It is important to understand that no two people who enter a drug recovery program will go through the same experience, encounter the same hurdles, have the same feelings and sensations, nor will the environments be the same when they return home. This is one of the reasons that the best drug rehabilitation programs are those that do not follow a ‘one size fits all’ approach but instead offer bespoke recovery programs for each individual.
Nevertheless, there are still some core principles that apply to all drug recoveries, and one of them is that the post-recovery period after the individual leaves the drug rehab facility is critical. It is during this period that the majority of relapses can occur and therefore the recovering drug user must be given every tool possible to help them remain free of drug use.
One of the key ways of helping their recovery is for the individual to have as much structure and routine in their lives as possible. It must be borne in mind that a person’s drug use was, in part, ongoing due to them having zero, or at best, very little structure and routine in their lives during the period they were drug dependent.
Benefits of Structure and Routine
Having structure and routine in any life is beneficial, but it has even more important in the life of someone recovering from drug use. The five main benefits of structure and routine are outlined below.
They Assist In Exercising Control
Temptation invariably raises its ugly head when recovering from drug use, and often willpower needs a helping hand to resist it. Having a daily routine that is structured properly will create numerous “opportunities” to practice willpower and control. Examples are, religiously getting out of bed when your alarm clock goes off or your morning routine of showering, getting dressed and eating a healthy breakfast. Even taking the dog out for a walk requires willpower sometimes.
They Create A Degree Of Normality
Recovery from drug use can mean learning new ways and new habits, which may seem strange at first. If these soon form part of your daily routine then the more you do them the more normal they become. It then follows that you will do many things without really thinking about them, avoiding the risk that they spark thoughts of drugs addiction recovery being the reason you are doing them.
They Can Boost Mental Health Including Self-Esteem
A core principle within personal development is that the setting and achieving of goals provides a huge boost to one’s self-esteem and mental health. Those goals can range from lifetime achievement goals to your to-do list for that morning. Structured routines are bound to include goals throughout them which provide an opportunity to complete or achieve tasks that provide that self-esteem boost.
They Help In Avoiding Boredom
Boredom is a reason that present and past drug users highlight as one of the factors in their addiction, so, anything which can ward off boredom is to be welcomed. Always having something to aim for, or being active in necessary tasks you have planned are but two ways a structured routine can contribute to keeping your mind focussed rather than drifting back to thinking about drugs due to your inactivity.
They Can Enhance Physical Health
A properly planned schedule should allow you to include “me-time” and one of the best ways to spend some of that time is to keep yourself fit. Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can boost your physical and mental health. It can also allow you to meet up with others who participate in whatever fitness or sporting activities you choose to pursue.