Best #Self-Help Strategies for People in Recovery

Thank you to Charles Watson for the guest post on self-help strategies for recovering from addiction! Take it away, Charles:

Best Self-Help Strategies for People in Recovery

People are often taught to seek help when experiencing a recovery crisis. Although this is advisable at the beginning, it can also be helpful to perform some self-help strategies to boost chances of recovery. Read further to find out what you can do.

Self-help is a topic that is often explored in improving one’s wellness, business, or other individualistic pursuit. There are countless books and resources published in the topic of self-help, and it can sometimes be overwhelming which strategies are helpful for someone who has specific needs.

What is self-help?

Self-help, by definition, is using one’s own resources and will power to achieve things without the seeking the need of other people. This concept can be applied in many areas of your life while in recovery, such as forming of healthy habits, productivity, improving relationships, and many others.
Although it is understandable that you will still need the help of professionals when it comes to looking out for your health, there are some aspects of yourself that can be improved only through your choice. When you choose to better yourself, it helps you take another step towards recovery success.

What are the benefits of self-help strategies in recovery?

Self-help can supplement other recovery methods.

Self-help tools can aid your other recovery plans, such as those imposed to you if you go to a rehabilitation center. For example, a nutritionist may provide you with a diet plan that you should follow for recovery.
Accompanying this with self-help strategies to improve your sleeping habits can further aid in your health and increase your chances for recovery.

It can provide you with the motivation you need.

Many people find themselves motivated at the initial part of a rehabilitation period. However, as time goes by and the challenges to stay sober increase, it may be difficult to be on the right track.
Adopting self-help strategies could alleviate this lack of motivation and could give you the habit-forming tools to stay away from your old habits.

It can give you a strengthened mental perspective.

One of the cornerstones of self-help is discipline and control, and this is what you need on your road to recovery. Having a strong mental perspective gives you the ability to resist all kinds of temptations especially after you get away from rehabilitation centers or other controlled environments.
The ability to say “no” can be hard to achieve if you don’t have a strong mind. Acquiring a strong mind through self-help may be beneficial to your success.
Having mentioned all these self-help benefits, what are some of the best strategies in this area that can push you towards your goal?

What are self-help strategies to use for recovery?

Have a reality check about your substance abuse.

The most common hurdle for people who are undergoing addiction is their denial to the extent of their current state. As a person who is constantly taking substances, you need to admit that you have an addiction. Admitting to yourself that you need help is the first step in understanding and accepting the steps that you need to take for progress.
The most common signs that you have substance addiction are:
       Interference of drug use to your daily life
       Consistent use of substances even when it’s no longer prescribed or recommended
       Taking steps, even if morally wrong, to acquire substances such as drugs or alcohol
       Loss of control or irrational thoughts due to substance use
       Engaging in reckless behavior
       Physical health problems due to malnutrition on continued substance use

Read self-help addiction recovery material.

There are many inspirational and motivational books about addiction recovery that can help you get started with improving your mental strength. A lot of these books can vary in content–some of them contain touching stories of those who succeeded, and other have more specific steps you can take during the process of recovery.
These self-help books are meant to help you see the consequences of further addiction, make you understand how your addiction works, and what are some small habits you can pick up to keep yourself sober. Some of the top best sellers are:
       The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol by Annie Grace
       Integral Recovery by John Dupuy
       Awakening the Brain by Charlotte Tomaino
       Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy by David Sheff
Explore these titles and see which ones are applicable to you.

Attend self-help groups.

Another strategy that can help people to succeed in recovery is attending self-help groups. When it comes to fighting addiction, having a support group is essential to help build accountability towards each other.
Many self-help groups have people who did not necessarily go to rehab centers to fight their problems. A lot of them listened to others, found emotional strength through each other’s support, or found that socialization is a great occupation to keep them away from substances.
Some of the popular self-help groups are Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous. If you already have a rehab center that you’re currently attending, there may be support groups available to your current demographic and personal needs. Alternatively, there are also non 12 step rehab centers offering holistic services with support groups to help those in recovery.

Replace old habits with new ones.

Addiction is not about removal, but rather replacement. When you simply remove something in your life, that specific void will always have a need to be filled. This is why going cold turkey against substances often prove to be ineffective because people fail to replace their old habits with healthy ones.
A self-help strategy that is also applied in many rehab centers is searching for habits that help people stay away from drugs and alcohol. For example, instead of taking in drugs, people can pursue other hobbies such as going to the gym, adopting a pet, or attending events. Being idle can play tricks in your head, and make you feel like there’s a sense of lack. Research shows that you need a minimum of 21 days to establish a good habit in your daily routine.

Help yourself on the road to recovery

The road to recovery is comprised of many elements–seeking help from others, following specific steps, and having the self-motivated decision to succeed. As these elements come together, you will have better chances of taking the path towards addiction recovery.

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

How do you feel about exercise? Love it? Hate it? Obviously, exercise is great for our physical health . . . but did you know that exercise can work even better than medication for reducing anxiety and depression?

I’m one of those strange people that actually enjoys exercise. (If only I enjoyed eating right.) And the main reason I love exercise is the stress relief. Exercise makes me a happy camper.

Today, Ken Myers — President of Morningside Nannies — is here to tell us more!

Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Everyone knows that exercising has great physical benefits for ensuring your own longevity. However, not many realize the mental benefits that can come from regular activity as well. Exercising can do more than build strong muscles as it solidifies a variety of brain functions. There are several ways that your mental acuity can be healthier by exercising regularly.

1. Blood Flow – First, exercising in any form gets your blood pumping throughout your body. As your brain requires a continuous flow of oxygen, getting the blood moving faster will help it function on a higher level. This movement of blood increases a wide variety of mental operations, which can prevent depression. Some speculate that exercising benefits mental capacities because the blood moves nutrients faster to the brain in order to boost productivity.

2. Self-Confidence – As the source of a great amount of anxiety, stress, and depression, your dislike of your physical appearance can be detrimental to your mental health. All too often people look at themselves in the mirror and feel disgust by what they see. Exercising regularly can help people feel stronger, and focus on what their bodies can do instead of how they look. If people are happy with themselves, then confidence will be sure to follow.

3. Release of Negative Emotion – There are many people that harbor feelings such as anger, frustration, or anxiety on a regular basis, and stuffing these feelings down can be harmful. Regular exercise is a way to help reduce these feelings as your energy is spent on other tasks. It is a common belief that pushing yourself to exercise while you’re angry or frustrated helps reduce these feelings as you become too tired to feel anything else by the time you’re done. Because exercise helps decrease these negative feelings, some believe that exercise creates a happier you.

4. Not Just Your Muscles – Exercise does far more for your body than simply building muscle. When you focus on the task at hand, working your mind and body in concert, you strengthen your brain too.  In fact, activities like Yoga and martial arts have been known to alter brain structures due to the deep breathing, meditation, and coordinated movement. Exercise can bolster the mind-body connection.

Though it’s a challenge to squeeze in a workout in your busy schedule, exercise is definitely worth it. Not only will you impress others with how ‘ripped’ your body is getting, but they will also notice a change in your attitude and emotional state. Keep your body and your mind fit and a better lifestyle will be yours.

Author Bio:
Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.


Thank you, Ken! I often help my psychotherapy clients incorporate balanced exercise into their lives for all of the reasons you mention above.

Do YOU wish you could motivate yourself to do more exercise? Check out the Exercise is Medicine website. HERE is an assessment you can complete to identify your barriers to exercise.