So you finished rehab. While it may appear to others that things are a lot simpler, the truth is that life after rehab can be the most difficult stretch of road. Without the support you had in treatment, things can be terrifying. After all, recovery from addiction does not end after rehab. For many, it is a lifelong struggle.
There are, however, a number of things you can do to stay off drugs after rehab. Relapse does not have to be as common as it is.
Whether you seek the help of a sponsor, a sturdy friend or a family member, it is important to get help during your recovery after rehab. Do not attempt to battle cravings and emotions alone. You need to find someone who will listen and understand what you are going through and give you a strong push back to the middle of the road to sobriety.
Be wary of those who seem to be your “friends” but are a bad influence or are unsupportive of your recovery. Such people can be a major reason for relapse.
Take Care of Yourself
A crucial part of recovery is that which is often easily forgotten–taking care of your own basic needs. Going without meals and skimping on sleep may seem like a minor issue, but a person who is hungry and tired is more apt to feel lonely, ragged and depressed. These are all common reasons for drug abuse. Be sure to get plenty of rest, eat a balanced diet, and get exercise. Take frequent walks and find ways to relax.
Do What Makes You Happy
An important part of taking care of yourself is pursuing goals and interests that bring joy to your life. Find a strong purpose for your life, beyond just your regular nine-to-five. Join a charity, volunteer at a community group, or share your story with others. Find something that inspires you, that lights a fire in your soul.
In addition to formulating a strong purpose for your life, be sure to find activities that you can pursue with a strong sense of fun. Addicts frequently testify that much of their lives were taken over by drugs and they lost the peace that came from simple pleasures. Now is the time to recall the activities that made you happy and pursue them vigorously. Try dancing, art, music, sports, sculpting, writing, or other creative outlets. Remember the things that brought you joy as a child.
Embrace Your Relationships
Your addiction may have caused a rift in your relationships with friends and family, but now is the time to work on repairing and fortifying them. An important part of recovery is opening your heart to your loved ones and re-building relationships. Talk to your parents or spouse about your thoughts and your struggle, and recall happy moments together. Allow them to be part of your support group and help you get through this.
Have a Plan
When you leave rehab, it is important to have a relapse prevention plan so that all your hard work pays off. This may include all of the above or may have been a program taught to you by your treatment center. Be sure to follow this plan closely, and make it the focus of your sober days. Do not be afraid to stay in touch with the staff who helped in your recovery. Not only do they understand what you are going through, they will help you realize that you are stronger than you ever realized.