Upon successfully completing drug or alcohol rehab, many recovering addicts report a deep sense of accomplishment, a feeling of connection with their fellow rehab attendees and a rejuvenated spirit. If you’ve recently completed rehab, take a moment to acknowledge yourself for the hard work you’ve put in and for being willing to face some of your deepest personal issues and change the way you operate. By eliminating drugs and alcohol as an option, you’ve made a fundamental change in your life for the better. As George Bernard Shaw once wrote,
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
Change is extremely difficult. If you’ve managed to transform the course of your life by changing your behavior and ridding yourself of old habits, be forewarned, it takes a lot of hard work and perseverance to maintain new habits.
Life Without The Support System Of Drug Or Alcohol Rehab
Addiction treatment is structured in such a way to give addicts the support they need to abolish their old habits and coping mechanisms and to establish healthy habits and a new way of life. Daily schedules are constructed to keep patients active and occupied with the business of recovery. One important part of rehab is preparing for life outside of an addiction treatment program. Without structure and support, the chance of a relapse increases considerably. Fortunately, there are some very useful strategies or tips that can help you stay on track once you leave the safe haven of your rehab program.
10 Ways To Prevent Relapse
Putting yourself in situations or being around the wrong type of people can do more harm than good. Here are 10 helpful and useful tips to help prevent relapse and help you live a healthier lifestyle.
1. Avoid Risky Situations
In rehab, the word “trigger” is often used to describe certain experiences that can initiate thought patterns or events that may lead down the path to relapse. As a recovering addict, it’s important to recognize, in advance, the kind of risky situations which you should avoid at all costs. Spending time with the wrong people, hanging out in dubious places or putting yourself in the proximity of old haunts and memories can spell trouble. Instead, find new places, people, and hobbies that are in tune with your new lifestyle. Not sure where to start? Head to a local hiking trail. Join a book club. Volunteer in your community. The options are really limitless, and they’ll help you form your regular routine that will support your recovery.
2. Develop A Healthy Support Network
One of the best ways to steer clear of risky situations is to develop a strong and committed support system around you. Stay close to your program and spend time with people who bring out the best in you.
3. Create A Daily Schedule
Embracing recovery and living a drug and alcohol-free life requires effort and discipline. One of the best ways to establish the healthy structure you enjoyed in rehab is to create a daily schedule that supports your new lifestyle. Be sure to write it down. Just having your first hour planned out each day to include some form of reflection before starting your daily tasks will help immeasurably. Don’t forget to clear time for exercise, daily walks and meetings. Do you have difficulty staying organized with your schedule? Consider a mobile app that can give you frequent reminders to help you keep on track.
4. Practice Using Willpower
Willpower is sometimes referred to as a muscle and like any other muscle, your willpower needs a workout each day. Exercise your willpower by taking little steps that demonstrate your commitment to staying sober.
5. Make Healthy Eating And Sleeping A Priority
Healthy eating and sleeping are essential, especially to recovering addicts. Did you know that sleep deprivation has been linked to decreased cognitive functioning, negative moods, decreased productivity, and a variety of physical conditions? Establish a set bedtime and stick with it. Likewise, get into the habit of making healthy meals for yourself. Why not frequent your local farmer’s market or try a cooking class to learn some new recipes? What you eat can make a tremendous difference in how you feel.
6. Focus On The Positive
As the old song says, “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mister In-Between”. Addiction is a disease that thrives on isolation and negativity. It’s important mentally to always put your focus on the glass being half-full.
7. Live In The Moment
The past is exactly that and nothing you can ever do will change it. Most addicts will tell you that dwelling on the past, going over mistakes you’ve made or replaying unfair events of your life usually leads to negative thoughts which can cascade into a setup for relapse. Avoid the past by staying in the moment as much as possible. Have a strategy in place to deal with negative thoughts, feeling and emotions when they come up.
8. Participate In Group Meetings
One of the best ways to ensure you will not relapse is to participate in 12-step meetings and share your recovery. Working with other addicts is a guaranteed way to keep you on your toes and in gratitude for the sobriety you have earned. 12-step meetings and other group meetings will enable you to let go of problems by sharing them in a caring environment.
9. Continue With Individual Therapy
Individual therapy is vital in terms of recovery. Your therapist’s job is to be a committed listener and to openly advocate for your health and recovery. Many people believe they are “getting therapy” when they talk things over with a good friend. However, a seasoned therapist is a mental health professional, who has been trained for years to recognize signs, both positive and negative, of your struggle to establish your new sober life.
10. Be Patient With Yourself
Transitioning from drug and alcohol abuse to living a sober life is a challenge and does not happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in 28 days, but it’s a start. One of the hallmarks of addiction is impatience and instant gratification. But changing your life can take time. So be patient. Try to live in the moment, one day at a time and remember, recovery is a journey and not a destination.
Have You Had a Relapse?
Many individuals who have completed addiction treatment relapse. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, be proactive and get the help you need. Call Summit Behavioral Health now to speak with an addiction treatment specialist. Getting you back on track with your recovery is our focus.