Living & wellness

12 Mar 2021 admin


If you recently started receiving addiction treatment or are just recovering from a substance use disorder, you must know how difficult it can be, and the last thing you want is a relapse. That feeling of helplessness as your cravings spiral out of control, washing your hard work down the drain, isn’t something you want to experience again. Long-lasting recovery is possible, although it may require a little more than a desire to remain sober. Although an estimated 80% of people who found long-term recovery had at least one relapse along the way, still, they were able to attain long-term sobriety by putting systems in place to help them remain sober. To remain sober requires major lifestyle modifications that impact every aspect of your health and development. Many people living with substance use disorder also struggle with keeping good health habits, and as such, their physical and mental health takes a toll too. If you are on your journey to recovery, one way to speed up the process and ensure your recovery is total and long-lasting is to begin to live a healthy lifestyle consciously. Living a healthy lifestyle involves getting proper nutrition, regular exercise, and maintaining wholesome relationships. Are you on your addiction recovery journey, looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle while staying sober from substances? Here are a few ways to get started.



Many studies have linked maintaining a regular exercise routine which resulted in long-term sobriety. In a particular study, participants who attended at least 75% of the exercise sessions showed significantly better results overcoming substance use disorders than participants who didn’t. You don’t have to start with heavy routines. You can incorporate simple exercises into your daily routine, like taking walks or substituting the elevator with the staircase. Start simple, and build up from there. You can join a gym or an addiction recovery support group that encourages exercise. It would be advisable to consult with your doctor first before embarking on a fitness journey.

What makes regular exercise and staying fit so crucial in overcoming substance use disorders?

Exercise Makes You Feel Good…The Right Way 

Many people who abuse substances like opioids, alcohol, and nicotine in cigarettes, do so for the feeling of pleasure such substances stimulate. Opioids like morphine or cocaine, for instance, bind to opioid receptors to trigger the release of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good hormone. Consuming alcohol also increases the release of dopamine, which serves as a pleasure hormone too. These hormones are your feel-good hormones because their release is accompanied by a feeling of euphoria, which is the reason why dependency on these substances happens easily. Instead of feeling good by consuming drugs with harmful side effects, exercise gives you a similar feeling. When you exercise, feel-good hormones such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin are released, giving you that feeling of pleasure and wellbeing. In this regard, exercise serves as a good substitute for someone recovering from addiction trying to stay sober. These hormones also help you regulate your mood, relieve stress, and improve your self-esteem, all of which are essential for overcoming substance use disorder.

Exercise Gives You Much Needed Structure and Accountability

One of the harmful effects of substance dependence is the instability it brings to your life and relationships. Building an exercise and fitness routine involves a level of discipline and accountability that helps you get and keep your life on track. By being a part of a gym or fitness group, you are made to follow a daily regular workout pattern, and you are accountable to your teammates. This also helps you build back relationships as it would help you develop the discipline you need to plan your day and stick to getting the most out of your day and relationships.

Right nutrition to stay sober

Studies have shown a direct link between substance abuse and poor nutrition. Poor nutrition leads to nutritional deficiencies that may affect your health and impair daily activities. If you struggled with a substance abuse disorder, you might have had issues remembering to eat or choosing to consume a substance over food. While you may have struggled with poor diets or irregular meals before getting sober, however, now more than ever, you need to maintain a healthy diet. Eating right and consuming the right nutrients is very crucial to your recovery process and staying sober. Eating right doesn’t have to be difficult, and there is no one-size-fits-all nutrition plan to stay sober. The key is to eat a balanced diet, selecting food from the different food groups. Introduce soups, smoothies, protein, calcium-rich foods, and healthy snacks into your diet to help curb cravings and keep your body healthy. You should also build a habit of eating more fruits and vegetables. As a general rule, you should have at least five portions of fruits and vegetables in a day. You should consult with your doctor or dietician before starting any diet to ensure it is safe for you.

Identify your triggers and avoid them

One of the reasons many people relapse is because they were unclear of their triggers and didn’t work to avoid them. To remain sober, you have to identify your substance use triggers such as stress, problems at work, late-night parties, or friends who use drugs. It would help if you learned to avoid these triggers so you don’t find yourself in a situation where it is difficult to say no. Avoid old routines and habits that leave you susceptible to a relapse.

Maintain healthy relationships

You may have built toxic relationships and associations in the past due to your substance use disorder. To remain on your path of sobriety, you need to dissociate yourself from those relationships and build healthy ones instead. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your journey and encourage you to exercise, eat right, and remain sober. You can join a support group if you don’t know where to start or struggle with making new friends.

In conclusion

Getting clean and sober after months or years of struggle with substance use disorders is possible. With professional help, the right information, and a strong support system, you can overcome your addictions and live a wholesome life. Are you struggling with a substance use disorder and in need of professional treatment? You can book a consultation with a licensed Canadian addiction expert to begin your journey of recovery at Maple Addiction Recovery Centres.