You’ve made it through the struggles of detox and rehab and have rediscovered the joys of sober living. Now it’s time to return to the life you knew before without addiction weighing you down.
Recovery is not expected to be a walk in the park, but there are certain people, places and things you can avoid to help reinforce your newfound healthy habits and make your continued road to wellness more manageable.
Here are three overall things to avoid in the aftercare phase of your ongoing recovery:
1) Emotional Triggers After Rehab
Take note of people or places that spark uncomfortable feelings of anxiety or sadness. These are known as emotional triggers. Exposing yourself to these feelings could put you in a vulnerable place and cause you to seek an escape. Turning to drugs and alcohol is common for people who do not want to deal with reality, and the old habit could sneak back in if you aren’t careful.
Mark Your Triggers
When you notice where your triggers are, mark them down using the map application on your phone. Find alternative routes to the places you need to go that will help you avoid the trigger areas. Using walking paths near nature can help calm feelings of anxiety and encourage healthy thoughts.
2) Sources of Excessive Stress
Stress is nearly impossible to avoid in today’s fast-paced world. Between work, hectic family schedules and emotional encounters, it can be hard to keep your cool during the time after your return from any treatment centers. It is possible, however, to recognize the main sources of stress in your life and make an effort to either deal with them or cut them out.
Job stress is one of the leading causes of anxiety, and anxiety is one of the leading causes of relapse. Try to pinpoint the elements of your job that are causing the most stress. Perhaps you are working too many hours or have taken on more responsibility than you should. There is no use trying to make your pre-rehab life fit into your new sober lifestyle. Be honest with yourself about what is pulling you away from a clear, relaxed mindset.
Family life can also be a source of stress. It is admirable to be more involved in the lives of your children by volunteering for activities, but they need you to be healthy, first and foremost. On the other hand, time spent with the family can also be productive and help with recovery, so adding more family time into your schedule could be a stress reliever. Just see which way works for you.
Make Changes to Cut Out Stress When You Return from Treatment
Outside of your professional and family life, participating in organized activities can impact your time to recover properly: You may have to put them on hold or cut them out altogether. In relation to work, talk to your boss about reducing your hours or reducing the workload. If the corporate culture of your workplace doesn’t fit with your life, it may be time to look for new employment.
3) Prescription Drugs
The detox process you underwent in treatment was the core of your recovery. It allowed you to understand your body better and rid it of the poisons fueling your addiction. You know that reintroducing your body to that poison of choice could cause you to spiral into relapse, but did you know that introducing a new substance could cause a relapse as well?
When the hypothalamus or mesolimbic system is exposed to a new chemical or drug, it can cause a return to the original drug of dependency. This is known as cross-addiction. The ease with which you can gain access to drugs that could trigger cross-addiction is cause for concern, which is why you should tell your doctor about your recovery and avoid addictive prescription drugs post treatment.
Pain Medication Is the Main Culprit
The most common medication that causes relapse through cross-addiction is pain medication. When you are in pain after an injury or surgery, it can be difficult to turn down pain pills, but they could be life-threatening, especially for those who were previously addicted to opiates. Recovery involves retraining your mind and body through healthy habits, so staying away from narcotics and muscle relaxers is imperative.
More Motivation for Staying Sober After Rehab
It’s important to keep in mind that addiction recovery is a long-term challenge, but it’s one that leads to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Taking steps to rearrange the life you had during addiction is an effective way to avoid the triggers and temptations that could pull you back in.
Learn more about relapse prevention by visiting the website for The Dunes East Hampton, a luxury rehabilitation center in Long Island, New York that features a comprehensive aftercare program to help clients maintain sobriety.