Spring arrived this past weekend, and it’s a good time for recovering addicts and alcoholics—as well as their families—to think about the direction in which their life is headed. After all, it’s been almost three months since we made our New Year’s resolutions. Some of us have made decent progress, while others have yet to begin. But it is never too late to start changing our lives for the better. And if you consider the year to start with the first of the four seasons, you’re right on time to begin making something better of your life.
To some, spring may also be a symbolic time for change and rebirth. Some have been preparing for Easter through the practice of Lent. Whatever they chose to give up for those forty days, they can now reincorporate it back into their lives with a little more gratitude. Many also believe that Jesus was resurrected around this time. But even those with no religious views whatsoever may see spring as symbolic of positive change. We are long past the dead of winter, with flora beginning to spawn anew. Fields left barren by winter are beginning to sprout new life, animals are emerging from hibernation, and many mating cycles are preparing to take their course.
The following will cover three basic areas in which you make seek to change your life for the better this spring. The first will cover solely the realm of the physical. The second will cover the mental and emotional, with some mentions of the spiritual as well. We will then cover a few other goals that you might set for yourself this spring. There’s a beautiful world sprouting new life right outside your window. It’s time to be a part of it.
Undergoing Physical Rebirth
Your physical rebirth may take many forms, depending upon what you are trying to accomplish. Depending upon where you live, the weather should be getting a bit nicer. Even if you already tend to maintain your fitness, you might try moving your cardio outside if you tend to get stuck in the gym. This will tie into your mental and emotional health as well. Between the warmth of the sun and the joy of breathing cool, fresh air, you can better your health while allowing yourself to feel free of all indoor confines.
With winter having passed, the produce section of your local supermarket might be carrying some new stocks as well. If they aren’t right now, it shouldn’t be too long. You might try looking up some recipes for new homemade meals. Those who are serious about getting into shape might consider getting a juicer as well. Juicing is a nice way of filling the void for those who need a “substitute addiction,” and there’s a lot of great produce that combines nutrition with mental health benefits. To those who have been meaning to start a diet since New Year’s, now could be a great time to begin.
Of course, all of these changes might make you consider doing a few other things for your health as well. If you want to start going for runs, you’ll find it quite difficult to do so if you are a habitual cigarette smoker. Obviously, it is your choice to continue smoking if you so choose. But if you have been wanting to quit for a while and just seem to keep putting it off, you could make quitting a part of your new physical health regimen for this spring.
Whatever you do, try to construct a healthy routine out of it. The key to successful diet and exercise is consistency. If you lose your stride, it can be hard to get it back. Figure out when you’re exercising, what kind of exercise you’re doing on those days, and make sure that you’re eating on a regular schedule instead of starving yourself all day and then consuming massive quantities right before bed. It will be hard to adjust to your new schedule, but only at first. By the end of spring, your healthy routine will feel second-nature. All you have to do is push through your initial urge to quit.
Undergoing Mental/Emotional Rebirth
Anyone reading an article on a rehabilitation website, be they addict or family member, could probably use a boost to their mental and emotional well-being. Life may have been rough until now, but it’s time to take a breath of that sweet spring air and begin forging a new lease on life. You might begin by making a list of your character defects and trying to work on them. Or you might begin by treating yourself to a day of rest and relaxation once a week. But this is only scratching the surface.
Some younger addicts or family members are likely at the start of a new semester right now, so this is an appropriate time to work on the mind. But spring is also the first financial quarter, meaning that those with decent jobs might start putting their mental efforts toward increasing productivity. Or if you’re into learning new things, you might focus on politics—in case you haven’t noticed, there’s a highly controversial presidential campaign commanding the headlines right now. But really, you can focus on expanding your mind in any fashion you want. Learn about something that interests you, or read some fiction in a genre you enjoy. You’ll be surprised at how fulfilled you will feel when your mind is adequately stimulated.
Spring may be a decent time for spiritual rebirth as well. If you want to combine this with your physical rebirth, you might try an extended form of walking meditation. But if you just want to get in touch with your inner senses, Zen sitting meditation will do just fine. Aside from meditation, you might try prayer if you are so inclined. March is the month of Step Three, so this is a great time to make sure that your Higher Power and your sense of faith are well-defined. Express your spirituality however you choose, but make sure that it receives some attention during your spring of self-improvement.
As for emotional rebirth, remember what we said above about this being the first financial quarter of the year. With your taxes filed, now is a good time to assess your budget and see if you have room for a therapist. Even if you do not feel like you urgently need therapy, you’ll find that it can be beneficial to share your feelings with an objective stranger. If you are strapped for cash, try seeing if a local university has a community counseling clinic. These often charge on a sliding scale, and they help grad students get the hours of hands-on experience they need in order to become licensed. With the spring semester underway, there are likely some experienced students looking to increase their hours before they graduate.
If you won’t go in for therapy at all, you might just try connecting with some old friends or going to new meetings in order to expand your support network. Maybe even take on a new hobby and try to meet other people who engage in the same thing. Whatever you do, try to analyze the source of any emotional dissatisfaction you may have and ensure that you address it as soon as possible.
Other Goals to Consider This Spring
There are other goals you may consider that don’t necessarily fit snugly into any of the categories above. Some, however, come close. As we mentioned, taking up a new hobby can be great. And while something like coin collecting or stamp collecting (if that happens to be something you enjoy) may not have much of a social aspect unless you go out of your way to find other collectors, it can still leave you emotionally self-satisfied if you are pursuing an interest you truly enjoy. You may even be able to find a hobby that can make you a bit of money. We imagine blogs on stamp collecting probably aren’t overstaffed with writers.
And remember that coin and stamp collecting are just examples. We know one former treatment patient who writes entertainment news and comic book reviews for a couple of websites, absolutely free of charge. He still has to work hard at other jobs to keep the bank account full, but he has found that his free work keeps him emotionally well-balanced. He never feels overworked, because he has pursuits in life that make him feel happy about how he spends his free time. It couldn’t hurt to spend this spring season in search of a pursuit that does the same for you.
You might apply the same theory to your social life, or your work life. Do not just make new friends and reconnect with old ones for the sake of building your support system, but rather because you simply feel you might enjoy meeting more like-minded people. Do not consider looking for a new job because you simply want more money, but because you want to do something that makes you happy. Yes, this all plays into your emotional life. But improving upon these areas will better your life in other ways as well. Now that you have learned how to handle the effects that addiction and alcoholism have directly or indirectly had on your life, you can begin to focus on other matters.
There is no better time than the present. Make this spring a time of self-improvement and fulfillment. Seek out better health, love, and happiness wherever you can. Spring is when new life begins to grow. Why not start your own new life while you have the chance?