Recovery involves a daily commitment to making healthy choices. Here are four tips to help you stay on track and avoid slipping back into unhealthy thinking and behavior patterns.

REMIND yourself; it’s a lifelong journey.

Adopting a lifestyle free of substances is NOT something you achieve, and then you are finished. Throughout your life, you will have many opportunities to choose from any of the healthy coping and life skills you’ve learned throughout this recovery process as opposed to using substances. Telling yourself that you’re in it for the long haul will help you stay focused and set yourself up for continued growth and progress.

REFLECT on your progress.

Living a life free of substances is a big deal. Give yourself credit for the positive changes you’re making. Intentionally think about each healthy choice you make and how you’re investing in your wellness. Think about how these new behaviors are improving your relationships, financial status, and work quality. Drawing attention to the benefits of the healthy choices you’re making is empowering and will encourage you to stay on your journey of recovery.

 RECOGNIZE and address triggers and warning signs early.

Being mindful is very important during recovery. Many of us can find ourselves drifting into auto-pilot which is dangerous because it’s easier for old, unhealthy thoughts and behaviors to resurface. You want to be a present and active participant in your own life. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, especially the ones that can threaten your substance-free lifestyle. If you identify warning signs such as neglecting your responsibilities, an increase in cravings, or you find yourself isolating from others, use a healthy coping or life skill and talk to someone who can help you right away.

REACH OUT for support.

Having a strong support system is one of the most effective ways to maintain your substance-free lifestyle. In fact, it’s a key factor in the success of many 12-step programs. Your support system can consist of family members, friends, peers in recovery, organizations and providers, or online groups and hotlines. Consider how each person and entity supports your recovery and how to reach them best. Be proactive in establishing those connections. Reach out whether it’s for assistance with exploring feelings and thoughts or to get ideas for healthy hobbies and activities.

Your local Substance Abuse Counseling Center (SACC) provides screening, assessment, prevention, skill-building, and referral services to help address substance misuse concerns.

More information and resources are available at usmc-mccs.org/substance.