Following substance use disorder (SUD) treatment, you may be excited to start your new sober life. You feel good because you’re finally experiencing the effects of taking better care of your body and mind. However, staying motivated in recovery can be challenging in the long term.
Eventually, you’ll hit a bump in the road that will challenge your newfound balance in your life. Recovery won’t feel as new, and you’ll have to find a way to stay motivated toward completing your recovery goals.
What Is the ‘Pink Cloud’?
The “Pink Cloud” is a term coined by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) that refers to a period early in your recovery, usually after the completion of treatment. It usually describes the period after detox. You feel much better if your body isn’t filled with toxic substances. You are no longer too numb to experience a full range of emotions.
The danger of the pink cloud is that it sets unrealistic expectations for sobriety. Some people might describe it as the “honeymoon phase.” While it’s good to find happiness in sobriety, it is not sustainable that you’ll always feel positive emotions throughout your recovery.
Staying Motivated by Staying True to Your Goals
You planned recovery goals during a treatment program so that you wouldn’t be lost post-treatment. Then, when you hit a rough bump in your recovery, you can use your goals to stay focused on what matters.
Write your recovery goals down so that you have something physical to reference in times of emotional crisis. Then, if you feel overwhelmed, you can use the list to decide the next steps.
Sometimes you’ll have to update your goals to be relevant to where you are in your recovery. Remember to create SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
It’s important to keep your goals realistic, so you don’t become discouraged. If you have setbacks, consider restructuring your goals so that they feel more obtainable.
Staying Motivated by Relying on Your Support System
During treatment, you were surrounded by the support of mental health professionals and peers around the clock. Outside of treatment, there is no reason why you have to give that up. Make it a priority to find a mental health professional and recovery support group so that you have people you can rely on whenever your life goes wayward.
Remember that calling on people for emotional support and help during a crisis is okay. Use your support network whenever you feel overwhelmed by your emotions.
It’s also okay to have slip-ups. No one is perfect, and your life will inevitably be different after treatment. Change takes adjustment; it also takes trial and error. So be forgiving of your mistakes and cut yourself some slack.
Take time for self-care. When you feel like you’re no longer making strides toward your recovery goals, take a break to self-soothe and meditate. Do something that will make you feel better, like exercising, reading a good book, or taking a relaxing bath.
Acknowledge How Far You’ve Come
Slip-ups and setbacks are not failures. It’s never too late to get back on the road to recovery after relapsing or resorting back to toxic behaviors. Don’t tear yourself apart, obsessing over past mistakes. Instead, make a list of the accomplishments you made and how far you’ve come since the start of your recovery journey. Consult the list anytime you are feeling down or insecure. Sometimes you may have to say your accomplishments out loud to give them a chance to sink in.
Staying Motivated by Keeping a Schedule
Making a schedule sounds simple but can do great wonders. For example, being uncertain or second-guessing yourself takes time away from you. By making a schedule, your day will already be planned out for you so that you will have less time for self-doubt. In addition, you’ll be motivated by the consistency and comfort of a schedule, which will give you a sense of security.
Scheduling can be especially effective after you’ve slipped up. It gives you a plan of action to get back on the right course and move closer to your recovery goals. However, be careful not to get hung up if you can’t follow your plan exactly. You’ll need trial and error before finding a schedule that suits your needs.
Get Involved With New Hobbies
Find something you love that brings you joy, such as a hobby that you find calming and destressing. This hobby could be anything from playing an instrument to playing a sport. Artistic hobbies can be useful for venting and understanding emotions. Even listening to music or watching television can have therapeutic properties.
Whatever hobby you choose should be something you enjoy. You might have to try different hobbies before finding one that suits your emotional needs.
Staying motivated during your recovery will help you stay on track to accomplish your goals. Preparing for bumps in the road during your recovery will make it easier for you to recover successfully. Restoration Recovery Center offers aftercare programs to help you say motivated after treatment. Our mental health professionals will work closely with you to create a treatment plan unique to your recovery goals and needs. We understand that you are a complex individual, not just a number, and we plan on treating you accordingly. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, please call Restoration Recovery at (888) 290-0925 for help.