Addiction Treatment is Over – Now What?
It takes a lot of guts to admit there is a substance abuse problem and begin the difficult path to getting sober and free again. Addiction treatment is a major step, but it’s not the whole process. In fact, the process will continue for the rest of your life. Here are some of the things that you need to incorporate into your daily life after the time in the rehab center is over and you are back among family, friends, and coworkers.
Recognize That Recovery Is Ongoing
You’ve heard people say that they got over their addictions, or that they are cured. In reality, that’s not the case. What does happen is that people learn to control their addictions?
In order to remain sober, you must understand that you have a chronic illness that must be managed for the rest of your life. Just as a person with type 1 or type 2 diabetes has to make lifestyle changes and monitor blood glucose levels in order to take care of themselves, you have to do the same. That may mean coming up with creative ways to function in a world where alcohol and drugs are easy to come by.
When you stop treating your addiction as a bump in the road that’s permanently in your past and start seeing it as something you can manage effectively, keeping up what you started in rehab will be a little easier.
While you are no longer within the confines of a center where substance abuse is actively treated, that doesn’t mean you are on your own. Group meetings with people who have walked similar paths can be one of the most important resources that you can turn to when things get rough. The ability to go to a meeting and be with people who know what it’s like adds to your own personal strength. You, in turn, share your story and where you are right now, providing strength for others.
Realize That You Have Control
Many of your friends and family will do whatever they can to support you, within the limits of what they know to do. It’s up to you to help them understand what does and does not make it easier for you to remain clean and sober. At times, you may almost feel as if you are teaching adults things that you believe they should already know. Don’t get frustrated; instead, enjoy the fact that they want to learn and help.
If there are certain places that you feel are not good for you anymore, and even people that you should stay away from or only have contact with in what you feel are safe zones, don’t feel guilty about doing so. The goal is to live your life without letting the addiction overtake you again. If that means some hard decisions and changes that not everyone will understand, so be it.
You hear a lot about people relapsing after spending time in rehab centers. What you may not hear about as often is people who take their experiences and use them to rebuild their lives and remain clean. No one can force you to be into either category. Own your chronic condition, manage it with the aid of all the resources at your command, and you will be among those who move on to having the best life ever.