Many people associate the word schedule (or routine) with an activity that is boring or redundant . However, the word takes on entirely different implications in addiction recovery circles. The reality is that creating and sticking to a schedule can help someone in recovery in many aspects of their sobriety. What are those aspects and how do they help?
Here are four areas where having (and keeping) a schedule have an impact:
Schedules Reduce Anxiety
When we start each day and don’t have a plan for the day, no matter how good our objectives, we typically stray simply because we are without immediate purpose (i.e., schedule). Sleeping in and getting a late start usually leaves people daydreaming in front of their televisions or surfing social media. For example, you may be unemployed and looking for a job and going to a 12-step meeting might be your key daily priorities. However, if you don’t breakdown these goals into time increments you will feel lost. Instead, if you get up close to the same time as you would be working and dedicate most of the business day to your search, you will likely be employed soon. Also, setting up new goals will fill your day before you know it. Exercise is a popular schedule addition to those in early recovery. It is highly productive and a great health benefit. This is the time when your body and mind are still in the healing stages from your addiction. Those in early recovery need the predictability of knowing exactly what you’re going to do each day to help ease their transition into long-term recovery. Being able to look at your daily schedules helps decrease some of the anxiety while promoting goal setting and achievement.
Routines Demonstrate Stability
One of the best most important ingredients to have in early recovery is stability. In short, stability demonstrates to others that you are reliable and dependable. This creates trust with employers, friends, and family alike. When others regard you as stable, it means they feel they can count on you to do what you say, to handle your obligations without being reminded or second-guessed. Stability isn’t something that someone else can give you. While you may be offered a job or be welcomed back to your existing job after addiction treatment, it’s up to you to make good on doing the work that job entails.
In other words, you have the chance to succeed – but you also have the choice to fall short. In supporting stability, success comes from the schedule of being on time for work (or school) each day, performing certain tasks efficiently, and being a capable employee (student). A regular schedule also means having structure for your home life, such as shopping for groceries and cooking healthy meals. It includes paying your bills on-time with a scheduled time frame for completing task. The same goes for doing laundry, cleaning, and other chores. The people who schedule all the things they need to do promote stability to their employers, families and more. chores.
Routines Train You for More Responsibility
No one wants to stay in the same place forever. Instinctively, we all want to make progress and see the fruit of our labor. By adhering to your routine, doing the best you can each day you want to see what lies ahead. Okay, your number one goal is to stay sober, but life is greater than just not using drugs or alcohol. Successful long-term recovery means that you have created an entire new life in recovery, one that includes setting goals and following your ambitions.
When you stick to your routine, you are training yourself for greater responsibility. You will feel competent enough to ask your boss for increased responsibility. If things are coming easier to you at work because you’ve learned how to manage your time, you’ll be well prepared for the next level. For example, if you show up for work on-time for an entire year and your boss is looking for a new manager to open the business, then you are a good candidate! You will have the self-confidence of your months of routine at work, and the results of your steadily improving productivity. This is bound to impress your employer and others who may be in a position to help you move ahead. Your daily routine of dependable task completing demonstrates your commitment to those around you every day.
Schedules Increase Personal Self-Esteem
I have been asked over time about the relationship between making your bed in the morning and recovery. Simply stated, making your bed is an achievement and likely one of you’re the first you complete each day. It is also likely that if you make your bed each morning that other areas of your home will be tidy and neat. It will be a stark comparison to a home without structure in active addiction. At the same time, lack of self-esteem is not easily overcome in the early days of recovery. It impacts some more than others, but every person in recovery suffers from some level of low self-esteem. This generally happens when you have lost everything to your addiction. However, a routine is a ladder that you can climb every day. In fact, performing your daily routine is something that you alone can do to help prove to yourself that you matter and are worthy.
Simple Path Recovery is a beach side, boutique addiction treatment center located in Pompano Beach, FL. Recognized as a Top Florida Drug & Alcohol Rehab, Simple Path is committed to individualized care, 12-step integration, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Their addiction helpline is available 24/7 at 855-467-3625.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.