How To Stay On the Road to Recovery and Prevent a Relapse
Going through rehab is a tremendous challenge, but if you’re in a residential treatment program, you’ll have round-the-clock support. Once you’re out and back into the real world, staying sober can be difficult. Being back in your old life can trigger cravings and temptations. So, how can you stay strong and fight against slipping back into old, destructive habits?
- Know the facts: According to research, most recovering addicts relapse in the first six months after treatment.
- Know your triggers: If you know what is going to drive you to drink or take drugs, figure out how to avoid those situations.
- Know who can help you: Stick to your discharge plan. Make appointments with a therapist or other mental health professional—and keep them. Whether you work with a behavioral therapist to understand your underlying issues or just check in with a counselor to share your progress or your struggles with staying on course, it’s important to stay in touch with someone who truly understands what you are going through, both mentally and emotionally.
- Know where to find regular support: Twelve-step meetings, whether Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or any other program based on the same principles, are popular and can be attended almost any time of day or day of the week. If you don’t feel that kind of program is right for you, find an alternative. Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) programs are also popular. It’s important to find a support group of some kind, and your doctor can help you locate these resources.
Becoming active is another idea that will help prevent you from becoming bored, lonely or feeling helpless. Whether it’s exercise or picking up a hobby that interests you–it’s important to find a substitute for the hours you used to spend in drug-related activity. Try to remember things you used to enjoy doing before your addiction took over, like going to the movies or playing a sport or running. Or try new things by taking a class, volunteering, or learning to dance or play an instrument.
Finally, creating a routine that provides structure can help you avoid becoming bored or restless. If you know what you need to do next, you can focus on that next activity and not fall into old habits. Going to bed at a regular time, scheduling time to attend support groups, and making time for new hobbies or activities makes you accountable.
Recovering from a drug addiction may be one of the hardest things you will ever do. The idea of making a lifelong commitment can be daunting. But knowing what you’re up against and making a plan to help you overcome obstacles, along with finding and accepting support, can make a huge difference.
If you feel you don’t know where to turn after rehab, please call the Painkillers Kill HOPE line at (855) 969-HOPE. We are here to help 24/7.