Best Methods to Get Out of a Rut When You’re in Recovery

Recovery is hard. There’s no plain sailing, easy path. Your recovery from addiction may start with focus and dedication but may sway when life leaves you distracted, depressed, confused, indifferent or stuck in a rut.

Sometimes, the monotony of life becomes too much.

So, it’s normal to find your motivation wavering as life gets in the way. Even in everyday life, chores, stresses, and responsibilities can force people into a mundane path that they can’t deviate from.

Hopelessness, sadness, and boredom can result in bad habits, like drinking or drug abuse, as these ruts take over.

As life goes on, the intense motivation and dedication that a person feels at the beginning of their recovery journey can fade, and along with it, their progress.

As memories of how terrible their life was under the influence of addiction fade and boring life take over, complacency can lead to a danger of sliding back into old habits.

This isn’t an option for those in recovery. But the good news is there are some super straightforward methods to get you out of a rut when you’re in recovery, so you can start making progress again.

1. Talk It Out

This may be the last thing you feel like doing, but it’s essential to get yourself out of the bad place you’ve found yourself in. Unfortunately, you’re probably more encouraged to hide away, sink into social media, television, or a strong coffee rather than talk to anyone.

But isolation never helps anyone.

Everyone finds it hard to talk at one point in their lives, to admit they’re having a hard time. But talking about your feelings and struggles and allowing others to empathise and share with you is one of the best methods to get you out of your rut.

Not only is talking therapeutic, but you may even realise some things or have an epiphany about your life that you may not have had without talking.

Allowing others to share their experiences with you also enables you to find other ways to help yourself. Even if talking doesn’t provide solutions, many people feel comfort from knowing they are not alone.

You can talk to friends, family and loved ones as a great place to start if you feel comfortable. But the options aren’t limited to who you know.

Joining drug or alcohol support groups can bring great comfort as you connect with people who have been through what you have been through, who can truly understand you.

Therapists are also a perfect place to air your feelings. You can access a therapist through your rehab or addiction treatment centre or talk to your GP. [1] [2]

2. Review Your Recovery Plan

Another vital component for getting yourself out of a rut is reviewing and checking in with the recovery plan that you initially put in place.

This checks in will let you know if you’re sticking to the plan. So rather than just briefly perusing your project with a mental checklist, take some time to go over it in detail.

It’s much better to spend some time, perhaps a week, keeping track. Write down how you are spending your time.

Activities like this are essential in showing you any discrepancies in how you are spending your time and how you think you’re spending your time.

Perhaps you’ll be able to see where you may be slipping from your recovery plan.  For example, have you been missing out on meetings, exercise, meditation?

Again, checking in with the plan should show you what aspects of your life might need improvement.

3. Put Self-Care at the Top of Your List

As life goes by, chores pile up, and work takes over, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.

Self-care can sound obscure, but it means being aware of, supporting and looking after your physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional needs.

Unfortunately, this can be a considerable problem in recovery relapse when people have been in recovery for quite some time; they stop taking care of themselves and begin to slip off their recovery plan.

Meetings don’t seem important, therapy seems like a waste of time, and there isn’t enough time for exercise or meditation.

However, observing your recent patterns around self-care and recovery behaviours, such as dietary choices and time spent on physical activity and spirituality, is vital in getting you back on track. [3]

4. Try Something New

Changing things up with something new can be an excellent way to get yourself out of your recovery rut if life is feeling monotonous. Try a new hobby, challenge, sport, or activity to find a little excitement in life again.

It’s a shame. So many people dream of running their fingers over the piano as they play Beethoven like a pro.

They dream of splashing paint over a canvas that will turn into an unforgettable painting. Some even dream of being one of the small few that run the London Marathon.

But alas, life is so busy that most people never get around to picking up a paintbrush, putting on their running shoes, or even taking a single piano lesson.

However, taking up a new hobby adds excitement to your life and teaches you discipline and patience.

These two things are crucial to recovery. Learning a new skill or setting yourself a goal not only provides you with confidence and self-esteem but it helps you understand the skills needed for recovery.

5. Help Someone You Don’t Know

As the days, months, and years of your sobriety pass, and you need less help and support in your recovery, it may feel good to help someone else.

However, as life becomes regulated and full of routine, your recovery needs to change along with it. Therefore, it’s a great idea to find a new way to engage in your recovery.

Instead, finding a way to engage with your community and give something back in a more active way, such as volunteering, can make life feel less monotonous and more rewarding.

Putting yourself out there and helping others can feel challenging at first, especially if you’re not feeling too social.

However, you will never leave an act of charity feeling worse than when you started. Socialising, finding a sense of purpose and feeling helpful are just ways that volunteering allows our mental health and minds to improve.

6. Change Your Routine

Whether in addiction or not, ruts are often the product of a person’s life and routine becoming stagnant.

Although many people often make fast progress in the early recovery days, that can be challenging when you reach a plateau.

Unless you keep checking in with yourself, revaluating and changing your routine as your needs change, you won’t get out of this rut.

Yes, a routine can be positive in recovery as it provides a reduction in stress and uncertainty.

In addition, it creates the automation of healthy decisions and ensures the appropriate amount of time and attention is given to your recovery priorities.

But excess routine can result in excess boredom, reducing the likelihood of you challenging your routine.

To stop the monotony of your daily routine, add a walk, new exercise routine, or meditation session to your day.

Leave your phone at home and visit friends.

Instead of ordering in, why not cook a new recipe and have a sit-down meal with your family, partner, or friends. Put some changes into your life, and you’ll soon see the boredom disappear.

7. Go Easy on Yourself and Take a Break

It’s so easy to be hard on yourself when an act of kindness is more appropriate. It’s ok not to feel ok. It’s ok to need a break. It’s ok to say I feel tired, stressed out or run down.

Everyone feels these things; you’re not alone.

There’s a good chance that something in your life is causing you to feel stressed out, overwhelmed, or depressed.

Being unkind to yourself doesn’t help you or anyone else if you relapse from your sobriety.

Remind yourself that this is temporary, that you have come past these feelings before. Do whatever you need to do to give yourself and your mind a break.

It’s never pleasant to find yourself in a rut; it can be unnerving as you worry about how it will affect your commitment to recovery.

But it’s normal to need change as you grow and change.

So remember to pay attention to any warning signs that you’re slipping into a rut, so you can follow these methods to get yourself out of that rut and focus on recovery again.