Graduation day from a drug rehab program launches a new stage of recovery. Life as a recovering addict can still feel like a head scratcher despite the fact that drug rehab equipped you with better communication skills, addiction education, relapse prevention techniques and an effective aftercare plan. Staggering relapse statistics paired with caveats from addiction experts that the first twelve months of recovery are the most challenging and often leave you wondering what to do after rehab.
The good news is that sustainable recovery is possible. According to survey data released by the Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) there are over 23.5 million Americans in recovery from substance addiction. Although taking the first fledgling steps into life after rehab can be scary, there are many people that beat the odds and maintain their sobriety for the duration of their lives. The following suggestion may help to reduce some of the fears and concerns about…
What to do After Rehab
- -Utilize your support systems. Especially in the first few months after rehab, it is important to spend time building and strengthening support systems. A sober coach, group meetings and enlisting support from family and friends can lay a strong foundation that can be beneficial even after long term abstinence. Studies show those who relinquish their support systems too soon or try to maintain sobriety without any help from others are more likely to experience a relapse.
- -Be vigilant about avoiding known substance abuse triggers. Complacency about avoiding people and environments that favor drug use can lead to invitations and temptations to relapse.
- -Never test your resolve to stay clean. After rehab, some individuals try to test their ability to stay clean. Scientist at the National Institute on Drug Abuse remind us that changes to the brain caused by addiction can be long-lasting. As such, deliberately putting yourself in a position to evoke strong memory triggers before impaired neurological functions have adequately reengaged can potentially lead to a dangerous relapse event.
- -Focus on mental health. Develop emotional resilience and inner strength by participating in programs that enhance personal growth and development.
- -Build new sober friendships. Frequently hanging out with people that engage in substance abuse can be detrimental to your sobriety goals. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology report that peer pressure is a powerful motivator for drug use. People who spend time engaging in sober activities and entertainment are less likely to resume drug use.
- -Incorporate exercise into your daily schedule. A Mayo Clinic report indicate that exercise lowers depression and anxiety levels which are strong triggers for substance abuse. Studies also show exercise help to diminish stress related cravings and drug seeking patterns of behavior.
- -Share your recovery story. Journal Addiction research outcome suggests that helping others achieve sobriety reduced the risks of a relapse. Helping others still struggling with dependence on drugs also remind people in recovery of the horrific and controlling nature of addiction and becomes a motivating tool for staying clean and sober.
- -Seek help at the onset of a relapse. People who recognize that they are being pulled back into a substance abuse lifestyle can prevent a full blown relapse by being proactive and seeking help early. Many people return to rehab for a short period in order to stabilize and halt the progression of a looming relapse.
Immediately establishing healthy habits into everyday life is one way to protect your sobriety and return to a sense of normalcy.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.