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As you consider addiction treatment you should take some time to think about what you want to get out of the process.

Do you just want to ditch the drugs and alcohol but keep most other aspects of your life as they are now?   

...or....

Do you want to quit drugs and alcohol and also build a new healthier and more fulfilling life for yourself?

There’s nothing wrong with either approach, but most people find that cutting out drugs and alcohol leaves a big hole in life that needs filling with something else, and this process of replacement generally occurs in one of three ways:

  • The sudden surplus of time and energy is used to create a more fulfilling lifestyle
  • Substance abuse is replaced with another form of compulsive behavior (replacing getting drunk with an unhealthy focus on excessive work, for example)
  • Some people never find an acceptable replacement for getting drunk or high and either remain unsatisfied with life or relapse back to drinking or drugs

Is your present lifestyle healthy, fulfilling and balanced? Do you need to think about making changes or improvements, or are things good as they are now?

Creating a balanced life can take some effort but with balance you also build a strong foundation to prevent relapse and to foster good mental health.


Lifestyle Balance Self-Test

Not sure where you stand?

Ask and answer the following assessment questions and you might identify areas in your life needing improvement.

Any question you answer no to may point to any area of your life which needs improvement.

Friends and Social Support

  1. Do you feel like you have enough good friends?
  2. Can you count on your friends when you need help?
  3. Do you have people you can express your ideas, dreams and fears to?

Family

  1. Are you satisfied with the quality and strength of your familial relationships?
  2. Can you count on family members for help when you need it?
  3. Do you spend enough time with your family?

Finances

  1. Do you have/make enough money to meet your needs?
  2. Are your debts manageable?
  3. Are you financially responsible?

Work or School

  1. Are you satisfied with how things are going at work or school?
  2. Do spend an appropriate amount of time at work or on schoolwork (not too much and not too little)?

Mental Health

  1. Do you have effective coping strategies to manage stress?
  2. Is your stress load reasonable (not excessive)?
  3. Are your free from depression or bothersome anxiety?

Physical Health

  1. Do you get enough exercise?
  2. Do you eat reasonably healthily?
  3. Do you get medical and dental care when appropriate?
  4. Do you get enough sleep each night?
  5. Do you take care of your appearance?

Creativity

  1. Do you have an outlet for your creative side?
  2. Do you spend enough time engaged in creative activities?

Intellectual

  1. Do you have sufficient intellectual stimulation/challenge in your life?
  2. Do you have enough hobbies or interests to keep your mind challenged?1


Striving for Moderation to Find Balance and Peace

Addiction treatment isn’t just about creating a life without drugs or alcohol – it’s about creating a better life without drugs or alcohol.

Those who fight addiction often struggle with the concept of moderation.

But the fact is, when you focus much of your time and attention on any one aspect of life (drinking or drugs, work etc.)  it gets awfully hard to find the energy needed to nurture all the other essential pieces that add up to a balanced and satisfying existence.

The addiction treatment process gives you a rare opportunity to step back, take stock and make the changes necessary to overcome substance abuse.

To make the most of this opportunity, you may want to also consider what changes you could make that would bring more balance and satisfaction to your life.

References
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Page last updated Mar 18, 2013

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