Finally deciding you need help and calling a rehab facility is a huge step for anyone struggling with addiction or alcoholism. We understand that going to addiction treatment was never exactly on your list of things you wanted to do in life. The entire experience can be difficult, uncomfortable, and well, frightening. Going through withdrawal symptoms, talking to counselors about your feelings, being away from your family. It is not an easy process. All the same, it is only the beginning.
Addiction isn’t a disease that can be cured. It is a disorder that can only be managed over time and requires willingness to work hard and dedicate oneself to the process of recovery. You cannot walk into a facility and expect to be fixed in 28 days, 3 months, or even a year. It is a life-long ongoing process of hard work and commitment.
Once you leave addiction treatment, it takes more than just not drinking or drugging. Those of us classified as drunks or drug addicts, cannot simply stay sober on sheer willpower. Avoiding people, places and things is simply not enough. Through our experience, we have learned that action is required if we want to stay on the path of recovery and sobriety.
So what goes into a successful recovery? Here are some things to keep in mind after leaving addiction treatment.
Follow Through with Aftercare Recommendations
Before you discharge from rehab, your counselor and other clinical staff will determine a continued care plan that suits your needs. Whether it is to attend outpatient drug and alcohol appointments, see a private therapist or enter a halfway house, follow through with those recommendations. These plans are intended to give you the best possible chance at staying sober and laying the necessary foundation for continued sobriety. Think of it this way: What happens when you first learn to ride a bike? You begin with training wheels and as time goes on, you find yourself more comfortable with the process and you soon learn to ride without them. The same goes for early recovery. We cannot do it alone. We first have to ride with training wheels, whether it be counseling or a halfway house, so we can eventually ride on two wheels.
Get to a Meeting
You’ll hear it over and over again in addiction treatment. Meetings, meetings, meetings. Going to an AA or NA meeting is crucial, especially the first day out of addiction treatment, but it is only half of the battle. Getting there early and staying late is especially important, so you can meet new people. Make sure to raise your hand, introduce yourself and ask for help. Remember, the people in the rooms of AA and NA are not mind-readers. Unless you tell people who you are and where you’re at, they will not know that you need help. And please do not feel frightened by this, the newcomer is the most important person in the room! The group’s survival depends on your attendance.
Be in the Center of the Fellowship
Being in AA and being around AA are two different things. In order to have successful recovery, you must get involved! It does not happen by osmosis. Join a Home Group, take on a commitment, make the coffee. Build a support group of people with solid sobriety and make sure to utilize them!
Get a Sponsor & Work the Steps
Although you worked hard in addiction treatment with your counselor and in your groups, the true work begins when you start working with a sponsor and going through the 12 steps. Getting connected with a Higher Power, taking a personal inventory, making amends and helping others. That is the heart of the program! It may sound cliché, but it works. It is the one thing that we, as recovering individuals, have found to help restore us from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.
Create New Hobbies & Build New Relationships
We do not get sober to be miserable. Recovery has so much to offer and with that comes new people and experiences. We drank and drugged for so long, that we forgot who we were and what we liked to do for fun. So after you leave addiction treatment, take up a new hobby and begin spending time with new people. AA & NA also have tons of activities that go on year round. From camping trips, to retreats, to dances and picnics. There is always something fun to do!
Contact Clearbrook For Addiction Treatment
Going to addiction treatment and early sobriety can be difficult for anyone. Know that you are not alone in the process. Here at Clearbrook, we believe in continuing strong relationships with our alumni, offering weekly alumni support groups, AA meetings and annual alumni picnics.