For those in the recovery process, sobriety is of the utmost importance. After all, a desire to quit using and stay clean is often the motivator behind enrollment in a rehabilitation program.
However, remaining sober is often easier said than done. In fact, relapse rates for drug and alcohol abusers hover around 40% to 60%, similar to those of other chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. Without constant vigilance and focus, falling back into old habits can happen quickly, erasing months or even years of work in one fell swoop.
Avoiding relapse is a mission that often takes just as much commitment as maintaining a healthy weight and other important lifestyle decisions, and a half-hearted effort is not enough. If you want to do your best to avoid relapse and stay safe and sober, these tips can help you adhere to a life of abstinence.
Start a New Hobby
When you’re living as an addicted individual, it’s common to have drugs or alcohol involved in all areas of life. The places you go, people you know, and activities you enjoy often center around drug use, leaving you with no one to talk to and nowhere to go upon committing to sober living. Many recovering addicts find this shift extremely distressing, leading to a high chance of relapse within the days and weeks following successful rehab.
Instead of allowing the temptation to return to old ways overpower your resolve, find new ways to stay busy, happy, and healthy. While it’s normal to mourn the loss of your old life, exploring new hobbies and activities can help you refocus energies on a healthier outlet. It may take some time to find opportunities that rival the rush of your former lifestyle, but with a little time and self-discovery, you’ll soon feel less tempted to return to old habits.
Make New Friends
While your family members and older friends may not be absorbed in drug use, it’s highly likely that the people you were closest to prior to rehabilitation were heavily involved in your substance of choice. As addiction sets in, many abusers distance themselves from former loved ones, choosing instead to spend time with dealers and other users.
As much as the substance abusers in your life promise they won’t use around you, pressure you to use, or even discuss using in your presence, it’s unlikely these accommodations can be maintained for long. In order to stay strong and eliminate the possibility of letting addicted acquaintances drag you back into the depths of addiction, a new group of friends is the best path forward. Many recovering addicts find success in seeking friendships in sober-centered activities, like 12-step programs, aftercare activities, religious groups, recreational sports leagues, and more.
Learn to Live in the Moment
Dwelling on the past can be an extremely powerful lure for many addicts, especially those who still mourn aspects of their old lives. Even those truly committed to staying sober can find these urges to be increasingly hard to ignore, allowing thoughts and feelings from prior days to contaminate current progress.
In order to minimize the risk of relapse, recovering substance abusers should work to focus on life in the present, eschewing the problems of days past. Learning this kind of mindfulness may take time – it isn’t easy to change default thinking patterns – but those who work with their therapists in individual and group counseling to refine these practices can learn to put active, open, intentional attention on the events of today: not yesterday or tomorrow.
Make Positive Changes
After completing a rehabilitation program, it’s not uncommon for participants to feel lost, confused, and alone. With new friend circles, new hobbies, and even new jobs to adjust to, many recovering addicts feel as if they aren’t themselves anymore. So many changes in such a short period of time can lead to a loss of identity, anxiety, or depression, increasing the likelihood of relapse.
Life doesn’t have to be stale and stagnant after rehab, however. In order to keep your life on an upward trajectory, it’s extremely important to focus on making changes that will further your happiness. For example, instead of staying in a job you dislike, take steps to seek a promotion or switch careers. If you’re unhappy or feel pressured in your relationships, consider moving on and seeking a better fit for your new lifestyle. A continued emphasis on setting and achieving goals can help you find fulfillment, reducing the temptation to use.
Practice Healthy Habits
Sobriety is a wonderful first step on the journey to bettering your life, but it’s only one of many. The better you feel, the less likely you are to feel a temptation to use, so making time for health should find a spot on your priority list.
A healthy lifestyle has strong correlations to success in recovery, so simply quitting drugs or alcohol isn’t enough. Instead, a healthy diet high in fruits, vegetables, and protein, as well as regular exercise, can show significant benefits to your ability to avoid cravings. This doesn’t mean giving up favorite snack foods or turning into a gym rat; it simply means that the decisions you make in life should take your overall health into account. While changing a long-standing diet or starting an exercise routine from scratch may not be easy, a few weeks of concerted effort is all it takes to transform healthy choices into a comfortable habit.
Stay Involved in Aftercare
Many recovering addicts believe that rehabilitation is the first and last step toward sobriety, but this is far from the truth. While completing a rehabilitation program sets a solid foundation for a commitment to sobriety, it’s certainly not the only measure required to address drug or alcohol abuse.
After completion of your rehabilitation program, aftercare must become a consistent part of your life on an ongoing basis. With options including follow-up care like 12-Step meetings, group therapy, and individual therapy that continues in an outpatient setting, this kind of additional assistance from professionals can ensure you stay on the right track in the time following initial care. Attending meetings and speaking to addiction therapists can be immensely helpful when the urge to use becomes too much to bear.
Outpatient Services offers extensive opportunities for those who have successfully completed a residential detox and treatment program, helping recently sober individuals to stay involved in the recovery community. With customizable services and a full suite of available tools, we can help you stay focused on your goals and avoid the cravings that may arise in your daily life. From Baby Boomer-specific options to faith-based programs, our dedicated team can ensure you get the support you deserve throughout recovery.
Get Help Today!
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, help is here. Outpatient Services is happy to offer the assistance you need, working to bridge the gap between inpatient treatment and life in the real world. With a full range of recovery resources to help you stay sober, no one can provide stability and support like we can.
Contact us today at (844) 211-7944 to learn more about what our facility has to offer. All consultations are confidential.