Recovery and Post-Treatment Life
Recovery is the last stage in battling drug and alcohol addiction. However, it is a stage that has no definitive end. Once a person leaves primary treatment they will be a recovering addict for the rest of their life. This is because a return to drugs and alcohol can occur a day, a year, or ten years after primary treatment is over. Relapse is always a possibility when dealing with a chemical dependence.
Immediately following treatment, recovering substance abusers begin a journey involving regular therapy, 12 Step meetings, and transitional living. These post treatment tools help recovering addicts create a sober life.
Prior to leaving primary treatment, plans are made for recovery. Often times this involves sober living. The absence of former social circles that may have been connected to prior drug use is necessary.
Relationships carry a lot of emotional baggage in life and sobriety is dependent on as much serenity as possible. Cutting out past relationships is crucial for recovery during its most precarious stage. Eventually, after time, recovering addicts may be able to have relationships with people that they want to. They will be better equipped to handle any obstacle. But in the immediate future, it is important to embrace changes. Sobriety needs to be kept at the forefront of all choices in life after treatment.
The Dangers of Relapse
Relapse can happen at any time. Therapy, meetings, and new living environments may stall potential dangers, but unforeseen encounters may occur. There are so many dangers of relapse and each person is susceptible to different things. This is due to complex histories and experiences.
During recovery it is important to take participate actively in group meetings and therapy. Uncover repressed emotions that you have actively avoided through drugs and alcohol. Through the work of discovering deeper parts of yourself, you may be able to combat the dangers of relapse.
9 Triggers to Avoid
Cutting out harmful relationships in your life will help with recovery. Relationships constantly filled with trauma, chaos, anger, and hurt all need to be examined. Dysfunction and pain lurk at the base of every damaging relationship and during addiction recovery it is important to examine those aspects. Determining what people can remain in your life is a crucial step. Toxic people are triggers to avoid.
Locations may be triggers to avoid. A former home where there may have been abuse, a school where you may have started using, or an apartment where your addiction grew, can all be triggers.
Transitional living provides a fresh start away from harmful locations where there may have been temptations. After sober living, a change of location is often encouraged. If it is a realistic option, therapists, sponsors, and group members will support the decision. A return to old environments, even after sober living, may still be a bad idea. It may simply be the healthiest choice to start over.
Avoiding stress is easier said than done. Stress can pop up when it is least expected. In sober living, you can cut down stress levels by engaging as much as possible in therapy, with roommates, or with twelve-step group members.
Prior to treatment, addicts would use drugs or alcohol to combat stress. But people in recovery will learn to express their stress through healthy alternatives like talking with a therapist or another trusted individual. Repression is never the answer, it only makes a problem to grow.
Addicts choose the quick fix over lasting healing, which is how addiction grows. Avoidance of discomfort, stress, or pain results in unmanageable despair, which can only be diluted by more drug or alcohol abuse. That is the vicious circle addicts find themselves in prior to treatment. Avoiding participation may be a trigger for relapse. The opposite of avoidance is honesty, communication, and a willingness to be vulnerable and present. Recovering substance abusers learn these skills in post-treatment life.
Social media is a trigger to avoid during recovery. Facebook reminders showing old friends who may have been part of your drug addicted life may be a temptation to return to that life. At the other end, seeing old acquaintances happy and living a different life may be defeating, due to your current struggles. Social media distracts from the present, which is harmful in recovery.
Television can be a trigger because it creates opportunities for escape. Triggers lurk in moments of idleness and solitude. It is important to be mindful and present during recovery and remove any distractions, like television.
Negative thinking is a trigger to avoid during recovery. People are sober for the first time and may be too hard on themselves when they think of everything that has happened. It is important not to linger on negativity, but instead, focus on your present sobriety and future possibilities.
Lack of Sleep
Racing thoughts and an inability to calm down may contribute to irregular sleep patterns. However, it is important to aim for sufficient sleep. Eradicating caffeine, sugar, and television before bed can help. When people are tired, they cannot think clearly or focus on the present.
Hope strengthens, but fear weakens. Recovery is not always a smooth road. There are many challenges along the way, but those obstacles will not hurt you the way drug and alcohol abuse can. Fear is a trigger to avoid during recovery. Combat this powerful feeling by talking openly and honestly with fellow peers, therapists, and addiction experts. Writing every day can help pinpoint reasons for fear, while promoting healing.
A Different Life
Life after recovery is a different life. The obvious change is that life is now entirely free from drugs and alcohol. The goal is to stay that way.
Practice self-care every day. This involves seeking the help of a trusted therapist, pinpointing triggers, and eradicating those triggers from your life. Removing yourself from harmful sources is the best act of self-care and can be a major source of healing. Finally, it is important to welcome the changes in your new life. Your health and well being depends on it.