Recovery is a demanding process. While you’re putting your best effort into treatment there can be responsibilities and important needs that fall by the wayside. Even when we know it’s in our best interests, we can still be taken aback by the amount of time and energy getting sober takes from our personal lives.
Whether your house has become a mess, you’ve neglected to take care of your body or you’re not getting the necessary time to decompress, identifying and fulfilling unmet needs can help you in your recovery.
When you add treatment to your schedule
The first days and weeks of starting treatment can feel like a blur. Regardless of the type of services you started with, a significant commitment just got added to your regular schedule. In addition to the time commitment of treatment itself is the commute, time spent getting ready and time spent putting in the work outside of sessions. On top of the sacrifice of time is the emotional energy you’re sure to spend on your quest for sobriety.
Giving your best to treatment means that some other areas of your life may suffer. Although recovery should take priority and you may have to play catch-up later on, there are ways to manage your daily life so your other needs can be met. In fact, making sure the rest of your life feels like it’s in order can minimize the stressors that are getting in the way of your recovery.
Identifying unmet needs
The responsibilities and activities that have fallen by the wayside may be unimportant, or they may actually be interfering with your recovery. Think of it this way, If getting the alone time that you need is essential to your mental wellbeing, and you’re compromising it to get household chores done after therapy, the stability of your recovery could be in danger. It may be better to get that alone time and forgo the chores for now.
Identifying unmet needs is all about honing in on what causes you stress. Do you feel rushed by your tight schedule? Overwhelmed by your family’s needs? Sluggish because you didn’t get a chance to exercise or eat well? Just because these things happen outside of formal treatment doesn’t mean they’re not impacting your recovery.
Try this exercise in working backwards through your day to identify your unmet needs.
First, consider how you feel at the end of the day. Are you tired, annoyed, angry? Rewind your day, hour by hour and try to pinpoint where your emotions changed. While we all have off days, typically these feelings spring up in response to something we experience. If you can pick out the events that triggered negative feelings, you’re that much closer to fixing them.
Working to address unmet needs
Taking care of yourself is crucial in your journey towards long-term sobriety, and the sooner you are able to start addressing your unmet needs, the better. Once you’ve identified what’s missing in your daily life, you are much better equipped to fulfill those needs. While each person’s priorities will differ, here are some tips to make sure you’re not sacrificing your wellness on the journey.
1. Learn to compromise non-essentials
Treatment is all about learning to sacrifice small things you want for the one thing you want the most; long-term freedom from drugs. In treatment, work with your counselor or therapist to list your priorities and cut out less important tasks. Some people might put exercise at the top of the list, others can take a pause on their trips to the gym. Some might rely on social time to find meaning, others can swap outings for 10 minute phone calls. What you’re able to compromise will be unique to you, but be sure to talk it over with a trusted professional so you’re not neglecting anything.
2. Learn quick ways to give yourself the time you need
Investing in successful recovery can save you time and energy in the long-run. Finding ways to give yourself extra time or expel less energy now can help you to put your focus where it matters. Get groceries delivered, cut out social media, say no to unnecessary commitments, hire someone to clean your house, meal plan or keep to a strict schedule. Modern conveniences can either help or distract us in our efforts to be as efficient as possible, so be careful to filter out which is which.
3. Be ‘OK’ with uncompleted tasks
When you allow yourself to neglect some activities to prioritize your recovery, you might encounter some discomfort. It may feel strange to skip your yoga class or have someone deliver your groceries, but that’s ok. Learn to accept help and let uncompleted tasks pass without anxiety. If you can make peace and surrender some control, you’ll be able to focus better on your recovery.
Getting support in fulfilling your needs
Identifying and fulfilling your unmet needs doesn’t have to happen alone. Licensed professionals at Rehab After Work are ready to help you prioritize and organize your life so you can achieve the freedom you’ve been longing for without compromising the life you’ve built. Flexible scheduling allows you to attend treatment without sacrificing your career or family time. Call 610-644-6464 today to learn how you can meet all your needs and still achieve sobriety.