Published On: February 26, 2024Categories: Addiction RecoveryComments Off on Tips For Managing Your Mental Health in Recovery

For most of us, getting sober will be one of the hardest things we ever do. Being caught up in active addiction is no picnic and the work of recovery isn’t easy. But once you’re through the trial by fire — how do you hold onto that hard-won peace of mind?

This North Jersey Recovery Center article offers some tips for managing your mental health and keeping your cool in recovery. 

What Happens After the ‘Pink Cloud’ Blows Away?

One of the many clever sayings and concepts in recovery is the notion of the ‘pink cloud’. If you haven’t heard this one before, the ‘pink cloud’ is a metaphor for the honeymoon period in early sobriety when people revel in their newfound life without drugs and alcohol. You’ve seen people who are “on fire” for recovery, make lots of NA or AA meetings, work the 12 steps thoroughly, take on sponsees, hit the gym and get in shape, etc. You may be one of them yourself.

The last thing we’d ever want to do is dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for recovery, of course. That’s not what this is about. We aren’t saying the ‘pink cloud’ is a bad thing. It most definitely isn’t. However, it also isn’t sustainable. No one rides that pink cloud forever. Eventually, we all face challenges in our sobriety that threaten that precious peace. It doesn’t necessarily take a crisis to dissolve your pink cloud though.

Why Do People Lose Their Enthusiasm For Recovery?

You may just get tired of the routine of going to meetings and having lunch or dinner afterward with the same people. Doing the same old things to occupy your free time and entertain yourself. You might even have a co-occurring condition, like depression or anxiety, that’s not being treated as effectively as it could be. 

The important thing is to be aware that this is a problem everyone in recovery faces, so there are solutions to it and things you can do to avoid losing steam in the first place, or to pick up speed again if you’re losing momentum. The key is to recognize when it’s happening and don’t ignore it. That’s how relapses begin. Do something about it. Tell someone. Talk about it and take action. 

Why do people lose steam in recovery sometimes?

  • They get bored with a routine, same meetings, same people.
  • They stop going to meetings and stop doing the things that help them most.
  • They stop sponsoring people and lose sight of the magic of the program.
  • They slow down and stop growing and pursuing new goals and challenges. 

How To Maintain Your Mental Health in Recovery

Maintaining your mental health in recovery is essential and it doesn’t just happen automatically. The human mind and spirit are like machines, just like the body. They require maintenance and attention to remain functioning properly. We must not take our peace of mind and well-being for granted. Don’t wait until you’re miserable again to take care of your needs. 

Here are some tips for maintaining mental health and vibrant recovery: 

Sustain a Slow Burn 

Remember that recovery is a lifelong process and lifestyle. You don’t go to rehab, “recover” and then you’re done and just go back to your life as it was. If you want to STAY sober, you must adopt a sustainable system for living. We simply don’t have the luxury of ‘getting bored’ with recovery. The secret is keeping this thing at a slow burn, a low boil. You don’t want it bubbling over the top and you can’t let your recovery grow cold. Just simmer.  

Keep It Green

You may have heard this saying before, but what does it really mean? In the context of recovery, it means avoiding too much routine or getting stuck in the doldrums. If you’re in a 12-step fellowship, make sure you are spending time with newcomers. Not just helping them, but listening to them. You can learn just as much from someone with 6 months sober as someone with 6 years. Try a meeting you’ve never been to before. Try a different fellowship even. Do whatever it takes to keep things fresh.

Make Self-Care a Priority

One of the biggest mistakes people make in early recovery is losing sight of the things that helped them get sober in the first place. You may give a lot of yourself to others — and you should, that is an essential part of recovery. Just remember that you have to refill your own water pitcher from time to time or you won’t have anything to pour in anyone else’s glass. Make time to get what you need. Recharge with meditation, prayer, exercise. Spend quiet time in nature.  

Pursue Growth

Remember that recovery isn’t a finish line, it’s a never-ending journey. That means we’ve got to keep our feet moving. One of the biggest reasons depression returns or mental health suffers in recovery is that we stop pursuing new goals. We stop looking to the future and stop growing. We can’t afford to grow complacent in recovery or sober life. If you feel stuck in a rut, find a new challenge or goal. All you need is something to help you grow as a person positively. Begin therapy, take an art class. Start practicing yoga or tai chi. Go back to college. Learn a new language. Keep growing. 

A Better Life with North Jersey Recovery Center

Recovery from addiction is a gift that everyone deserves. No one should have to stay sick and suffering, caught in the quicksand. Helping people overcome addiction is what we do at North Jersey Recovery Center.

We’re here to make a difference in the lives of other people and help them find freedom from the illness of addiction. Whatever you have to share, we’re here to listen and to help. Give us a call at (877) 790-5873

NJRC offers a full range of programs to fit busy lifestyles, with day and evening Intensive Outpatient Treatment available. All it takes is a phone call to begin moving in the right direction.