lasts a lifetime, whether you’re managing substance abuse, mental health symptoms, or both.

How you balance and sort your priorities when you’re in recovery has a big hand in your long-term success, so it’s important to have a plan. This plan will help you to keep your priorities in line, remind you of what’s important, keep you accountable, and hopefully catch a slip before it becomes a relapse. Having a plan is a lot better than going with the flow, and will ensure more success.

Create a Schedule for Continued Support

After getting clean, or after getting help for a major mental health episode, the work doesn’t stop there. Getting continued support will help you maintain your path of recovery, so it’s vital to set it as a high priority.

However, it’s not enough to agree to continued support, you actually have to make a plan and create a schedule for it. For instance, if you’re using medically-assisted treatment, you need to schedule your appointments in advance, and don’t be afraid to speak to the substance abuse nurses who will teach you about additional support and tools to use. If you’re speaking to a counselor each week for your mental health symptoms, make a standing appointment every week or couple of weeks. This will help keep continued support a high priority in recovery.

Get Back to What You Love

Experiencing a setback in your battle for recovery can mean losing a passion and the desire to take part in the things you once loved. Stay focused on recovery by getting back to those things. Spending time with family, doing yoga, continuing work, or getting back to your art can all help you to stay focused on your recovery.

Art therapy is a common strategy in recovery, so if you’re an artistic soul, your creative work can do wonders for your continued passion while sticking with your priorities. Your passion doesn’t have to be artistic, either. Any type of healthy hobbies that make you happy and fuel your zest for life can only help you in recovery.

Be Mindful of Your Triggers

It’s easy to say you’ll stick to your recovery priorities when you’re in a good headspace and things are going well, but it’s harder to stay focused on that when you’re experiencing something difficult, or you feel tempted to return to problematic behaviors. This is why it’s important to stay mindful of your triggers, and to have a plan for when they happen.

The prevalence of prescription drug abuse in today’s society has contributed to rising numbers of addiction cases, which can mean that just being in a hospital can be triggering if you’re recovering from a prescription drug addiction. It’s helpful to be aware of that so you can prepare to feel triggered in that scenario.

Whatever your trigger is, and whatever type of recovery you’re going through, work on a plan if you begin to feel the same feelings that led to mental health symptoms or substance abuse. Call your sponsor, go for a walk, talk to a loved one, or speak to your counselor. This will help you remember your priorities so that you don’t take a step back in your recovery.

Have a Plan and Make a Budget

The turmoil that a mental health episode or substance abuse problem causes can also affect a person’s basic needs for living an independent life. This includes your job, living situation, transportation, bills, and other basic necessities. In order to get back to a place where recovery is easier, it’s helpful to make a plan for your future and to make a budget. Think about what you want from your life and the steps to get there. Therapy, a car, and a stable home will all require money. Work on creating a family budget, depending on your home size, by identifying your income, tracking your expenses, and determining your goals. This will set you up for success in many areas of your life going forward.

Put Your Recovery First

The best way to keep your recovery a priority is to put it first. You can’t provide your family, friends, or job with a healthy you unless you make your recovery your first priority. It isn’t selfish, and it’s an important aspect of understanding self-care and valuing your worth. Don’t feel discouraged if your progress is going slow; many stories of recovery involve taking many small steps. Often, the simple act of forcing yourself to get up and take a shower is the best step you can take towards your recovery in that moment. Give yourself grace, be patient, and put yourself and your recovery before anything else.

Recovery is hard work. Many people in recovery have to let go of a lot of bad places, bad people, and bad habits before they can get better. If that isn’t a priority, recovery won’t be successful in the long-term. It’s about staying diligent about aftercare, finding healthy hobbies, and managing triggers instead of giving into them. It’s about making a plan, creating a budget, and putting yourself and your health first. It’s hard to continuously switch your priorities and way of thinking, but there are many resources to help. In order to set your priorities during recovery, ask for help and put your recovery first.



Author Bio: Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. She is frequently lost in a good book or podcast. Her life goal is to find the most delicious mac n’ cheese in every town she visits.

Photo Credit:  Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

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