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How to Get Into a Healthy Routine in Recovery

Published:
June 5, 2024
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15 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 5, 2024
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15 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 5, 2024
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15 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 5, 2024
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15 min read
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Reframe Content Team
June 5, 2024
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15 min read

A Daily Schedule During Alcohol Recovery Brings Long-Term Success

  • A daily routine during alcohol recovery can provide stability, reduce temptations, and build self-discipline.
  • Make a plan for your morning, afternoon, and evening activities that will help you focus on healthy habits such as exercise, meditation, reading, stress management, and more. 
  • Reframe’s neuroscience-backed programs can help you establish healthy routines through recovery and beyond.

You’ve marked all the happy hours off your calendar. You’ve canceled game night with the guys or morning mimosas with the girls. You’ve cleaned out you liquor cabinet and donated your beer supply. You’re officially in recovery and ready to start your healthy, alcohol-free life. 

Quitting alcohol is a profound step on your journey to recovery, and the next step is to establish a healthy routine. A well-structured daily schedule can provide you with stability, help you avoid triggers, and manage difficult emotions during this time. 

So how do you establish such a routine? Let’s find out!

What to Expect in Recovery

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Recovery from alcohol dependence or addiction can often feel like a roller coaster. Some days we feel like we can conquer the world, and some days we feel like the world is crushing us. These feelings and all the ones in between are normal. (Learn more in our blog post “What to Expect When We Quit Drinking.”)

Those who decide to recover at a treatment center will find that the center will have a structured daily schedule in place filled with meals, individual therapy, group therapy, wellness training, recreation, and more. The schedule is an important part of rehabilitation; it provides structure and predictability.

For those who choose to recover at home, it’s equally important to stick to a daily routine. It may seem more challenging at first, and it requires more self-discipline, but the nice thing about it is that we can create a schedule that works for us and stay in the comfort of our own home. 

Benefits of a Healthy Routine

As we mentioned earlier, treatment centers create a strict daily schedule. There are several important benefits to establishing such a routine.


  • Stability and predictability in daily life. In a season of life where a lot is changing,  a little stability goes a long way. We may not know what will happen tomorrow, but we know what’s going to happen when the clock strikes 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 12 p.m, and beyond. 

  • Reduction of triggers and temptations. When we plan out our day, we can strategically avoid triggers and temptations. If we schedule a yoga class, we can easily pass on happy hour — “Sorry, I’m busy!” If we plan meals to cook at home, we’ll be less tempted by the newest margarita on the menu. 

  • Building self-discipline and resilience. As we follow our routine, we build self-discipline, resilience, and confidence to overcome more challenges down the road. 

All in all, building a healthy routine is a vital part of recovery. So how do we build one that works?

Healthy Daily Schedule in Recovery

How to Establish a Healthy Daily Schedule in Recovery

It may seem daunting at first, but once we start planning out our day, the schedule starts to fill itself in.

Morning Routine

The morning routine sets the tone for our day. A successful morning routine can pave the way to success for the rest of the day, so it’s important to start the day right. Here are a few things to include in the morning schedule. 


  • Meditate. Before the hustle and bustle of the day begins, take some quiet time to breathe and focus on positive thoughts. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce cravings. 

  • Exercise. Daily exercise can boost our mood, improve our sleep, and reduce stress. Whether we hit the gym, do lunges in our living room, or head out for some “green exercise,” adding exercise to our morning routine can help us stay on track.

  • Read. In a treatment center, we might attend trainings and group sessions in the morning. At home, we can read a page of an educational or motivational book to help get our mindset in the right place for the day. 
 
  • Nourish and hydrate. Eat a balanced, nutritious breakfast and fill up a water bottle for the day. If there’s time, plan out nutritious snacks and meals for the rest of the day. Even if it’s just make a vague idea in our head, any sort of plan is better than nothing when hunger strikes. 


And voila! We’ve made it through the morning. Even if we don’t check off all of these, we can give ourselves a pat on the back for the ones we do, take a deep breath, and move on to the next portion of our day. 

Daytime

Once we begin our typical daytime routine, whether it's work or whatever else, things might start to feel more chaotic. Deadlines might loom, tasks might pile up, and we might feel super tired. Fortunately, we can make a plan to cope with these challenges. 


  • Manage stress. If we feel the stress of the day mounting, we can take a moment to breathe deeply and recenter ourselves. We can take a walk outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. Soothing music or recorded meditations can also help us calm down.

  • Prioritize tasks. If we’re starting to feel overwhelmed, taking a moment to write down the most important tasks and figuring out which one is the most urgent will help. Then we can determine which one is easiest. Going for a quick win and marking it off our list can give us confidence to keep going. 
  • Check in with your support system. Whether it’s our best friend, an online forum, or a therapist, our support system is there to help. Vent. Share a funny story or video. Regain some perspective. There is strength in numbers, so even if all we can do is read success stories of strangers online, rely on that strength. 


Once we’ve made it through a long day, we can reward ourselves with a non-alcoholic treat, whether it’s a power nap or a favorite candy bar. 

Evening Routine

Whew! The day is almost done. Some exhaustion is normal, and with exhaustion comes temptation. With a consistent wind-down routine, we can skirt temptations and call the day a success. 

  • Avoid triggers and temptations. Avoid triggers and temptations by planning out sober recreational activities. We can pick something we already like or try a new activity — taking a class, volunteering at an animal shelter, playing a sport, or planting a garden. Having a prevention plan in place can help ward off temptations. 

  • Wind down. If you’ve been accustomed to winding down with a glass of wine or whiskey at night, this could be the most difficult time of the night. Go ahead and try different ways of winding down. Maybe a good book will do the trick. Perhaps chamomile tea and lavender spray on the pillow will help. If the urge to drink hits hard, try urge surfing with a relaxing bath or a crossword puzzle. 

  • Prepare for the morning. The key to a successful morning is to prepare the night before. Lay out the day’s clothes, plan the meals, and decide how to spend exercise time. The fewer the decisions in the morning, the better. 


And just like that, the day is done. All that’s left to do is rest. While you sleep, your body will be hard at work repairing and restoring itself.

It might take some time to figure out a routine that works — that’s okay! Be flexible and make changes as needed. Once you’ve figured out a general structure that works for you, write it down, and put it where you can easily see it, like on the front of the refrigerator.

Tips for Long-Term Recovery Success

Even with the best-laid plans, sometimes we miss a step or two. Sometimes we fall off track. It’s part of being human. Remember that progress is not linear, and we can always get back on track, no matter how many times we stumble. Here are some strategies to help.

  • Reach out for support. Whomever you turn to for support, contact them as soon as possible. Talk it out, hug it out, and make a plan to move forward. 

  • Remember victories. Even if you feel like you took a huge step backward, look back at all the other victories you’ve achieved. Looking back at where you were and how far you’ve come can put things in perspective and give you hope. 

  • Be kind to yourself. Instead of spiraling into self-loathing, think what you would tell a friend in your shoes. Chances are, you would tell them it was just a mistake, it doesn’t define them, and everything will be okay. 

  • Learn from mistakes. Mistakes are how we learn. Take some time to reflect and retrace your steps. Where did you start to falter? What could you do differently next time? It might be helpful to write it all out in a journal so you can look back on your progress and the wisdom you gained from each mistake. 

  • Start where you are. If you miss a few steps in the morning, don’t try to play catch up. Simply start where you are and move forward. On that note, don’t fall into the trap of “trying again tomorrow.” Even if your whole routine falls apart from breakfast to dinner, try to regain some control over your bedtime routine. 


Recovery is hard, but those who blazed this trail before you can remind you that it’s worth the struggle. Keep moving forward toward your goals. 

Conclusion

Building a healthy routine during recovery can set you up for long-term sobriety success. As you plan out your days, be sure to include exercise, healthy meals, stress management, and contact with your support team. And should you stumble, your routine will help you get back on track. As difficult as it may be, you will look back on this time with gratitude for the quality of life it will grant you down the road. 

Build a Healthy Recovery Routine With Reframe!

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol. 

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app today!

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