How to Regain Energy After Opiate Addiction
Quitting opiates and overcoming the devastating disease of opioid addiction is no small feat. It is a disease that claims over 100 lives a day. Countless others suffer for months, years, and decades. Family members spend countless sleepless nights praying and hoping for their loved one to seek treatment.
Opiates are a category of opioids—drugs that are derived from the opium poppy plant. Opiates, simply put, are the naturally-derived opioids, but they have similar effects as synthetic opioids.
Withdrawals from opiates can leave the opioid addict wondering if it’s worth quitting. Aside from the symptoms of nausea, constipation, sweats, diarrhea, and muscle pain, muscle fatigue and loss of energy can last for weeks or months. Many former addicts are discouraged that they feel worse after getting sober than they did while they were high on opioids.
The good news: there are things you can do to regain your energy and feel the benefits of sobriety. Here is a list of six things you can do daily that will get you feeling better in the early days of recovery.
1. Do Nothing (On Purpose)
In the aftermath of opioid addiction, the physical and mental pain of detox can feel overwhelming. It’s easy to beat yourself up for not wanting to do anything, to want to do nothing. While doing nothing feels like a waste of time, doing nothing on purpose has 20 scientifically proven benefits.
Whether it’s sitting quietly and letting yourself drift or with the help of guided meditations (you can find plenty online), meditating and being still can decrease pain, increase positive emotion, decrease depression and anxiety, boosts self-control, increases social connection and emotional intelligence, and improves cognitive abilities. This is so important that addiction specialists make this part of the treatment and recovery process.
2. Mindful Eating Habits
Eating the right stuff and at the right times are important for improving energy levels. This can be more important when someone is fresh off of opiates. Eating healthy snacks throughout the day such as nuts and fruits are healthy options to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Allow yourself to have some sweets here and there—candy can help stop cravings. But don’t overdo them. Healthy snacks every couple of hours ensure that you will have enough protein, which boosts energy, without the sluggish effects of fatty foods or the ups-and-downs of sugary foods and drinks.
3. Get Good Sleep
It may seem like a contradiction, but sleeping too much can make someone feel more tired and sluggish. On the other hand, even sleeping one or two hours too little for several nights in a row affects your ability to perform routine tasks. Sleep deficiency has an overall adverse effect on your physical and mental wellbeing.
The best way to get more quality sleep so that you avoid crashes throughout the day, establish a sleep schedule. Schedule a time to go to sleep and turn off all electronics and set the alarm for eight hours. It will be tough at first. For many former opiate addicts, it is tough to sleep through the night. But with practice, eight hours of sleep a night can be the difference between yawning all day and getting through the day alert and happy.
4. Exercise (within Your Limits)
One of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal is muscle fatigue and soreness. During opiate addiction, many rarely exercise. Part of recovering from addiction is rebuilding physical strength. Start by taking walks outside, at least 20 minutes at a time. Stretching routines also help to alleviate muscular pain.
Walking and exercising improves circulation, improves mood, and boosts metabolism. All of these will enhance energy. An added bonus to walking outside: the sun is a vital source of vitamin D and melatonin—important vitamins and minerals that help regulate healthy sleep patterns.
Drink water. Lots of water. Drinking water helps detoxify your body of remnants of opiates. Also, if you are still suffering from constipation, water will help your bowel movements return to normal. If you are still dealing with diarrhea and vomiting, your body is experiencing mass amounts of water loss. You need to rehydrate regularly to avoid dehydration.
Aside from helping alleviate some of the worst symptoms of opiate withdrawal, water has a dozen other essential benefits for healthy living. Drinking enough water every day helps your body digest food and increase performance during exercise—both things that will give you more energy.
6. Track Your Progress
Some days are better than others. This is especially true when recovering from opiate addiction. Keep a journal and track your progress daily. When you are having a particularly exhausting or tough day, a progress journal reminds us how far we’ve come. It will be a source of inspiration and help you be proud of how far you’ve come. It’s not easy, but it gets better every day.