Addiction Recovery Life Hacks: What Works for Me

Updated on December 19, 2018
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Mark is a special education attendance specialist as well as a writer. He lives a successful life with both bipolar and addiction disorder.


Addiction Recovery Defined

Addiction recovery is a process that is achieved through hard work, dedication, consistency, motivation, and acts of mindfulness. Recovery is one of the most difficult challenges a person may ever face, but the results are worth it. Living a happy life in recovery does not simply mean abstaining from alcohol or drugs; it also means implementing strategies in your daily life to prevent the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) defines addiction recovery this way: "Recovery from alcohol or drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health; wellness and quality of life" (NCADD).

In addition to the definition, SAMHSA has provided 12 Guiding Principles in the definition of addiction recovery (NCADD):

  1. There are many pathways to recovery.
  2. Recovery is self-directed and empowering.
  3. Recovery involves a personal recognition of the need for change and transformation.
  4. Recovery is holistic.
  5. Recovery has cultural dimensions.
  6. Recovery exists on a continuum of improved health and wellness.
  7. Recovery is supported by peers and allies.
  8. Recovery emerges from hope and gratitude.
  9. Recovery involves a process of healing and self-redefinition.
  10. Recovery involves addressing discrimination and transcending shame and stigma.
  11. Recovery involves (re)joining and (re)building a life in the community.
  12. Recovery is a reality. It can, will, and does happen.

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Addiction Recovery Life Hacks

"You are either working on recovery, or working on a relapse." - Anonymous

This is a quote that reminds me that I have to work the recovery program everyday, no matter how long I have been in recovery. Addiction is not a curable disease, and is always looming in the background of an alcoholic or addict's life.

I have been in active recovery for over 5-1/2 years, and continue on my journey using daily methods and strategies to manage my addiction disorder. I firmly believe a person in recovery is either working on recovery, or working on a relapse.

The real topic that should be discussed in addiction recovery is the fact that not all treatment approaches are the same, and their isn't one approach that works for every alcoholic or addict. For instance, I am aware of the 12 Step Program through Alcoholics Anonymous, and this was used as part of my treatment in the two treatment centers I was in. Since this was part of my treatment plan, when I was released from treatment, I attempted to do what I was told, and that was to go to AA meetings as much as possible. In my efforts, or lack of effort to attend AA meetings and actually participate, I knew I needed to find and utilize a different approach.

Since I am an administrator in a school district, I found it difficult to put myself out there in the forefront of AA meetings in my community. At the time I went to my second treatment center, I was a special education teacher, and was out of work for over 40 days. This already raised enough suspicion with parents, as parents are nosey when a teacher that works with their son or daughter everyday is suddenly gone for over a month. Now that I look back on it, bottom line is, I didn't have the guts or confidence to stand up and say, "I am an alcoholic" in front of possible community members that knew me. Call me a coward, but I know this is something a lot of people experience when deciding to walk inside a meeting, or make the decision to sit in their car, since they told their family they were going to a meeting.

If you are in recovery, you might ask "what about the three elements of addiction recovery: Recovery, Community, Service?", and I implement those elements into my recovery in a different way.

Addiction Recovery Life Hacks

  • Join online addiction recovery communities
  • Attend AA meetings in person
  • Attend AA meetings online
  • Write lists of gratitude
  • Read addiction recovery success stories
  • Research Cognitive Behavioral Therapy workbooks and resources
  • Learn a new skill or hobby
  • Participate in sober activities
  • Write a journal and/or a blog about your experiences in addiction recovery
  • Be honest about your motives
  • Offer help to a friend or loved with addiction problems or who is in recovery
  • Be mindful of your triggers
  • Yoga or Meditate
  • Read daily inspirational quotes
  • Get recovery related apps on your phone
  • Celebrate your monthly anniversary
  • Take care of yourself (mentally and physically)

12 Healthy Life Hacks Everyone Should Know:

What Do You Do?

What strategies or life hacks do you use for addiction recovery? Please share in the comments section, below.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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