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Regaining Your Concentration in Recovery

Addiction doesn’t do your brain any favors. Prolonged heavy use of any drug will have some negative effects on your memory and concentration. Some drugs, like meth, cocaine, and Adderall are great for concentration, but then when you quit, you feel like you’re under water. You might find yourself saying, “Sorry, what?” during conversations, or trying to read and just staring blankly at the page. It might take a while to get your focus back, but you can do it with a little effort.

The first thing to remember is that you can improve. Brains are very adaptable and if you do something consistently enough, you will get better at it. The only exception might be if you have really bad brain damage to the point where you can’t direct your own behavior at all. However, it’s probably safe to say that if you can read this, you can improve your concentration.

The next thing to remember is that you won’t necessarily feel yourself improving. You just have to set yourself a task, keep working on it, and at some point later on, you’ll realize you’ve come a long way. Day to day, though, it will be up and down and it will often feel pointless. Like every other aspect of recovery, you just have to keep working and have faith you will get better.

Don’t try to do too much all at once. For example, if you want to read more, but can’t focus for more than a minute or two, set the smallest possible goal for reading more. For example, say every day after dinner, you will spend five minutes reading something interesting. It could be a magazine article, a spy novel, or anything else that interests you. Make sure it’s something fun that you look forward to reading. Once you can concentrate easily for five minutes, add a minute and start the process over. The only caveat would be to not read online or on your phone, especially on social media, since they erode your attention even more.

There are plenty of other activities that can improve your concentration if reading is not your thing. Art and music both require a huge amount of focus, especially if you’re just starting. If you are motivated to learn a new skill, that can be a great way to improve your concentration.

Don’t neglect the auxiliary habits that improve your focus too. Get plenty of sleep, for example. Exercise also improves your concentration. Just 20 or 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day improves your focus without having to buckle down and make yourself concentrate on some particular task.

With regular effort, you will have your brain back before you know it. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox safely and decide on a treatment strategy. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at to learn more.