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  • Writer's pictureChoice Recovery

The Big Five

Recovery is about transforming our beliefs and behaviors. It is a journey that demands incremental change to our daily routines and the opinions that guide our decision-making. This journey starts when we enter the rooms of recovery and continues for as long as we desire to become a better person.

Obviously, treatment, meetings, therapy, and abstinence are the foundation of recovery, but what drives our ability to stay committed to the process is often based on how we feel. In recovery, the effort we put behind our self-care is as important as showing up for meetings and therapy. When we are taking care of ourselves, we feel better, and when we feel better, we make better decisions, and better decisions produce favorable outcomes. There are thousands of ways to make ourselves better people, but the five self-care changes that can make the biggest difference in early recovery include:

  • Do something nice for a friend, loved one, neighbor, or community today: Research shows that doing something nice for a fellow citizen releases endorphins in our brain, which positively alters our mood. However, as addicts, the value of these daily acts of kindness goes far beyond the release of endorphins. There are few things more selfish in life than addiction, and even if we are not using, our selfish behaviors often remain. By engaging in daily service work, we slowly chip away at our selfish habits. By diminishing our selfish nature, we allow ourselves to see life's true greatness and the opportunities sobriety provides us with.

  • Stay hydrated via drinking enough water: Water is what keeps our body working as designed. There is no doubt that when our body is adequately hydrated, we feel better. This is because proper hydration delivers the appropriate amount of nutrients and oxygen to our cells; it cleans our bladder and helps digestion, stabilizes our heartbeat, and normalizes blood pressure. Furthermore, if you drink a glass of warm water with lemon within 15-minutes of waking up, you will expand the benefits of water even further.

  • Start & end your day with a gratitude list: We all have much to be grateful for, but we often fail to recognize it. A gratitude list is essential to our life and recovery because it assists in framing our thoughts. As we start our day, a gratitude list gives us a brighter perspective on what lies ahead. Writing what we are grateful for at night helps eliminate any negative energy we picked up throughout the day. This release of unwanted energy enables us to sleep better and wake more refreshed.

  • Exercise for 30-minutes at least 4-times per week: While exercise does help in our physical wellbeing, the benefit we are looking for is on the mental side of life. Regular exercise carries powerful attributes like stress relief, an energy boost, and reduces depression. The fact is exercise benefits everyone, so everyone should be exercising; even if this means you start by walking 30-minutes multiple days per week.

  • Go to sleep & wake up at the same time each day: The daily grind of life takes a toll on our mind, body, and spirit and getting a quality night’s sleep is how we repay it. Quality sleep starts with a schedule that has us going to bed and waking up at relatively the same time each morning and night while providing for 7 to 9-hours of sleep. In combination with a sleep schedule, this amount of sleep will result in better concentration, limited depression, improved weight control, and more.

We all have a “why” behind our drug and alcohol use, and unfortunately, that “why” does not simply go away because we stop using. The tools learned and actions taken in the rooms of recovery are how we address this “why.” This process can be difficult, requiring us to do things we are not necessarily excited about doing. If we are not mentally and physically prepared for this process, we can be easily influenced to make the wrong choices, which puts our sobriety in jeopardy. Research proves that engaging in self-care better prepares us for the stresses and difficulties of life. The five healthy habits listed above are an easy way to prepare ourselves for all of life’s demands. We have the time and the talent to engage in these routines; all it takes is a little discipline and effort. If you make these healthy habits a priority, you will be amazed at how much better you feel and how satisfying your recovery becomes.


AHCCCS INSURANCE ACCEPTED! Choice Recovery is an outpatient addiction treatment center serving the Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Tempe, Scottsdale, and Phoenix communities. We offer night IOP for individuals who work during the day and morning group sessions that include Saturday. For individuals wanting to get clean but our Mesa location is not convenient, we offer Telehealth IOP at night.

Our program offers evidence-based addiction treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Including group therapy, individuals enrolled in the program can receive one-on-one counseling from a highly trained masters-level counselor and support from a recovery coach. We accept most private insurance plans and AHCCCS insurance including Mercy Care, United Health Care, Banner University and Arizona Complete Health. For more information please call us at 480-527-0337 or email us at


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