Everyone gets in ruts. Some people do more often than others, but the reality is that life can be draining, and it occasionally forces us into a tough spot, one that is hard to get out of. Ruts are different for everyone. Some people may feel hopeless and sad, while others may simply be bored and feel as if nothing exciting is happening. At times like these, some people may go drink and let loose. For those who are in recovery, that simply isn’t an option any more. Instead, we have to find other ways to push through the ruts. Here are a few of my go-to solutions to get out of a rut.

1. Talk about it.

It’s not always the most enjoyable thing to admit that you are having a hard time in life, but it can help. Talking about the way you are feeling can be therapeutic and can even lead you to realizing things you would not have realized had you stayed silent. Additionally, talking to people about what you are going through allows them to share their own similar experiences. Maybe, they will be able to express what helped them get out of a rut, which could potentially help you. Even if they don’t have a solution, it’s just comforting to know you are not alone and that other people go through rough periods as well.

2. Do something — anything.

There is nothing worse than being in a rut and sitting around thinking about how you are in a rut. Doing this just allows the rut to become the center of your focus and may even deepen it. Instead of ruminating on it, force yourself to get up and do something to take your mind off of it. Maybe this means reading a book, going for a run, taking a drive. It’s different for everyone. The important thing is that you force yourself to get up and move. You’ll likely find that it snaps you out of feeling down and sad, at least for the time being.

3. Put it down on paper.

Letters Spelling Out Change Your Brain Representing How To Get Out Of A RutThere’s something grounding about being able to sit down with paper and a pen, or at a computer, and just let it all out. Don’t think too hard about writing eloquently or even correctly. Just write what comes to you. You don’t have to share this with anyone. In fact, you probably won’t want to, but the act of putting something on paper has a way of making it make sense and even feel more manageable. You may find that you feel more at ease after letting your thoughts out, even though you didn’t come up with a solid solution.

4. Don’t wish for things you can’t have.

If you’re in recovery, it does no good to dwell on the fact that you wish you could drink and escape what you are feeling. In fact, thinking this way will probably just make things worse because you end up dealing with feelings of self-pity. Rather than thinking about going out and getting drunk, think about the more productive things you could be doing, like building relationships or focusing on physical health. Make an effort to redirect your thoughts if you find yourself wandering down a dangerous path.

5. Take a break.

Chances are that there is something in your life that is making you feel stressed out or contributing to the rut you are in. If you can identify that factor, take some time and step away from it. If it’s work that has you down, take a day off. If it is a relationship, don’t interact with that person for the time being. If it’s your own thoughts, try to find a way to distract yourself. There is nothing wrong with stepping away from the things that are negatively impacting you. With time away, you may find you feel better, which means you may need to reevaluate your job or relationship or self. Taking a break isn’t always easy, but it is necessary once in a while.

6. Be gentle with yourself.

It’s OK not to be OK sometimes. Don’t beat up on yourself because you are off and not feeling like yourself. These things happen to everybody and it does no good to be unkind to yourself. In fact, that will probably make things worse. Instead, remind yourself that you have felt this way before and it has passed. Take a bubble bath, get a facial, go for a run. Do whatever you need to do to treat yourself well as you wait it out.

7. Give it time.

Most people can’t get out of a rut overnight. Sometimes they last days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. Patience and persistence are key when it comes to pushing through. Even though things may seem bleak today, it doesn’t mean that will be the case forever. Often with ruts, you simply have to wait for them to pass. Eventually, you will begin to feel yourself returning, feeling grounded and sure of yourself once again.

While everyone is different, I’ve found these methods to be the best options when I’m feeling low. For me, the most important thing to remember at times like this is that drinking will not solve anything that I am feeling or going through. Ultimately, I am the only one who can do that.

  • Author — Last Edited: January 26, 2018
    Photo of Beth Leipholtz
    Beth Leipholtz
    Beth is a Minnesota girl who got sober at age 20. In her day-to-day life, she works as a reporter at the local newspaper. Her passions are writing about recovery at Lifetobecontinued.com, doing graphic design, and spending time with her boyfriend and three dogs. She hopes her writing can bring clarity to other young people struggling with addiction and let them know they are far from alone.

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