Relapse Prevention

Building a Sustainable Routine in Recovery


One of the keys to sober living is a sustainable routine that works for you. The Edge is here to help you create your own routine, call today!

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Relapse Prevention

January 13, 2022

During your stay in treatment, you likely had the benefit of a clinical structure. Leaving treatment to return to the status quo can be jarring – it’s challenging to manage and adapt to day-to-day life. 

However, building and implementing a routine can ease your process from treatment into a more “normal” life. However, not all of us benefit from a rigid routine. So, how can you create a sustainable routine in recovery

Structure Vs. Schedule 

When building a routine, it’s essential to figure out whether you benefit from a general structure or a full-on schedule. What’s the difference between these two? A schedule is far more specificsuch as waking up at 7 AM every day. On the other hand, a structure is more of a general guideline you to follow, such as waking up before 10 AM every day.  

A structure will allow you more freedom but give you guidelines for how things should be done. A schedule is more focused and rigid but allows for less openness. 

Whichever you decide is going to be determined by various factors. Consider your preferences, responsibilities, obligations, and routines already in place when choosing. You may benefit from a structure that allows more freedom. On the other hand, you may like knowing precisely what you need to do when it needs to be done. 

Be Realistic 

When creating a sustainable routine, you have to be both realistic and honest with yourself. Waking up at 6 AM every day may seem like a good idea. However, you may benefit from a 9 AM wake-up time … or it may take you a few weeks or months to implement the habit of waking up at 6 AM.  

Be honest with yourself about what you like and need from a day-to-day perspective. Be realistic about what you can achieve, too.That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for the moon or a 6 AM wake-up time. But, being more patient with yourself and working towards the lofty goal is better than fizzling out after you start. 

Incorporate Healthy Habits 

When building a sustainable routine, you should always incorporate healthy habits. These habits are what make the routine sustainable for the long term.  

However, these habits don’t have to be in the form of grass-tasting green smoothies.A healthy habit for you could be spending 30 minutes after work watching comedy skits on YouTube.  

If a habit keeps you refreshed and lowers your stress, then there should be no problem.However, we all know too much of a good thing can get out of hand quickly. Be sure to stay mindful and balanced. 

Some healthy habits to consider include: 

  • Walking in the mornings 

  • Meditation 

  • Reading 

  • Yoga 

  • Regular exercise 

  • Health meals 

  • Journaling 

  • Positive hobbies 

These are just some ideas you can consider. Again, it’s your schedule and routine. Create what works for you and do what you enjoy. Just be sure not to let it get out of hand or become destructive. 

Write It All Down 

Once you figure out what type of routine and schedule will work for you, it’s time to write it down. Figure out where you’re going to keep all of this in place. You may have the perfect idea in your head, but if you can’t translate it to reality, then nothing has changed. 

Calendars, planners, and different apps are great places to start. If you benefit from a more physical approach, a physical planner and calendar may work better. However, if you’re always on the go or your phone, keeping it digitally may benefit you. 

The point is, you want to store this information in a place where you can keep track of it all. Keeping track of your schedule or routine allows you to follow whatever plan you’ve set in place and track how you’re doing.  

I’ve Done All That, Now What? 

Now that you’ve done the hard work, it’s time to figure out if it works. Test out your schedule and routine for a few weeks. Give it time to show its flaws and benefits.  

From there, adjust it and see what works for you. Maybe you needed more freedom or less. Or maybe, you really do benefit from a 9 AM wake-up time. Whatever it is, keep at it and trying to get more on point with who you are and what works for you. Remember, it’s your life and if you’re living healthy and not hurting yourself or anyone else, who’s to judge? 

Life after treatment can be both the most exciting time and challenging time of your life. Building a sustainable routine can keep the world feeling more exciting and less challenging. A sustainable routine that works for you allows you to take on the world with more control. 

At The Edge Treatment Center, we’re dedicated to giving you back the control you deserve. We believe every person is unique and requires different treatment options, which is why we personalize every client’s treatment program to match their needs, goals, and values.  

Treatment doesn’t have to be dull or completely rigid. If you or a loved one would like more information, call (800) 778-1772.

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