By Marcela De Vivo: When you’re working through recovery, life can take on an entirely new meaning and provide you with a wealth of new perspectives, opportunities and hope. It can also be a difficult time as you’re probably working to rebuild your life in terms of your career, relationships and overall peace of mind.

Striking a balance during this time can be tough as you’re usually juggling the steps of recovery with the steps required to reinvent yourself and re-establish the parts of your life that have been compromised by addiction

There’s no shame in having difficulty with that. In fact, you’re taking on one of the most difficult and most noble tasks there are: rebuilding your life after the turmoil and destruction of an addictive habit. It’s not easy and you deserve a tremendous amount of credit for putting in the effort.

In order to strike that balance ─ yes, you need to work hard -- you also need to work smart and spend your energy and time wisely. Here are a few ways to help achieve balance between your recovery and the rest of life that will inevitably build up around you:

1. Pay attention to your health

Recovery is primarily about your physical health and the fact that you’re coming off your substance addiction is already beneficial in that regard; however, a good way to balance your recovery with your everyday life is to put some time and energy into actually building up your strength and improving overall health.

Just spend a little bit of time exercising on a regular basis and do whatever your body allows. Exercise will help round out your day and help you feel better overall.

2. Set some short term goals

Long-term goals are easier to think about and work towards, so it’s likely that you’ll have those in place early on. What you need to do as a follow-up is break those goals up into smaller more achievable goals that can be dealt with on a short term basis.

You need to feel like you’re making progress; if you’re constantly focused on long term goals that won’t be realized for several years, you run the risk of getting frustrated and lapsing back into addiction.

Make some goals for yourself that are easier to achieve, setting yourself up for some visible and measurable success within the first few months.

3. Plan out your days

Not every day needs to be planned down to the hour, but have a rough sketch of what you want to accomplish on a daily basis. This is a sub-set of short term planning, only it comes out as more of a to-do list than anything else.

If you do go this route, make sure your to-do list is manageable. You want to avoid feeling disappointed if you fall short.

4. Spend some time relaxing and doing what you love

Getting some relaxation time and doing things you enjoy is important for anyone. Make sure you don’t deprive yourself of things you enjoy doing, like reading, watching a particular TV show or even playing video games. If it helps you relax and unwind (and isn’t leading you back to addiction), you should absolutely make time for it on a regular basis.


Balance is best achieved by knowing that all you can do is simply put one foot in front of another, and deal with things one day at a time.  If you can do this regularly, you’ll keep your life well-balanced and maintained as you walk through your recovery period.

Remember that it’s not meant to be a pressure situation; getting back on your feet should be a good thing, not a stressful thing.

Marcela de Vivo is a freelance writer in Los Angeles who specializes in alternative medicine, travel and marketing. In order to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle, she focuses on one day at a time, setting goals for herself.