In our days of drinking and drugging, we ran the streets like wild horses, charging full speed ahead to whatever crazy event would bring us a sense of excitement. Getting loaded was our priority and everything else took a backseat. When alcoholism and addiction take over, everything else falls by the wayside. All we care about is that next drink, fix or hit. Random, bizarre behavior became the norm for us as we slowly and painfully lost the ability to make rational decisions and take proper care of ourselves.
We stayed until the bar closed at 2 a.m., only to pass out when we got home and curse the alarm clock when it sounded only a few hours later. We would drag our weary body out of bed and trudge through the workday, barely getting by, only to repeat the cycle again that evening. Or, we would go on binges that would keep us up all night and go to work without sleep, still high on drugs. Proper sleeping habits? Forget about it.
Addiction always involves poor food choices, which might have manifested as starvation, malnutrition or overeating in our own life. We may have stopped caring about our personal hygiene, going days without showering or brushing our teeth. When we’re getting high or drunk, who has time to do laundry, exercise or engage in a hobby? Never mind taking time to nourish our spirituality or quench our need for healthy social activity. No, when drugs and alcohol are at the helm, any execution of a healthy routine is out of the question.
Taking Care of the Whole You
Taking care of our mental, physical, spiritual and emotional well-being must become paramount to all other things now that we are in recovery. We must learn to eat right, establish a normal sleep pattern, find time to attend meetings and learn relaxation techniques that will help us stay centered. We should also seek a spiritual outlet of some kind and attend to that aspect of our life regularly. We must also set aside time to spend quality time with friends and family. This is where establishing a routine becomes an important part of our sobriety.
When we were in our addiction or acting out our alcoholism, we stayed away from routine like the plague. After all, to us, routine equaled boredom. Besides, once the chemicals took over, we lost the capacity to honor a routine of anyway. We were a slave to our substance abuse, which dictated to us how the day was supposed to go. Forming positive habits of any kind was out of the question.
Establishing a Routine Keeps You Focused
Now, we must reevaluate our lives and find a routine that works for us, one that promotes a sober, healthier, more productive version of ourselves. This means we go to bed at the same time every night, at a decent hour. We wake up at relatively the same time every morning. We consistently have breakfast, lunch and dinner around the same time very day. We allocate our weekends to pursuing personal goals and we find time to go to church or engage in some other spiritual activity. Let us not forget, of course, that our 12-step meetings must be part of our weekly, if not daily, ritual.
Maintaining a routine helps to keep our lives manageable. It brings a sense of normalcy into the once chaotic and confused universe we created for ourselves. It allows our bodies to find their own natural rhythm so we can learn to become highly functioning people without abusing chemicals. A routine restores balance and harmony to our mind, body and soul. It can mean all the difference in the life of someone who is sincerely seeking recovery and wants to experience serenity.
Just for today, make the decision to set a routine for yourself. Take it one step at a time and be patient with yourself. It may be difficult at first, but in the long run, you will find that a routine isn’t boring at all –it allows you to become the best you you can be!