You’ve recently completed rehab to battle against the disease of addiction – congratulations! The feelings of joy and happiness are probably overwhelming at times, but so can be the fears and uncertainty about what is to come. Let us help you answer some of the questions you might be facing about life after inpatient rehab.
Transitioning back into your regular life should begin before you ever step foot out of rehab. You and your counselor should work closely together before your discharge to create an aftercare plan that best suits your needs. By integrating the strategies you and the clinical team worked diligently to construct while you were in treatment, will set you up for success once you leave.
Create a Daily Structure
One thing that you’ve come to enjoy in rehab is a fairly strict daily structure. Each of your days included therapy sessions, educational programs, mealtime and recreational time. All of these activities were supervised and there were never any influences to use alcohol or drugs allowed in your structure.
When you arrive home, you are going to find that there is no daily structure set up for you. Thankfully, you can create one for yourself and many people who do, find success. By setting up a daily structure for yourself you eliminate the boredom that can lead to relapse.
Consider adding some of the following activities into your daily structure:
- Attending Meetings
- Attending Aftercare groups/therapy sessions
- Daily Reflection
- Faith Based Activities (if these apply to you)
- Household Chores
- Connecting with Friends
- Cooking & Eating Your Meals
Set up your schedule as soon as you leave treatment, or even before. Even attempt reading it to your former counselor, peers, or individuals you meet in 12-step fellowships.
Keep in mind that as life hits different stages, you might need to revamp your daily plan slightly. Simply take out what isn’t working for you and add in new activities as you see fit. Speaking with your sponsor about these changes will be helpful.
Stress plays a major role in relapse. One of your major goals will be to keep your life free of as much stress as possible. Keep this in mind while you are planning your daily schedule.
People that experience high levels of anxiety are more likely to experience a relapse within 5 years of treatment. Some stresses can occur when your schedule is too full or you have high expectations of yourself.
Be patient with yourself. It can take years before you might be able to participate in a full work, school or home life. Be sure that each and every day you’ve scheduled time for relaxation for optimal success.
Learn the Signs of Relapse
Recovery is a lifelong process and you won’t complete it overnight. After treatment, you might experience several warning signs that relapse is imminent. The key to preventing this from happening is to recognize and respond to the signs you notice.
Here are some signs that relapse could occur:
When you overburden yourself with daily responsibilities you could be on the path to relapse. This can include family, work and school duties.
If you are lying to others or even yourself, this is a dangerous warning sign of relapse.
Unreasonable and Angry
If you begin having trouble in your personal relationships, either with anger or your expectations, this is something that needs to be addressed.
Any potential symptom of depression should be dealt with immediately. This can easily lead to relapse and possibly even suicide.
It is often said in the rooms that sobriety is a journey…not a destination. When you think you’ve “arrived”, you are in trouble. You must remain humble and willing to learn in order to stay on the path of recovery.
If you begin to see any of these symptoms in yourself, or anything else unusual, be sure you speak to someone quickly. You can choose your sponsor, support or a professional therapist, but the key is to get talking. Talk until the feelings have subsided and you are on the other side. There is nothing more important than your recovery.
Establish a Strong Support System
People who’ve set up a strong support system are less likely to relapse, so it makes sense to spend time accomplishing this task. There are many layers involved in a quality support system. Transitioning back to your real life is hard and a support system is a must if you want to maintain sobriety.
In addition to the professionals you will continue to see, adding some of the following people to your support system are often times crucial and necessary.
This is someone that has walked the path before you and can offer practical guidance and encouragement along the way. Look for someone in the rooms who has what you want and then agree to take the steps necessary to get there.
Similar to a sponsor, a support group within a 12-step fellowship is crucial to your recovery process. We cannot rely solely on one individual (sponsor), as they have other life obligations as well. Building and maintaining a support group of peers, who have experienced similar struggles and have overcome those struggles, is imminent for sobriety. If you continue to maintain these relationships, you will find that you will lean on these individuals more than most others in your life.
Family Members and Close Friends
If you have other family members or sober friends that are supportive of your recovery, they are great people to add to your support circle. They will operate much like the spouse would and offer practical guidance about the things you might not be able to see.
If you are a teenager, you will find that your parents can be an influence on your life. By actively engaging in a relationship with your parents, you can easily transition back to a regular life. They can help you to keep up on your schoolwork, find after-school activities or even help you to plan some sober events for friends.
Having a spouse who knows you intimately can be a great resource to your support system. Encourage them to see their own treatment so that they may continue to grow as well. Over the course of your recovery path, they will be able to listen, help you see clearly and even wave the warning flag when they see signs of relapse in you.
Always Look to the Long-Term Goals
While it is important to take one day at a time, we also need to have long-term goals in mind. This process is going to take your ongoing effort and energy, just as if you were recovering from cancer.
Sit down with your support group and set up some long-term goals for yourself. Then, break these down into smaller chunks that you can focus on daily. Maybe a good long-term goal would be to one day be a sponsor of other recovering addicts. You can break that down into daily tasks like:
- Ensuring that you attend regular meetings
- Work diligently with your sponsor
- Continue to work through the steps
- Reach out to newcomers at meetings and listen to their struggles
I know that the future may seem uncertain to you right now, but the possibilities are endless for what is to come. With some hard work and a willingness to grow, you are going to set yourself up for amazing things. If you find yourself unsure at any time during the transition time, be sure you reach out for help. You don’t have to walk this path alone.
Contact Clearbrook For Rehab Services
If you or someone you know and love is currently in need of drug and alcohol rehab, Clearbrook Treatment Centers can help.
For 45 years, we have been providing quality treatment to the chemically dependent person and offering support services to the entire family unit. Furthermore, we believe strongly in maintaining relationships with our alumni, so if you have currently completed rehab and are in need of support, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
If you are caught in the grips of addiction, please contact our Admissions Specialists today, and see how we can help.