Upon leaving a drug or alcohol rehab treatment center, anyone in the addiction recovery process should keep in mind that this is in fact the start of recovery and not an end in itself. Because detox and rehab seems like a complete event, there is the danger that one can feel as if the recovery is finished. While it’s important to start getting on with your life, it’s also important to know that the process of drug addiction recovery is ongoing. Inside the rehab center most likely you’ve been through group therapy and one-on-one counseling, as well as a number of different experiences designed for growth and to educate. In the first year outside of rehab, it’s crucial to keep in mind a few steps about this process.
First, keep up with the counseling. For yourself and for your family, one of the best things you can do is to continue counseling outside the addiction center. Therapy and counseling can help you build a plan and support system that will help prevent a relapse.
Once you’re out of the substance abuse treatment center, thoughts about alcohol and drugs can haunt you; while it may be emotionally hard to do, you’ll need to keep in mind that recovery takes time, and there’s nothing you can do but work your way through that time. Try, too, not to think of recovery in terms of months or years; as so often recommended, you need to take each day as it comes. Addiction recovery only occurs one day at a time; sometimes, this might also mean working through the process one hour or minute at a time.
One of the best ways to help yourself is to keep yourself busy. Find a hobby, and/or meet with friends who are a positive influence; the main point here is to attempt to develop new behaviors. Addiction counselors will sometimes focus on this point — keep yourself occupied, especially during the time of day during which you formally engaged in the addiction.
Sometimes recovering addicts won’t tell their families what’s been happening; however, for many people, family will be the first line of emotional support. Telling them can aid in the overall addiction recovery process.
Finally, don’t give up on yourself. An addict in recovery is someone in a life and death struggle; you can’t afford to give up. There will always be drugs and alcohol available, so it’s important to learn how to handle frustration and temptation. For an addict, moderation is an attractive idea, but doesn’t work. The idea of having only one drink, if thoughts turn to action, can lead lead to a relapse. Try to recognize and avoid that type of thinking when it appears. While a relapse can occur — many people have them — that relapse shouldn’t be used as a reason to give up or not to continue trying — addiction and recovery is an ongoing process.
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