You have made it through detoxification and rehabilitation treatment. You are sober and armed with strategies and resources to help you stay that way.
But when the big day comes and you are headed home, you may well experience some trepidation. It is one thing to stay sober in a recovery center (where drugs and alcohol are not available, after all), but quite another to stay sober in the wider world. Last time you were in the wider world, you were using drugs or drinking alcohol. You may be worried that you will relapse almost immediately—and all of the hard work of regaining your sobriety will turn out to be for nothing.
We want to be upfront here: Lots of people do, in fact, relapse in the early days of recovery—and we’ll have more to say about that later in this blog entry. But there are some steps you can take to lessen the likelihood of relapse. Let’s take a look at some key strategies that can serve you well as your recovery journey gets underway.
Keep the Reasons You Got Sober Firmly in Mind After Treatment Ends
No matter what led you to seek treatment for a substance use disorder, you can use the memory of that impulse to keep you motivated to stay sober now.
Maybe you sought treatment because your mental and physical health were deteriorating. Maybe you got help because you realized the key relationships in your life were falling apart as a result of your drug or alcohol use. Maybe you found yourself struggling to keep a job and to pay your bills. These are just a few potential reasons you might have had for getting help.
Whatever reason or reasons led to your decision; you can keep your eye on the prize of ongoing sobriety by reminding yourself how important that reason was to you in the first place. You have accomplished something hard for a compelling reason; let that compelling reason serve as a foundation for staying sober.
Do Not Isolate Yourself from the People Who Can Help
When you get out of treatment, you may find yourself feeling a bit embarrassed about your past behavior. That embarrassment might keep you from making some key connections that can support your sobriety. It is important that you don’t let that happen.
Instead of isolating yourself, make a commitment to attend 12-Step (or other recovery) meetings. Recovery meetings offer mutual support and understanding because everyone truly understands what each participant has gone through—and is going through now.
You will also want to prioritize building (or rebuilding) good relationships with supportive family members and friends. These are the people who will stand by you and help you maintain your sobriety. Knowing, for example, whom you can call when the cravings seem overwhelming is extremely important.
That said, you should also make a point to separate yourself from toxic individuals and those who were part of your scene when you were using drugs or drinking. It can be hard to step away from those relationships but doing so is one of the best things you can do to shore up your sobriety.
Keep Tabs on Your Triggers
Cravings are all but unavoidable in recovery, but it can be helpful to really pay attention to those impulses when they arise. What were you doing when the craving popped up? Who were you with and where were you? What were you thinking about at that moment?
Jotting these sorts of details down can help you uncover the potential causes of your cravings. And that can help you make better choices about activities, relationships, and more so that you can minimize the frequency of your cravings. Knowing your triggers can help you avoid them.
A Reminder About Relapses After Treatment
Relapses, as we have mentioned, are common. That might seem like a cause for despair, but it decidedly isn’t. If you experience a relapse, your best move is to return to treatment so that you can once again achieve sobriety. Then, during rehabilitation, you and your treatment team can examine what might have led to the relapse and develop approaches to prevent that problem in the future. A relapse is a setback, but it is not the end of your recovery journey.
Ready and Waiting at Wooded Glen Recovery Center
At our Indiana facility, we are entirely focused on helping those we treat regain and maintain their sobriety via personalized treatment and a commitment to evidence-based care. If you have been hesitant to get help for your substance use disorder, we urge you to take that all important first step and reach out to us. We are always here, and we are always ready to help.