health written with opioid prescription medications pills

Avoiding Relapse with Guided Self-Care


Opioid use disorders are an unfortunate reality across all of society. Addiction affects people from all backgrounds and educational levels. Over 1.7 million Americans in 2017 had disorders related to non-medical opioid use, and 652,000 used heroin. Opioids do not discriminate when they take hold of your life and refuse to let go, so it’s crucial to attack addiction from every angle.


Sometimes an especially useful tactic is to remember your self-care. It’s so easy to lose sight of simple but necessary comforts of life when you are at your most vulnerable. In this guest blog, I will share with you the following guidance so that you can make yourself and your care a top priority as you navigate the world of sobriety.

Vulnerability will follow you


In your battle against opioid dependency, you are also battling against an underlying vulnerability that is ever-present. Chronic stress creates an environment where vulnerability thrives.


You can say the same about chronic pain and, in fact, the opioid epidemic is firmly rooted in efforts to alleviate patient discomfort. And although you may not be able to rid yourself of this vulnerability, it can be overpowered and held at bay.


Self-care is an essential component in compensating for your vulnerabilities. Caring for oneself helps to relieve stress, enhance your resiliency and repair the damage caused by trauma from addiction. It can also restore hope.

woman with afro practising yoga at home

When you take stock of the obstacles that contribute to your vulnerabilities (whether it’s family, work-life balance, relationships or finances), and formulate a plan to counterbalance these stressors with self-care rather than self-medication, you position yourself for long-term recovery and better health. 

There are various self-care methods to help you reclaim your health. They include exercise, meditation and proper nutrition to reduce the stress and pain that invite the addiction.

Exercise for healthy euphoria


You’ve probably heard of runner’s high, the wonderful feeling some athletes describe that comes from an exhilarating workout. This feeling of euphoria is similar to the sense of happiness, comfort and well being that temporarily occur during drug use. 


The difference, of course, is that the benefits of exercise do not vanish quickly, but positively build upon past workouts. A component of self-care can include a simple daily walk or progress to a healthy endorphin-releasing habit. 


Discuss any proposed exercise regimen with your physician before embarking on any strenuous physical activity. 


Your health care provider may have suggestions on best ways for you to get on a path to physical fitness.

meditation and exercise may help relive stress and pain and prevent insomnia

Eat well to balance your body


Addiction messes up healthy routines. An opioid use disorder prioritizes getting high over setting a regular meal schedule. And healthy habits like regular meals are central to self-care. Opioids also create digestion issues, so it’s crucial to introduce simple, healthy foods rich in nutrients. 

Avoid sugar and too much caffeine, but focus on a balanced diet with healthy fats, fresh vegetables and lean proteins. Your new healthier diet is a complement to your exercise and mindfulness.  

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Small Committed Steps


Reclaiming your health after prolonged substance abuse isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely possible. Make self-care a priority and seek support as needed throughout your journey. The sober path will challenge you physically, mentally and spiritually, but with the right habits and consistency, it can be the healthiest life you’ve ever lived.


Jason Lewis

Jason is passionate about helping seniors stay healthy and injury-free. He created Strong Well to share his tips on senior fitness.


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