Addiction is a relapsing disease and thus recovery from it is a long-term process. There are multiple hurdles you will have to face head-on through your rehab journey, and there are no known shortcuts so far. Even if you have successfully overcome the nasty symptoms of withdrawal and have completed the challenging detox process, it does not end there. In fact, it’s only just begun. You must deal with relapses, which are natural obstacles on the often long and winding road to addiction recovery and sobriety. Fret not, however, for relapses can be prevented, managed and overcome with a little help from friends, family and rehab experts. Here are indispensable ways to cope after rehabilitation.
Assess Yourself and Your Living Environment
Once you get out of rehab and have become completely sober for the duration of the program, you will now face the next step in the recovery process – transitioning from living a restrictive lifestyle inside rehab to going back to the mainstream on your own. Of course, before leaving the safety premises of rehab, you will be equipped with the necessary recovery tools to guard you against risky situations conducive to relapsing. However, the cold and hard fact, that your alcohol or drug-dependent friends may still be there and are carrying on with their destructive habits when you get home, remains. Therefore, you are advised to gauge your own strength against resisting temptation. If you feel that you are not ready to be exposed to the same old routine and are not strong enough to associate with old “friends” yet stay sober, then consider the option of living elsewhere temporarily. Making arrangements to stay with a close relative located in a healthier, more conducive living situation is a good option.
Choose Your Association Wisely
Bad company corrupts good habits, so the old adage goes. And it is true. The kind of people you associate with affects your consciousness and mindset. If your peer support group in rehab has influenced you for the better, your old “friends” who still sustain their drug or alcohol habit can influence you otherwise. Thus, once out of rehab it would be safer to choose who you associate with wisely. Steer clear of people who will pull you back into your dark past and stick to the ones who can help keep you on track.
Secure a Solid Support Group
Relapsing is but an inevitable part of the recovery process. Thus, while you should make all conscious efforts to prevent it, you should definitely have a backup plan, just in case. A support group can help remind, encourage and motivate you into sticking to your sober lifestyle, especially when the going gets rough. It’s nice to know that there’s always reliable and sober company that you can go to and fall back on every time you start feeling that you’re gradually relapsing to your old habits. A solid support group can be in the form of close friends and relatives or your peers at rehab who also wish to recover and be sober for life. You may also want to keep in touch with your therapist or counselor for whenever you need a listening ear to confide to.
Keep the Discipline
If the rigid schedule followed at the addiction recovery center helped stabilize you in becoming sober, then keeping the same discipline even at home can, too. Try and follow a similar structure and pattern on a daily basis so that you don’t stray away from lasting sobriety. Healthy eating habits, regular exercise, adequate rest, and sleep, as well as engaging in positive and fun activities you enjoy are key to relapse prevention.
Pay It Forward or Give Back to the Community
By volunteering, advocating the benefits of sober living and helping others who are in the same shoes that you once were in, you are putting yourself in a situation where you are constantly reminded of how downtrodden you once were when you were still hooked on drugs and alcohol, and thus be inspired and motivated to keep moving on forward and never backward. More importantly, by doing so, you are also serving as a positive role model to those who are still struggling in the early stages of the addiction recovery process, and a living proof that they, too, can achieve the recovery progress that you have achieved.