Essential Element #5 is “Maintain the Life You Love.” Maintaining the life you love – the life you want – involves several key factors: the anticipation of relapse; surrounding yourself with positive influences; managing triggers; finding a Higher Power; and focusing on your healing.
If we hope to maintain a life we love, and free of addiction, we must prepare for relapses and have a good idea of how we’ll respond when they happen. Slip-ups are to be expected, and so it’s crucial to not be discouraged when they occur. Never give up in despair.
Surround yourself with winners
This one harkens back to Essential Element #3; in order to maintain the life you love, surrounding yourself with the right people is paramount. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight but constantly allow yourself to be around people who are overeat, it’s going to be more difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Instead, it’s best to seek others who are supportive of your efforts and goals. Watch out for people who say they support you, yet they continue to eat poorly in your presence.
Maintaining a new life free of substances or compulsive behaviors means managing your emotional responses to the substances and temptations. Recovery requires a true, lifelong change in lifestyle. Emotions can be adversely affected by a wide range of things – from the smell of certain foods or the sight of a past partner, to an argument with a friend or family tragedy. Unmanaged emotional responses can be triggers for substance use and lead to more unhealthy habits. It’s how you respond to these triggers that can make all the difference between relapse and recovery.
Find a Higher Power
Whether through faith and prayer, spirituality or other means, it’s important you have something stronger than yourself upon which you can rely for inner strength while maintaining your recovery. That’s why we often hear those in AA, NA or other support groups talking about a “Higher Power.” Find what works for you.
Focus on yourself
Only when you focus on your own healing can you maintain the life you love, and perhaps help someone else in need.