Congratulations on finishing your treatment for substance abuse! So, what is the next stage in your life after treatment?Probably for the first time since people found out about your addiction, people are giving you the benefit of the doubt, they are inviting you to attend events and functions and treating you like a normal person, so how do you maintain this new stage of life? Since that screaming voice in your ear is quieter now and your mind does not constantly think about drinks or drugs, your goals are to repair your familial and closest relationships, where possible and start living on your own again. With your treatment program ending, you are now faced with a certain amount of freedom and will be faced with choices that could derail your sobriety, so how do you avoid a relapse? There are ways that most experts agree are necessary to maintain anyone’s newfound sobriety, these include avoiding triggers, maintaining positive relationships, continuing going to meetings and caring for yourself, among others.
Seven Steps To Maintain Sobriety in Your Life After Treatment
There are a wide variety of resources and options that you can benefit from when it comes to trying to maintain your sobriety in your life after treatment. Some may be easier to adopt than others, however making efforts to keep your recovery at the forefront of your life is critical
1. Develop An Aftercare Program
By having a solid plan for your life after treatment, you will be able to manage your newfound freedom because you should have a daily routine which includes making it to your home group, speaking to your sponsor, and attending counseling sessions as often as necessary. By developing a routine that centers around recovery instead of chasing a high, you will find your time passes easier which helps cement your foundation by replacing the negative influences and practicing avoidance.
2. Home Should Be a Safe Place
Your home may be a trigger if you hate the neighbors, or your roommate has friends who bring beer over constantly, or if the guy next door is where you score your drugs. Without a safe place to come home to from work where you are in control, your sobriety will probably be short-lived so consider relocating, whether to a different location or some sort of halfway or sober house. If your local bar is walking distance or “close enough to crawl home without wearing a hole in my jeans,” then move. Do not be sentimental about your place, if you have lived there for long with a substance abuse problem, chances are high that you will romanticize some of those memories and increase the odds you will relapse.
3. Foster Positive Relationships
Keep fostering those relationships which provide support and refuse to allow you to lie. Those are the people who will call you out when they know you are lying and avoid those people whose sole purpose for calling is to go partying, as they will ultimately drag you back down that same well you just escaped. If you really want to verify which group of friends cares, try not showing up at your local happy hour or your home group and see which set of people call to check on you. Hint, it will not be the bar crowd. You should probably have a small circle of sober friends from your home group, and they will likely become your best, tightest friends as you will all watch one another and be there to support each other in times of crisis.
4. Avoid HALT Conditions
You will learn to pay attention to your body, as it won’t have all sorts of chemicals and alcohol coursing through your bloodstream. By not allowing yourself to get hungry, angry, lonely, or tired you are practicing self-care, a necessary step to maintaining sobriety. Instead of pulling all-nighters where you barely managed to somehow finish the next day, by being sober and in touch with yourself, you will get the proper rest when tired, eat when you are hungry, and by attending daily meetings you will manage to interact socially with people who know the signs of substance abuse.
5. Attend Therapy
By addressing the reasons behind your substance abuse, you will hopefully manage to make sobriety (at least this time around) stick. Getting sober you will have to face the consequences for your actions and many people are still on probation when they start in sobriety. These are some of the toughest times you will face in your life, attending counseling is just common sense. An hour or two a week is nothing compared to the time spent chasing your addiction and the benefits are exponential. To stay sober requires a daily positive mindset and a counselor is crucial to unpacking your issues, facing them and transitioning back to a normal life successfully.
6. Take Up a Hobby
Maybe you always wanted to play the guitar or learn a foreign language, maybe you want a motorcycle but realized riding one in your past condition was unwise. Getting sober gave you a chance to improve your life, fill your time with something new and positive like yoga or martial arts. Maybe you want to join a gym, that will keep you away from bars and clubs and encourage other healthy habits like staying in shape and eating healthier. Whatever it is, just by filling your time with a positive habit, you reinforce better habits and avoid negative ones.
You are going to feel anxious and likely nervous the first time you go anywhere and remain sober, so avoid places like bars or clubs
7. Go To Meetings and Stay Involved
Keep going to meetings. In your life after treatment, that is one of the most important things you can do and should remain so for years to come. As a newcomer meetings are the place where you can open up and people will seek you out to help. Go into any 12-step meeting, say that you are struggling, ask for help and at least 5 people will approach you afterwards to exchange phone numbers. As someone with a few years of sobriety, you will meet a newcomer and likely become a sponsor at some point which will help keep those dark memories fresh for you. As someone with decades of time, and yes there are many old-timers at some meetings, you will return because those horror stories newcomers tell will help keep the dangers of using fresh in your mind.
Addiction Treatment in Texas
If you or someone you know are considering treatment for substance abuse make certain to speak to the experts to help you create and adhere to a solid post-treatment plan. Call Purpose Driven Recovery at (713) 266-1507 or, click here to email them.