Recovery Techniques: Choosing Patience
By: Cumberland Heights
Instant Gratification and Active Addiction
Patience is a mindset completely divorced from the state of active addiction. People whose lives are consumed by drugs and alcohol focus entirely on these substances – obtaining them, using them and recovering from their effects. There’s a physiological reason for this obsession with instant gratification: the brain’s reward center has been hijacked and flooded by dopamine and other feel-good neurotransmitters, and this rush can be achieved nearly instantaneously through habitual drug or alcohol use. The ability to delay gratification and think rationally is something that must be restored through sobriety.
Why Patience Matters
Addiction recovery from a life of substance use isn’t a simple or short process. It takes a lifetime of dedication and effort, including detoxification, inpatient treatment, continued care and even sober living. One of the most challenging facets of a life of sobriety is the amount of time that must be dedicated to it. As the saying goes, “My recovery must come first, so that everything else doesn’t have to come last.”
Maintaining your sobriety means learning to appreciate the moment and manage your stress levels. Patience is especially challenging for someone dealing with drug cravings, daily stressors and triggers that may spark the urge to use again. This can be overcome through mindfulness practice. By taking some time for reflection and prioritizing self-care, you can fight harmful impulses and make good choices.
Life After Rehab
After your inpatient or residential treatment concludes, you may feel a combination of excitement and anxiety about returning to the “real world.” Indeed, there are several concerns for those in early recovery – unsupportive family members, old drinking or using buddies, financial difficulties, potential triggers and other bad influences may be waiting back at home. In order to overcome these difficulties, it is vital to cultivate a mindset that prioritizes patience.
How to Practice Patience
If you’d like to develop the ability to be patient in your daily life, it’ll take a bit of practice. Below are some of our recommendations for this process.
- Try Mindfulness – Many people attempt to multitask and wind up overwhelming themselves instead. Try to focus on one task at a time; if you find yourself frustrated and wanting to jump to another thing, take a second to think about what is making you impatient. Jot these thoughts down in a journal and look for patterns.
- Focus on What Matters – Bad habits and time wasters take away from what is important in life. In order to reduce your stress levels, take a minute to evaluate your life. Are you spending your days on things that won’t help you in the long run? If so, remove those activities from your schedule and dedicate yourself to something else.
- Make Yourself Wait for Things – Practice makes perfect! Set up situations to safely delay gratification, whether it’s waiting to make a big purchase until you cross a milestone at work or just holding off for a few minutes before you start eating a delicious dinner. Take these extra moments to appreciate the good things that are waiting for you.
- Relax and Breathe Deep – Taking slow, deep breaths in times of stress can go a long way towards dispelling feelings of impatience. If you’re overwhelmed, take a walk around the block to clear your head. By finding a way to decompress, you’ll protect your recovery and learn that great things take time.
Your Partner in Recovery
Cumberland Heights is a nationally recognized drug and alcohol treatment center. With more than 50 years of history, our experienced staff will work directly with you to cultivate an attitude of patience and excitement for a vibrant life in recovery. Call 800-646-9998 to learn more about Cumberland Heights.