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Expanding Healthy Behaviors in Recovery

At Gosnold, we know a successful recovery does not end with the completion of a treatment plan; we offer ongoing recovery support for our patients and their families.  We are committed to the community and provide family education, school-based counseling, medical care integration, and support prevention coalitions.

Amid a substance use disorder (SUD), your primary focus is often centered on finding the opportunity to use. This fixation can consume so much time and energy that you have none left for healthy behaviors. You may neglect work, relationships, and hobbies because you are unwilling to the substance. In recovery, you get that time and energy back since you no longer use it on a substance. You may have so much free time that you aren’t sure what to do with it. It’s essential to find healthy behaviors in recovery to fill this time so that you aren’t tempted to slip back into active addiction. 

What Are Healthy Behaviors in Recovery?

In recovery, much time is spent discussing behaviors that constitute a relapse or put you at risk of relapsing. For example, in alcohol use disorder (AUD), this would be drinking or going to a place that serves alcohol, respectively. Yet, there is another category of behaviors that are of equal importance — healthy behaviors. 

Healthy behaviors in recovery are anything that keeps you sober without harming yourself or others. Ideally, they improve your life in additional ways that provide a sense of fulfillment and happiness. The list of potential healthy behaviors is extensive. Some common healthy behaviors are discussed below.

Examples of Healthy Behaviors in Recovery


Since hunger can be a significant trigger in SUD, the food you eat and how you get it can be a healthy part of your recovery process. Healthy foods can be better for your physical and mental health. In comparison, consuming excessive fast food or desserts can lead to depression or issues with your self-image that can hurt your mental health. Many people enjoy cooking as a hobby, and the food you cook at home is often healthier than other alternatives. 


Physical exercise is a healthy behavior commonly utilized by people in recovery. Regular exercise can relieve a lot of health ailments and improve self-image. People in recovery often struggle with feeling unworthy, and working out is a way of showing yourself that you are worth the effort. The endorphins that exercise releases can help relieve the craving for those feel-good hormones that substance use provides. This can be especially helpful when experiencing withdrawals early in recovery or when triggered.

Finding a Hobby

Restarting an old hobby or finding a new one is critical to your recovery. Precisely what hobby will depend on the person. It could be reading, writing stories, painting, gardening, mountain biking, woodworking, etc. The specific hobby doesn’t matter as long as it is healthy and doesn’t trigger you. For instance, you may enjoy going to football games with others. Yet, alcohol is often a staple item sold at games and could trigger you. 

Going to Meetings

Attending a 12-Step support group is one of the healthiest behaviors you can do in recovery. It can be the difference between a relapse and staying sober. And even if you aren’t on the verge of relapsing, attending meetings regularly is a good maintenance treatment. It doesn’t matter how many years of continuous sobriety you have — a relapse is always a possibility. The relationships you build in support groups give you people to lean on who understand your SUD the way others may not. 

Attending Therapy

Participating in regular talk therapy sessions can be very beneficial for your recovery. Therapy can help you address sources contributing to your addiction, such as trauma or an underlying untreated mental health disorder like depression. In the beginning, therapy can be difficult and might not feel helpful. Yet, with time, effort, and regular sessions, it can pay significant long-term dividends toward improving your mental health and recovery. 

Why Healthy Behaviors Are Important in Recovery

Distraction When Triggered

A trigger is anything that makes you want to use a substance again. Triggering situations are going to come up during recovery. Sometimes they are unavoidable, no matter how proactive you may be. Part of recovery is being able to handle these situations when they occur. 

It defeats the purpose of recovery if the only reason you never relapse is because you isolate yourself to avoid triggers. Isolation itself can be a trigger, so there’s no way to avoid all triggers. Instead, you must know what to do when they do occur. When triggered, having healthy behaviors to rely on can provide a distraction until that feeling passes.

Improved Mental Health

Healthy behaviors are beneficial to your mental health. The better your mental health state, the better off you will be in recovery. Sobriety is a daily battle that requires a lot of work and effort. This work is a lot easier if you are doing well mentally. Mental health disorders like depression and anxiety commonly co-occur alongside SUD. These can not only make your recovery work more challenging to accomplish, but they can trigger you to use in an attempt to self-medicate.

Keep You Busy

Healthy behaviors in recovery aren’t just for situations when you’re triggered. If you stay engaged with things that are enjoyable and good for you, it will reduce your risk of relapsing. Some people with a SUD feel the desire to use when bored. If you are constantly working on something instead, your mind has less time to wander into boredom — a potentially triggering territory. 

Getting Back on Track

Healthy behaviors can help you get back on track with your recovery after a slip or relapse. Slips and relapses in recovery can be disheartening, but it’s sometimes a part of the process. What is important is that you pick yourself up quickly and get back into working on your recovery. 

Having healthy behaviors can help you do this faster and more efficiently. Doing something healthy and productive, like working out, will make you feel better about yourself. It can help combat the shame that tries to hold you down and keep you in a relapse. 

Enhance Your Recovery With Healthy Behaviors

These are just a few of the many potential healthy behaviors in recovery and the benefits they can have. Taking time to expand this aspect of your recovery can significantly enhance your sobriety and quality of life.

A Gosnold Recovery Coach can help you engage in healthy behaviors in recovery.

Gosnold Recovery Coaches guide patients and families through the transition period following inpatient treatment.  Patients are matched to a Recovery Coach who identifies, implements and monitors short and long term goals to help patients sustain recovery.  This includes transitional recovery and community-based care elements and incorporates a dynamic hands-on approach.


An individualized continued care plan is developed for each patient and includes continued contact with their recovery coach, community acclamation and socialization, and introduction to recovery support groups.


Recovery Coaching Provides:


  • Introduction and integration into recovery support groups.
  • Assistance in formulation of a Recovery Service Plan for life goals (work, school, etc.)
  • Meetings to review progress.
  • Integration into Gosnold recovery community activities.
  • Coordination with other professionals involved with your treatment.
  • Coaching is provided in face to face sessions, by telephone, e-mail, texting, and other communications.


    Additional Recovery Support


    Gosnold is committed to our patients’ health and well-being.  Our support services team is proud to be their connection to our growing recovery community.  Leading the way in treatment innovations and support services, Gosnold offers a variety of outstanding resources to support a sustained recovery.  

    Gosnold Alumni App

    Gosnold partnered with the CaredFor platform in order to bring recovery securely and safely to tens of thousands of patients and alumni. The Gosnold App connects patients and alumni with critical information, recovery resources, self-evaluation tools, and peer support while promoting engagement through virtual and in-person programming and events.

    We are grateful for the support of the Edward Bangs Kelley and Eliza Kelley Foundation, Inc. and the generosity of numerous individuals for making our Recovery Coaching Program possible.


    If you have any questions regarding our Recovery Management options, please reach out to Bill Abbate, Director of Care Management,




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