Going into a formal drug treatment program is a vitally important, life-changing step that may lead to a new, free, and healthy life of sobriety. However, these specialized programs do last forever, and will do no good if you simply go back to your old, addicted ways afterwards. Rehab needs to be seen as the beginning a longer process of change, so that you can continue to live in sobriety. When you do go back to “normal life,” it’s important to live a changed life and continue to work on your recovery. Here are some things you can do to help make that happen.
Make New Friends:
Often, addiction isolates you, but it may have also given you a wide circle of fellow users. Trying to maintain a friendship built on mutual drug use can easily cause you to slide back into old behaviors, especially if that person is unwilling to undergo the self-reflection and changes you are facing. Sobriety is not something you have to do alone. Wherever you go, you will often be surrounded with people experiencing some of the same struggles. Surrounding yourself with people able to support you, listen to you, and have fun with you can help sustain your sobriety and help you make it over difficult times.
You may have felt like your time in rehab made some radical changes and astronomical growth and self-discoveries, but the learning is far from over. Recovery is a long-term process, and sobriety is a decision you’ll have to keep making as new challenges come up in your life. Many reputable centers work on a step-by-step model, offering follow-up appointments in your early days. These very important meetings can help you process your feelings, deal with the transition, and further help walk you through your vulnerabilities and feelings.
In addition, you should also start looking for other programs or ways to continue your treatment. A peer support group can help connect you with other people facing similar issues, allowing you to be heard, encouraged, and given advice for how to continue in your recovery. You can also look for a trained therapist to help you walk through the deeper traumas and pains in your life, helping you to know how to have a thriving life in spite of hard feelings.
Take Care of Yourself:
Substance abuse of any kind can harm your body and brain significantly. Addiction makes you ignore these risks, causing you to stop listening to your body’s signals about its needs. Your mental and physical health deteriorates, not only from the direct effect of drugs and alcohol, but also because you abandon habits that lead to health. An important part of the recovery process is learning how to take better care of yourself. Establishing daily routines of sleep, exercise, and self-processing can be especially helpful ways to create new habits in a sober life. Healthy eating and taking breaks from a frenzied schedule to do something enjoyable and de-stressing can also be really good ways of reducing anxiety and bringing your focus to the present moment.
Doing things for other people gives your life a sense of purpose and fulfilment, and allows you to focus on truly living a good life of sobriety, rather than continually fighting off the temptation to use again. Taking your mind off of your own problems, and allowing yourself to connect to someone else can also help manage your own issues. One of the more important ways you can help is by sharing your experience with fellow addicts and people in recovery. Your story has value, and may very well offer encouragement or challenge to someone else who resonates.