Life After Treatment: 8 Tips for Successby Balboa Horizons | March 17, 2017
You made the choice and you did the work. You entered a treatment facility for your addiction and put in the work to heal. It wasn’t easy and you’re proud of yourself completing your program. Your official rehab treatment has ended, but managing a sober lifestyle is not a passive experience. Life after treatment requires a dedicated effort to maintain what you’ve worked so hard to build.
Old surroundings, familiar circumstances, more freedom and looming temptation can hurt your chances of sustainable recovery. As you prepare to enter back into “civilian life,” it’s best to hit the ground running. Here are a few things to plan ahead for so you can enjoy the sober life you deserve.
- Create an action plan (including determining potential relapse points)
Before you step foot out of the door, be honest with yourself about what can hurt your chances. Is it your old crowd? An old haunt? List out what can trip you up and identify what you will do to get yourself out of these situations
- Coordinate a living situation
Will you be staying with your family? Are they ready to receive you? What about sober living or halfway homes? Find a place that will give you the support you need and figure out how you’re going to pay for these living arrangements.
- Find sober friends
Who you spend your time with will absolutely affect your odds of staying sober. While you will be excited to see your old friends, they may not be the healthiest relationships. Work on building sober relationships filled with sober activities.
- Mend Family Relationships
It is likely that your familial relationships took the hardest hit during your addiction. Be patient in healing these relationships and understand they need time to heal as well.
- Find a support group and other mental health help
Community is vital for any person, especially in times of hardship. Just as you need sober friendships, look for other sober support environments. It is helpful to share the experience with people who know what you are going through. Make sure you seek out mental health help as well. Having one on one attention from a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professional will help more than you think.
- Get back to work
It’s best to get busy right away. If you were able to come to an agreement with your employer for your treatment, start giving your all on day one. If you’re getting back into the workforce, be confident and prepared for your interviews. Know that you don’t have to give full disclosure – you’re protected under ADA laws. (However, being honest can sometimes help.) It’s most important to steer the conversation towards your skills and experience and away from a very personal time. If the gaps in your resume are too big for an employer to feel comfortable taking the risk, jump into volunteer work or work with a staffing company, anything to get you back out there.
- Maintain appropriate stress levels
So much is happening all at once. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and turn to old habits for comfort. Prepare yourself for the stress you may feel and find appropriate actions to moderate them. Meditate, take a walk, take a moment of reflection, whatever you need. But also know that not enough stress can be bad too. We all need a little bit of stress to stay motivated. If you find yourself getting bored too often, remedy that as well.
- Get help when you need it
Don’t wait. If you find temptation creeping or life getting overwhelming, get the help you need immediately. Do you need a babysitter? Your mental health counselor? Make the call and act quickly.
Idle hands are the devil’s playthings so stay busy and involve yourself immediately. Most importantly, be honest and patient with yourself. This will be a long process. Be truthful about what will help you and nurture yourself along the way. Both addiction and treatment were only a fraction of your life, the rest is up to you.