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Establishing Routine

Discussion in 'General Substance Abuse Discussion' started by stellaluna, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    Establishing a routine is really important in recovery (according to all of my counselors). This includes eating regularly, having good sleep habits, maintaining a healthy level of activity, keeping up with hygiene, etc. For me, this is something I struggle with immensely. I mainly struggle with healthy sleep and eating habits. What helps you establish good routines and stick with them?
  2. Sarah15

    Sarah15 Member

    I had exactly the same trouble! What I did was break down the day into manageable chunks - 8am-12 noon, 12noon-4pm, and 4pm-8pm etc.

    In the morning hours I made a list of all the different types of "morning thing" there are to do like getting showered, brushing teeth, eating breakfast etc. As tedious as it may sound, writing every minute detail down and ticking it off the list not only ensured that I did the task, but in doing it over and over I was forming a habit and creating a routine for myself. Even the tiny details like "clear the table after breakfast", "wash the dishes" and "put the dishes away", all gave me the repetition I needed to get my brain into focus.

    I did the same with the next chunks of time in the day, and my afternoon list completed today, read as follows:

    Prepare lunch
    Eat lunch
    Clear table after lunch
    Wash lunch dishes
    Put dishes away
    Do an hour's work
    Take a 20 minute walk
    Put a load of laundry in the machine
    Iron trousers and shirts
    Do an hour's work
    Make a cup of tea

    And so on, and so forth. It does work, and you'll soon be forming a routine for yourself.

    Establish a time for going to bed and keep to it every evening no matter what; do the same for getting up in the morning, and also for mealtimes. Shop regularly for fresh food and always have what you need to eat healthily in your fridge and cupboards so you have no excuse not to do it.

    Do this for a while and come back and let us know how you are getting on.
  3. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    Thanks for your detailed response! I would imagine that being able to check off each task also gives some sort of intrinsic reward. It's a little feeling of accomplishment. I think one of my main struggles is that I like being spontaneous. I have this attraction towards a little bit of chaos. At the same time, I know that I need to have some sort of routine, so I'm finding difficulty establishing some sort of balance there. I don't want to feel like I'm stifling myself, while at the same time I want to be more responsible.
  4. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    I don't think that a strict routine is healthy, although in some cases it's necessary.
    One important thing that helped me was having goals. It's also very good if you reward yourself if you keep up with your routine (e.g get a Starbucks large coffee or something if you achieved your goals for the week).
    It all comes down to small things in the end, don't stress it too much.
    imperivm1 likes this.
  5. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    I agree. I think that if we create too strict of a regime then it invites anxiety into our lives. I used to struggle with obsessive compulsive tendencies and that always resulted in extreme anxiety for me. At some point I went completely the other way, and now I'm just trying to find some happy medium.
  6. imperivm1

    imperivm1 Community Champion

    I second this as well. Strict routines might turn out to be tedious and disheartening in the long run. They shouldn't be undertaken by people who lack the power of will. For the average Joe a more simple set-up could prove beneficial. Of course, making sure all the steps are followed is essential, but it shouldn't cast a shadow over our everyday lives.
  7. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    Well, it's important for recovering addicts to create their own game plan so they could be able to overcome their addictions well. But the downside of having a strict routine is that when you aren't able to do/follow one thing on your list, it would somehow make you feel depressed which is not a good thing for recovering addicts.
  8. 003

    003 Community Champion

    Discipline is the key to having good routine, and this is where the challenge comes greatly from. What I do is I make a plan, and I try to stick with it the best that I could. It only means that if my bed time is at 8 pm, I'd go to bed at that time even though I don't feel sleepy already, and if I only slept at 12, but I have to wake up at 4 am, I'd go up at that time, and then I will just keep on continuing my routine as planned.
  9. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Routines are great because you get to study your habits a lot better and therefore you'd be able to identify anomalies easier. As for establishing routines I don't think there is a big secret to being able to do it other than having the willpower and the knowledge on what style best fits the person's personality.
  10. Sarah15

    Sarah15 Member

    The ultra strict routine that my doctor helped me to plan was the thing that got me back on track; it would have been so easy to make excuses and say I didn't want to do it for whatever reason, but I had the will and determination to do it, and I believe that's what got me to sober up again.

    As I progress, it becomes much less of a "regime", and the idea is that "normal life" takes over, and you do those things without being prompted by a list. There's no punishment if you forget something; you just carry on from where you left off. There's no boot-camp dictator waiting in the wings to kick you if you fail to tick off your tasks either. o_O It's just a piece of paper with things written down on it. It's down to you, your own determination to get better, and your resolve to keep trying.

    Believe me I've made all the excuses under the sun in the past when I didn't want to do things that looked tedious or anxiety laden, and in the end I knew I had to with it if I wanted to get better. But not everything works for everyone, and we're all different. Much of it depends on the will of the person to make life better for themselves.
  11. AFKATafcar

    AFKATafcar Community Champion

    By staying organized and having a routine, individuals can fight the urge to abuse substances because such structure throughout the day means that things need to be done on time. Plus, it helps avoid down time, which can be a person's worst enemy while they're on the road to sobriety and recovery. Far too many people lack structure in their days and wind up paying the consequences for such lax schedules.
  12. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    You struggle with sleep and good eating habits. One goes with the other. If you eat poorly you are more than likely to have sleeping problems. There are other factors but junk food will not be conducive to decent sleep in the long run. You will find if you eat real foods like fruits and vegetables you will see a difference. Detox and cleanse the body. The chemicals in processed foods can effect your ability to focus. Hence the inability to create routines and stick to them. Cellphones and pc's with all the electromagnetic frequencies add to sleeplessness and focus problems. So its good to cut down on it.
  13. stariie

    stariie Community Champion

    In my opinion having a routine during recovery is imperative, and for that matter, I think that sticking to a routine is extremely important in life, at least for me it is. Therein lies the path to many of life's successes (if we are to learn anything from life itself when it comes to routine).
    I think that the very fabric of life itself goes by a certain routine, and if it did not then chaos would reign.

    The sun comes up around the same time everyday, that being some time in the early morning. Imagine if there was no routine to the sun, one day it comes up at 6AM, the next day it doesn't come up until 12 in the afternoon, the next day it doesn't rise until 7:35PM. It wouldn't take much of this to have the entire Earth in a uproar.

    On a job, you go in at a certain time each day, and get off at a certain time each day. Let's say there was no routine to anybody's work schedule, or pay schedule:eek::confused:. It would be hard to live life in any semblance of order.
    Or what if you're in school, and there's no routine to the class schedule, it changes every single day. We would never accomplish anything.

    All that being said, I prefer routine in my life, but sometimes, due to lack of discipline, I deviate from it. I can definitely tell the difference in my over-all life performance between the times when I commit to a schedule of doing things and the times when I don't.
    In recovery, having large blocks of time in which one does nothing is a recipe for disaster.
  14. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    Time will help you establish a healthy way of living. You have to break old habits and begin new ones. After a period of time you will be able to keep up with your healthy routines. The best way to get things on the right track is to start now. Be patient and persistent and it will pay off.
  15. knitmehere

    knitmehere Community Champion

    The only part of this I still have a problem with is remembering to eat. I fix dinner for the whole family, but that's basically the only meal that I ever remember to eat.
  16. Hr2hlp

    Hr2hlp Member

    When other people and animals depend on me, establishing a routine around their needs is where I start. Then I add the "me time". I have my routine down to a science. I give myself 15 minute leeway on the clock.
  17. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    For me, getting into a routine is honestly just a matter of doing it. I used to set alarms on my phone that would literally say things like "shower" or "get out and walk!" -- sounds dumb and obvious, I know - but it worked for me. Now I'm just that much ingrained with my daily schedule and routine that I just do what has to be done on autopilot!
  18. serenity

    serenity Community Champion

    I agree that having a routine is quite important, because it prevents the addict from thinking about taking drugs again. I'm not an addict though so I don't follow any sort of routine, unless you're talking about the mundane ones.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2015
  19. knitmehere

    knitmehere Community Champion

    That's probably what I'll end up having to do. If I sent alarms and leave notes telling myself to eat, maybe I'll actually do it. It's not that I don't want to, I just don't seem to remember to do so.
  20. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    Yup, that was very much the boat I was in too! Once you start getting into the jam of things, you'll stop relying on the alarms as much. Hopefully you have success with it! :)