Healthy Habits for the New Year to Aid Addiction Recovery


close up photo of yearly planner beside a pen

The new year is always the perfect time to make changes in your life. It’s a new beginning; a fresh start. Writing a list of New Year’s resolutions can be what prompts you to desire major life changes, but sticking to that list can be a different story altogether.

Substance addiction is physically and mentally crippling. Addiction is a chronic condition-an illness. You often lose control over your own life. Addiction can also make you out of touch with your priorities given enough time. If you’ve made the decision to wean yourself off of narcotics or alcohol, you’re moving in the right direction.

At the core of substance abuse recovery is breaking your toxic attachment to detrimental elements of your life. Purging yourself of the physical substances is just a start – Holistic recovery requires a health-centric mindset and a positive outlook on life. In order to avoid relapse to your former compulsions, you have to cultivate and maintain healthy habits. Replacing damaging negative habits with a positive healthy routine can add a whole range of value to your life, outside of addiction recovery.

Let’s take a look at some of the practices and habits you can start developing this year.

Nutrition and Fitness

The key to a healthy mind and a fit body is a balanced diet and regular exercise. As cliché and well-known this fact is, there’s a reason this habit has a proven track record. Your body is going to be ridding itself of harmful chemicals during your recovery period. The constant damage done to specialized cells inside your organs requires repair and your body needs an ample amount of nutrients at regular intervals to do this.

Avoid junk food as much as you can and eat whole foods. Make sure you get the right intake of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.

person pouring vegetable oil on vegetable salad

Regular exercise helps your body build resistance through strong bones and muscles. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a strict workout regimen. For example, jogging every day and doing cardio on alternative days can have a visible boost of your physique. Swimming, outdoor activities (hiking, trekking, etc.) or sports work too. A combination of the right foods and fitness will keep your body fit – and a healthy body contributes largely to a healthy mind.

One thing to keep in mind is that many gyms or fitness centers have New Year’s-related special rates and offers, so it’s the perfect time to join and get into a fitness routine.


Busy hands and an occupied mind can steer you away from the impacts of addiction recovery. Explore your interests and develop a hobby that keeps you busy. It doesn’t necessarily have to yield a monetary income, but can open up interesting avenues down the road.

What are your interests? What are you most passionate about? 

You may have a lifelong passion for music. This might be the perfect time to learn to play an instrument. Gardening, pottery, cooking, animal care, and painting are other options to consider. If you’re intent on developing employable skills, enroll in a course at a local institute. Many courses are offered on a semester basis, so new classes are generally available to begin in January. If you don’t want to do anything formal, even offering to take your neighbor’s dog on a daily walk can help lift your spirits.

paintbrush near paint pallet


Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. Avoid judgmental and cynical people. Refuse to engage in self-deprecating rhetoric or pointless arguments. Constant interaction with upbeat and energetic people will rub off on you eventually. Train your brain to pick out the positive aspects of every situation. Always ask yourself what you can do to make your environment more positive. A close-knit circle of understanding family and friends can work wonders on your psyche.


Regardless of whatever substance it is that you’re breaking away from, you’ve come a long way. You’ve worked hard and developed willpower that ultimately will help you kick the habit.

Take a moment out of each day to reflect on your journey. Recognize and give thanks to everyone involved in the process of your addiction recovery, the primary person being yourself. It can be your family, friends or even your NA/AA sponsor. Maintain a journal of your daily experiences. Whether you’re reading this post and gathering ideas of how to start or you’ve almost made it out of the dark tunnel, and you have much to be thankful for.

If you can spare time on the weekends, you could volunteer at the local soup kitchen or animal shelter. Giving back to the community fills you up with an appreciation of all that is great in the world.


Be aware of your emotions, mental well-being, and ambitions. Use this situation as an opportunity to explore your inner workings. Practice mindful meditation every day. You could start with about 2 to 5 minutes each day and increase the duration as you get better at it.

man and woman doing yoga

Mindfulness and a calm temperament will most certainly help keep your mind in the clean. The compulsion to indulge in self-destructive habits can be effectively countered by living in the present. Redefine your definition of ‘fun.’ Recovery need not be a painful and morose process.

You’re transforming as a person – take solace in that! Make this year the year that you start or stick to your recovery and build some healthy, lasting habits along the way.