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Recovering from drug addiction is a lifelong process. Getting sober is a journey—and sadly, many people never even get to the first step towards this new life. Even those who have been on the path to recovery for years can stumble, fall, and eventually relapse.

In order to take back your life, you need to make the conscious effort to get better. You need to do it every day. Getting into rehab and successfully quitting the drug is only one part of the process. Congratulations if you’ve made it through that part.

Now that you’ve received proper treatment, you need to get used to the sober lifestyle. Behavioral therapy has prepared you for this part. It’s all about changing your behavior, recognizing the problems that you have, acknowledging and addressing them.

Getting healthy may be a challenge, but it is worth the effort. Not only will it be a huge accomplishment, it will also make you feel good. It can even inspire you to continue on this path and leave your addictive past behind.

Physical Effects of Drug Abuse

Years of drug abuse can take a heavy toll on your body—something you probably know if you’re a recovered substance abuser. Your main goal now is to prevent relapse while allowing your body to heal. Your approach may vary depending on the substance that was abused. But the main effects of addiction may have already been addressed during rehab.

Here’s a quick rundown of illicit substances and their common adverse effects:

Cocaine abuse can cause stroke, seizures, coma, heart attack, and weight loss—among other things.

Heroin may suffer from collapsed veins, abscesses, constipation, live disease, kidney disease, and pneumonia.

Abusing methamphetamine can cause increased breathing, heart rate, temperature, and blood pressure. It can also cause severe dental problems, also known as meth mouth.

Those who abuse their prescription painkillers may suffer from muscle weakness, slowed breathing, headaches, slowed heartbeat, and liver failure.

In large doses, all of these substances can lead to a fatal overdose.

Entering rehab can help a person recover from many of these adverse effects. But getting healthy after this stage of recovery is another thing entirely.

Getting Healthy After Detox: Focus on Your Nutrition

Recovered drug abusers will normally want to gain back the weight they lost during their struggle with addiction. But it is more important to focus on eating healthy, rather than just eating a lot. Remember to eat a balanced diet, and remain hydrated at all times. You’ll be surprised by how these simple decisions can change the way you feel—and it will make you feel great very quickly.

Eating right can help fight depression and anxiety, while keeping your energy levels high.

If you feel it’s necessary, sign up for nutrition counseling, or get someone to plan your meals for you. And if you’re struggling to incorporate these changes right away, don’t force it. In fact, you can work at your own pace to incorporate these dietary changes gradually.

Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get those much needed vitamins and minerals.

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Also make sure you set aside some time to exercise every day. This will help you rebuild lost muscles. Exercise stimulates the same reward centers in your brain that are affected by addictive substances, so this is a good way to replace self-destructive behaviors.

Again, do not overdo it by committing to too much change all at once. If you do it gradually, you’ll be more likely to stick with it in the long run. Start with a 5-minute workout every day, and then work your way up.

Finally, get enough sleep every night. If you have to wake up early every day, make sure you go to bed early as well. Drop your phone, stop scrolling on social media, and just sleep. Allow your body to heal itself overnight.

Getting your body back into top condition is very important for your recovery. This will help you avoid relapse—and you will start to feel euphoric again, even without the aid of illicit substances.

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