Searching for ways to help improve your recovery chances? This is a good sign that you\u2019re on the right track. But recovery from substance abuse or process behavior addiction, as you know, isn\u2019t always smooth sailing. It\u2019s easy to get a little lost somewhere along the way. We\u2019ve done some of the legwork for you and have come up with a few suggestions. Call them 10 secrets to do better in recovery. 1. Keep Your Plate Well-Balanced and Free of Too Much Obligations What do we mean by keeping your plate well-balanced? We\u2019re not talking about food, here. Instead, what we\u2019re referring to is our natural tendency \u2013 especially those among us in recovery \u2013 to try to tackle too much at once. Whenever we veer away from our recovery-related path, we\u2019re more likely to get in a bit over our heads. Better to stick to what we\u2019ve started and focus solely on our recovery. At least, do this for the first year to give us a good opportunity to lay in a solid foundation of recovery. 2. Stay Up-to-Date on Recovery News Think you know all there is to know about the field of recovery? You\u2019d be surprised and amazed at all the research that\u2019s going on these days on prevention, treatment and recovery from substance abuse and process addictions. If you see something of interest, pass it along to your interested allies in 12-step groups. When you stay abreast of what\u2019s happening, you\u2019re likely to be motivated to continue to do whatever it takes to maintain your sobriety. 3. Maintain a Positive Outlook It\u2019s not always easy to be cheerful and optimistic, but this is really at the heart of continuing to make progress in recovery. It\u2019s actually a well-known strategy to doing better in virtually every phase of recovery, but it\u2019s especially helpful to adopting a positive outlook early on, when you\u2019re new to recovery. What if things are pretty bleak when you finish treatment and are attempting to put your life back in order? There\u2019s no doubt that times can be rough. For that, you need outside assistance and continued support and encouragement. But if you persuade yourself that looking at life and your challenges in recovery as a glass half-full instead of a glass half-empty, you\u2019re on the road to improvement already. Here\u2019s a handy tip. Every time something happens, or you have a thought that tends toward the negative, turn it around and spin a positive out of it. Let\u2019s say you wake up and think that today is going to be miserable and you won\u2019t accomplish much. Stop that thought in its tracks and instead tell yourself that you\u2019re alive and grateful to have this opportunity to make a difference in what you do for your recovery. Then, get up, take a shower, get yourself nourished, all the while thinking of what you\u2019re going to do to work on your recovery. Then, do it. The more you do, the more you\u2019ll begin to feel the self-satisfaction of accomplishment. And making your way toward your sobriety milestones will keep you feeling more upbeat about your new life in recovery. 4. Make Goals that Cause You to Stretch What happens when you limit your horizons? If you\u2019re like most people, you get bored. Doing the same thing day in and day out is enough to cause anyone to want to slack off. How do you keep things fresh? Chart out what you\u2019ve accomplished so far in recovery. Then, take it to the next level and really push your horizons out a bit. Don\u2019t just settle for what\u2019s within grasp. Of course, definitely do include short-term goals that are easily achievable, but you need medium- and longer-term goals to keep you motivated to continuous improvement. As they say, nothing succeeds like success. And having goals on your recovery plan that you look forward to achieving just makes good sense \u2013 and it\u2019s one of the secrets to do better in recovery. 5. Network Like It\u2019s a Lifeline You never know when someone you meet during the course of working your recovery will turn out to be the person with a valuable connection or tip to advancing to that next rung in your sobriety journey. It could be someone you meet during the course of attendance at regular 12-step meetings or it could be an acquaintance at work or a co-worker with whom you come into contact. The point is to keep an eye out for every opportunity that comes your way. Don\u2019t just feel that a person has nothing to offer you. On the other hand, it isn\u2019t that you\u2019re looking for what you can get out of someone else. The idea is that people have connections. What you know and who you interact with could very well turn into a bona-fide opportunity for you down the line. If your networking helps you realize some small or large success that also helps in your recovery efforts, so much the better. After all, recovery isn\u2019t a one-time thing. It\u2019s an ongoing, lifelong journey. You might as well take advantage of the encounters you have along the way to help keep you motivated in recovery. 6. Mix it Up and Attend Different 12-Step Meetings Tired of seeing the same faces at your regular 12-step meeting? Do you feel as if you\u2019ve heard some variation of the same story over and over again? Do you find yourself tuning out or, worse yet, making excuses to not go to meetings as often as you have been? The solution to this, and it\u2019s another of the secrets to do better in recovery, is to vary your meeting locations. When you mix it up and go to meetings on different days or different locations, you\u2019re likely to see a different group of attendees than you normally do. That in itself may be enough to keep your interest going. At the very least, you\u2019ll have done something proactive \u2013 going to meetings \u2013 and help yourself to become more grounded in the practice of working your recovery. Don\u2019t forget to attend meetings when you travel or go beyond your normal daily route. This is another excellent opportunity to reap the benefit of group support. The idea is that you\u2019re all in this together, even though each of us travels our own path of recovery. Just hearing one tip or strategy that worked for another and might be well-adapted to your own situation could make it worthwhile. Who knows? You might even find yourself attending a meeting where you feel more at home than you ever did. There\u2019s nothing keeping you from switching your home group meeting location. Just be sure you\u2019re not trying to escape your responsibilities if you do choose to change where you regularly go. 7. If You Outgrow Your Sponsor, Choose a New One In a somewhat similar vein is the situation you might encounter where you feel that you\u2019ve outgrown your sponsor. This isn\u2019t all that uncommon, but it\u2019s amazing the amount of distress or difficulty it causes the sponsee. It may help to remember that your sponsor is a human being just like you. He or she may well have reached a certain level in their recovery where they feel comfortable and aren\u2019t all that motivated to move along further. If this sounds a bit harsh, it isn\u2019t intended to be. What may be going on is that you, on the other hand, are interested in pursuing a new avenue that you\u2019ve discovered, or feel that your sponsor just doesn\u2019t \u201cget\u201d your goals and isn\u2019t helping or encouraging you enough to get there. Sometimes, a sponsor has his or her own problems to deal with \u2013 and that includes the occasional slip or some other crisis that takes attention away from interaction with you. There are ways to deal with finding a new sponsor to replace the one you currently have. Before you jump ship and switch to someone else, however, it\u2019s important to examine your motives. Is your sponsor on you for failing to live up to your responsibilities or after you because of your inability or lack of following through on some aspect of your recovery? Remember, one of the chief responsibilities of sponsors is to do everything they can to help you, the sponsee, understand the steps of recovery, encourage you to continue working the steps, and to always be there for you in times of crisis. If you honestly answer that your sponsor is doing all these things, maybe there\u2019s something else going on with you that makes you want to get a different sponsor. Before you do jump up and change sponsors, be sure that you talk your feelings over with your current sponsor. It could very well be that your sponsor will encourage you to go ahead with your change, since if doing so will help with your recovery efforts, he or she is likely to be all for it. Just be cautious about your motivations. And, whatever you do, don\u2019t go without a sponsor. 8. Make Fun a Part of Your Day Every day in recovery is a blessing. But it doesn\u2019t all have to be hard work and tedious. One of the secrets to doing better in recovery is allocating time in each day for having fun. This doesn\u2019t necessarily mean that you\u2019re going to be rolling in the aisled in laughter \u2013 although there\u2019s certainly nothing wrong with that if it happens to occur while you\u2019re watching a comedy or laughing with friends. Having fun each day can be as simple as doing something you really enjoy. It could be a walk along the trails near your house or engaging in recreational activity, reading a good book, cooking a gourmet meal, decorating the house for the holidays. Whatever makes you smile and feel good \u2013 that is in line with your recovery goals and plan \u2013 is something that you should incorporate into your daily life as often as you can. An old phrase goes something like this: \u201cA smile is just a frown turned upside down.\u201d 9. Become Physically Active Allow your body\u2019s natural endorphins to kick in \u2013 and make you feel great \u2013 by engaging in a little vigorous physical exercise as a part of your normal routine. What this does for you, aside from making you feel great in the short term, is help you get your attitude situated right. When you\u2019re active in the physical sense, it gets more than just your blood pumping. It\u2019s good for your heart and lungs and virtually every part of your body. This also affects your mind. When you are active, as opposed to being sedentary, you feel more on top of things. You\u2019re able to think more clearly, to see your way around potential obstacles, and to make more well-informed decisions. All that oxygen going to your brain helps out, too. Not only that, but being physically active \u2013 not overdoing it, just keeping a balance in your exercise routine \u2013 winds up giving you more energy. And when you feel more energetic, your recovery efforts won\u2019t seem like such hard work after all. What constitutes being physically active? Well, you don\u2019t have to engage in any activity to the point of pain. After all, you\u2019re not after becoming a marathon runner \u2013 unless that is part of your lifestyle and goal. The key is to do some form of regular exercise, enough to work up a good sweat, to get your blood pumping and give your lungs a good workout. That may take the form of a brisk walk, playing volleyball, swimming, going golfing or cross-country or downhill skiing. Maybe it\u2019s working out at the gym or doing some hand weight exercises and jump roping at home. Whatever form it takes, be sure to do some form of physical exercise three to five times a week. If you have any doubts about your ability to engage in physical exercise, check with your doctor first. Then, incorporate physical exercise into your recovery lifestyle. 10. Pay Attention to Your Body, But Don\u2019t Neglect Your Mind and Spirit One final secret to do better in recovery has to do with balance. In this case, it\u2019s the balance you should strive to achieve between your body, mind and spirit. You may recall that body-mind-spirit is the kind of balance you were taught in rehab. It\u2019s more than just a philosophical concept, however. You need to pay attention to what your body is telling you on a daily basis. Don\u2019t push yourself to exhaustion. Be sure to eat properly, drink sufficient water to stay hydrated \u2013 especially during and after vigorous physical exercise, get adequate sleep (8 to 9 hours is recommended), and see the doctor if you experience any medical conditions warranting attention. Keep your mind in balance by always learning something new. Activating your brain cells by engaging in challenging puzzles, reading, learning anything new, helps keep you fresh and alert. But your spirit also needs enriching and nourishment. Maybe you do this by going to church, synagogue, temple or mosque. Maybe you enrich and nourish your spirit by practicing meditation or yoga or doing deep breathing exercises. Sometimes people find they replenish their spirit and get in touch with the God as they know Him by experiencing nature. Whatever works for you, do it. Just keep in mind that a wholeness and unit \u2013 or balance \u2013 of body, mind and spirit is one of the best secrets to do better in recovery. Bottom line, none of this is rocket science. All of these are 10 practical suggestions \u2013 we call them 10 secrets \u2013 to do better in recovery. If they work for you -- then that\u2019s so much the better. You can probably even come up with a few secrets of your own. Be sure to pass them on in the rooms. What inspires and works for you may just be what someone else needs to hear to get them more involved in working their own recovery.