Being in recovery means more than just getting off of an addictive substance or habit. It also means changing your lifestyle to a more healthier one, one that is more in line with recovery. There are several ways on how to do this, a few of them outlined in the 12 steps themselves.
With the new life we find in recovery, we must also begin to build healthy routines and habits. There are several easy ways one can exercise their mind, their body and their spirit to become healthier human beings and better live a life of recovery.
Meditation and Prayer
Two of the suggestions that are outlined in the steps are prayer and meditation, as stated in Step 11: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out.” What this step suggests we do is begin the practice of prayer and meditation in our daily lives.
As far as recovery goes, prayer is defined as a “petition to God”, and meditation is the act of listening for God’s response.
For those who are new to prayer and meditation might find the former easier than the latter. How to pray is a common topic in recovery: what exactly does one say? One good prayer to start with is the 3rd step prayer:
God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always.
It does not ask for anything specific; basically, the 3rd step prayer asks that “thy will” be done, which is to say, God, you’re in charge, what should I do?
Meditation is basically the act of sitting down and taking a moment to clear your head and feelings for a period of time. It is the act of stopping your thoughts so that the right ones may come in. Most people do not do meditation in recovery because it seems foreign and, at first, very difficult; it is easy to be discouraged. As with anything, it takes practice to perfect.
Exercise The Body
The mind, body and spirit are intertwined and complement the status of one another. For mind and the spirit to be healthy, so must the body.
Some may argue that well-being starts with the body, since we are physical beings. It is hard to feel content and fulfilled when you feel weak, tired and constantly fatigued.
Exercising is just like any other skill. Along with meditation it takes time and constant doing to become good at it. Set up a daily schedule for exercise. Remember, don’t have too high of expectations otherwise you run the risk of discouraging yourself.
Instead of saying you’re going to do 100 push ups a day, instead try 20 and see how that goes. Instead of running 5 miles, try 2 at first. And so on. Set a goal of 5 miles and 100 push-ups by the end of next month and start at it. This way, you will ease into a regular exercise routine and build your confidence and resilience as you continue.