When a person gets sober, there is a whirlwind of events that can take place. First, the body goes through cleansing all the toxins within drugs and alcohol, which for some time had a regular appearance in our body’s system. These toxins often set off a sometimes fierce physiological response. There are occasionally ferocious cravings triggered by these physiological responses and the profoundly ingrained mental patterns we have developed, too. Then comes the emotions and thought patterns that we either haven’t noticed or unconsciously blacked out while we were still actively using, that become too obvious to ignore. There are all the relationships we have to mend, nurture, or perhaps let go of. All of this sounds daunting and scary, but deep down, we know it’s what we need to heal from our destructive tendencies. Nurturing and acknowledging our mental health is an integral part of the recovery process. We must destigmatize mental health and our needs around it to fully and collectively heal.
What Exactly Is Mental Health?
In short, mental health is the condition of someone’s psychological and emotional wellbeing. Emotions and feelings are somewhat complicated, but to understand how our mental health truly works, it is crucial to explore and uncover our emotional responses and experiences in day-to-day life. The very thought of this can be triggering to some, and that is why professional help is often necessary when diving into our mental health journey.
Mental Health and Recovery
Recovery is a multidimensional experience affecting one’s physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing. It is an overall transformation of the self that can be painful, eye-opening, miraculous, and inspiring all at the same time. There are many emotions and mental experiences one goes through when getting sober. Sometimes it can all feel a bit much. However, that is why support groups, recovery programs, therapy, and sponsors are essential in all stages of recovery. We must destigmatize our mental health needs and find the support we need. One of the main aspects of getting sober is nurturing mental health. It is both beautiful and courageous to tune into our inner world after being separated from it for so long; we must acknowledge that throughout our process.
Get outside — a lot! There is something extraordinary about the connection between humanity and nature, and it has been scientifically proven that being outdoors releases endorphins and “feel-good” hormones in the body. Our relationship with the Earth is one we can always nurture and connect within various forms, and it helps us in so many different ways.
Pick Up a Journal
Journaling can be a potent tool to understanding ourselves, our emotions, our needs, and the important boundaries for us to make. There are any journal prompts specific to recovery, but also for other aspects of life as well. If you have trouble finding something to write about, a quick Google search can get you started on the right path.
Create a Routine
Rituals have been a part of many traditions and cultures for thousands of years, for a good reason. Human beings are habitual beings, and having a healthy routine and rituals for our mental and emotional wellbeing can be revolutionary for our process. Some examples could be:
- Waking up at the same time every day
- Doing a brief yoga practice every morning
- Writing a gratitude list
- Making time for prayer and meditation
- Making coffee after a morning walk
Having things we look forward to and commit ourselves to can be powerful medicine for the mind and body.
Practice Yoga or Meditation
Mindfulness has been proven to help one’s emotional wellbeing, positive sense of self, and the mind-body connection. Being present sounds like a simple idea, but it’s often very challenging to put into practice, but having a regular yoga or meditation practice helps us gain these mindfulness tools to use them in ordinary day-to-day life.
Connect With Others
Whether it’s an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, a specific support group, a group of friends coming together, one-on-one therapy, or all of the above, we are built to connect and support one another. Though a lot of the mainstream narrative is to be independent and “pick ourselves up by our bootstraps,” we are not built that way. We are interdependent beings. Meaning, we need to function independently and develop healthy lifestyle habits to be the person we want to be, but we also need people and support systems throughout our process.
Go to Therapy
Therapy can look different for every person. There are so many mental health specialists out there with varying ways of approaching mental health and emotional wellbeing. Having professional support is one of the most empowering things we can do for ourselves, our recovery, and our lives.
Create Healthy Habits
One of the essential parts of recovery is replacing our dangerous habits with healthy ones, including how we approach and think about our mental health. Creating healthy habits is included with all of the above and acknowledging that the way we think about our mental health can sometimes be the most destructive of them all. If you ever catch yourself saying unkind things to yourself, your body, or your ability to do something, try and immediately detect it and replace it with a more positive response. For example, instead of saying, “Why am I so tired and upset? Everybody else does what I have to do,” replace it with, “I am doing the best I can, and I probably need rest. I will do that for myself.” Or “I can’t believe I did that, I am so stupid and unworthy” replaced with “I am a human doing the best I can, and I am learning. I will do better next time. I am still worthy.” The way we speak to ourselves is a significant part of how we let others talk to us and how we show up in the world.
Mental health is often stigmatized throughout our modern world. Fortunately, we are starting to see shifts within this and calls to destigmatize one of the most natural, beautiful, and interconnected aspects of being a human. At Hired Power, we understand the complexities of getting sober and how it can affect our mental health and a general sense of wellbeing throughout the entire process. We know how important it is to feel supported during this time, and we are dedicated to helping others throughout their recovery and road to sobriety. Hired Power is a dynamic group of recovery professionals that provide an empowering range of services in a compassionate and healing environment that gives people the best opportunity for long-term success and happiness. Our Personal Recovery Assistants encourage and motivate clients to become active participants in their own lives. Contact Hired Power today at (800) 910-9299. Let us help you on your journey to healing.