When I was in treatment last year, the counselors strongly advised that we continue having a structured routine, much like we had in rehab.
I have found that having a routine that is focused on doing positive things has become a valuable asset in my recovery. My routine gives me a healthy structure for each day and I have time to get everything done without overwhelming myself.
Generally, I allow time for all areas of my recovery – proper meals, walking for exercise, volunteering/working, socializing at 12-step meetings, housework, hobbies and even time for the homework assigned in the course I am completing.
A routine motivates me to accomplish what needs to be done and what I like to do, and makes procrastinating much less likely. It also ensures that there is very little time for me to be bored – boredom is one thing that is very dangerous to my sobriety.
Having said all that, I learned recently not to be so stuck in routine that I won’t allow new challenges into my life. Some “routines” become habits that are very hard to shake. Last week, the cable TV where I live went out. I soon discovered that my habit of knitting and watching TV were so strongly tied together (habit) that since losing the cable, I had not picked up my knitting needles! I found humour in this but I also realized that while routine is good, having a habit that seems unbreakable may not be healthy. I am still working on this – learning new habits and making changes to my routine has been difficult, but I am glad to say I am having some success in breaking old habits.
My life was extremely unmanageable before I went into treatment, but today I have structure and routine that gives me a positive outlook on life and good health – physical, emotional and spiritual.