Getting treatment for an addiction to alcohol or drugs is a massive step and one that most people do not take lightly. In fact, reaching out for help for addiction is often considered to be one of the hardest parts of the recovery journey. Nevertheless, there are many who find that life after treatment can be equally tough. If you want to learn more about how to cope with life after addiction treatment, the following paragraphs are for you.
If you have had treatment for your addiction in a residential facility, you may be worried about how you are going to cope upon your return to everyday life. Leaving the comfort and security of a facility where you had around-the-clock care and support can be a challenge and you might be afraid that you will struggle to cope.
Nonetheless, the issue of how to cope with life after addiction treatment is one that most rehab providers take very seriously. You will have probably had plenty of help and support in terms of learning life and work skills as well as developing strategies that will help you to avoid a relapse.
You should also know that most rehab providers will be keen for you to stay in touch and will offer up to a year of aftercare support to help with the transition from rehab to real life. You may have the opportunity to attend regular counselling sessions or have phone contact with your counsellor or therapist. There might also be meetings or other events that you will be invited to along with other recovering addicts.
Getting Involved with a Local Support Group
If you are worried about how to cope with life after addiction treatment, you should consider getting involved with a local support group. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous can provide vital support in the early days of recovery when you may be more susceptible to the risk of relapse.
These groups hold regular meetings where members can meet to discuss the issues affecting them. Stories and experiences are shared to help motivate each member to maintain sobriety and enjoy rich and fulfilling lives.
The wonderful thing about fellowship support groups is the fact that members will be at different stages of their recovery journeys. Those in the early stages can benefit from seeing what is possible while those further along in their own journeys can benefit from seeing how far they have come.
Those who have been sober for longer often work hard to help newer members to get better, knowing first-hand what it is like to be new to a substance-free life. Joining a fellowship support group will open up a whole new world for you and will give you the opportunity to make new friends who you can relate to in terms of your own personal situation. Many recovering addicts find that these groups are instrumental when it comes to staying sober in the real world.
Coping with the Threat of Relapse
The fear of relapse is a very real issue for every single recovering addict. As it is impossible to cure addiction fully, there is a risk that the symptoms associated with it could return. This threat tends to be higher in the early days of recovery, but some people can suffer a relapse after being clean and sober for many years. Knowing how to recognise the signs of an impending relapse will help so having strategies in place that could help you to prevent it can be the difference between staying sober and falling back into a crippling addiction.
It is important that you are aware that a relapse begins long before you start drinking or taking drugs again. It starts when you first begin having thoughts that it might be okay to do so. If you are aware that a return to alcohol or drugs can destroy everything that you have worked so hard to achieve, but you are still questioning whether it might be okay to have alcohol or drugs, it is important that you seek help as soon as possible.
How to Avoid a Relapse
Avoiding temptation is perhaps your biggest tool when it comes to preventing a relapse. You need to stay sober and stay away from temptations and triggers where possible. While some temptations are going to be obvious, such as avoiding a pub if you are a recovering alcoholic, others may not be as clear-cut. For example, recovering alcoholics need to avoid certain foods that contain alcohol – think some trifles, cakes, puddings, stews, etc.
A recovering cocaine addict will know to avoid spending time with other addicts and to stay away from areas where he or she used to take the drug but seeing a spilt substance such as sugar or salt on a table could send a signal to the brain.
Other signals could include seeing adverts on the television for alcohol or watching someone take drugs in a movie or TV show. Or you may hear a song that instantly takes you back to a time when you regularly drank alcohol or took drugs.
While not all cues and triggers are straightforward, knowing how to handle them can help to keep you clean and sober.
How to Deal with Cravings
Even when you do everything in your power to avoid temptations and triggers, there may be times when cravings occur for no apparent reason. Knowing how to deal with them is vital in terms of maintaining your sobriety.
Some people will experience cravings periodically, while others may struggle with them on an ongoing basis for many months after treatment. It is impossible to tell how long these cravings will continue for but know that they can put your sobriety in jeopardy if you let them. Taking your recovery day by day will help you to manage these symptoms and knowing that they will eventually pass can help to make it easier to deal with them.
Cravings can feel so strong that they could threaten to destroy all your hard work, so it is important that you have a plan of action in place for dealing with them. As time goes by the cravings will occur less frequently and will not be as strong, but in the early days, you really need to know what to do when they do occur.
The first thing to do should you experience strong cravings is to talk to someone. It might be your sponsor, your counsellor, or a close family member or friend. If you cannot get in touch with anyone, head to your nearest fellowship support group or join an online one.
You might also want to distract yourself by doing something else. Watch a movie or go for a walk; doing something like this can take your mind off the cravings and it should hopefully pass without any problems.
You may have learned ways of dealing with cravings in your recovery programme. Mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools when it comes to avoiding a relapse. You might also want to remind yourself of the reasons you quit alcohol or drugs in the first place. Focusing your mind on why you wanted to get sober can help to keep you on the straight and narrow.
Calling for Help
If the issue of how to cope with life after addiction treatment is one that you have been worrying about, please call Oasis Recovery today. If you are worried that you might be at risk of a relapse, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. Talking to someone who can understand what you are going through and who can offer helpful advice will decrease your chances of a slip-up.