Once the thrill of your initial recovery fades and the challenges of day-to-day life re-emerge, maintaining the commitment to sobriety can be difficult. Remaining focused on the long-term benefits while flexing your coping skills on short-term obstacles can help protect your recovery.
If you are just coming out of rehab, you are likely experiencing a rush of emotions and thoughts as you re-enter your daily life. You may feel elation that you have successfully begun your recovery, worry about how to maintain it, excitement about starting life without addiction, and confusion about navigating a new lifestyle, all at the same time. You are truly emerging into a life that now revolves around different things, which is both positive and challenging as you continue to settle in.
The good news is that there are many who have tread this path before, and have provided a wealth of information and advice as to how to best move forward in your recovery journey. As the old proverb goes, “If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.” Here are a few key tips to keep your momentum going strong.
Tip 1: Be realistic about the ups and downs to come
Your decision to confront your addiction and its root causes – and embrace a different way of life – will have many benefits to your relationships, your work, and your physical and mental health. Unfortunately, it doesn’t preclude life from throwing you the usual curveballs, and you may be knocked off balance by an unexpected loss or conflict. In addition to maintaining your sobriety, you may also be managing other co-occurring disorders, which can also raise some significant challenges. There will likely be times when you feel like you are really struggling, and life seems far from great.
Expecting hardship is an important part of dealing with it. Accepting that sobriety is not going to solve all your problems, but ultimately puts you in a much better position to manage them in a healthy way, can help you approach these challenges with stability and strength. Rehab has given you the coping tools and personal understanding you need to face life’s difficulties and overcome them without relying on substances. Remember – life may bring some of the same old struggles to your door, but you and the way you handle them are different.
Tip 2: Make a plan
Having a clear plan about how you’d like to live and where you’ll go for support after you get out of rehab can be very useful once you return home. The first weeks out of rehab can feel quite strange, even in familiar surroundings. It is normal to feel off-kilter in the beginning as your mind begins the process of reconciling your new habits and lifestyle with an old setting. This is why it is helpful to have a plan laid out in advance so that you know what concrete steps you need to take to get support and protect your recovery.
Your plan could include a list of things you need to do to keep your mental health and coping skills strong – meditating, checking in with your therapist, eating healthy foods, exercising and keeping a consistent sleep schedule. It may also have a list of friends, family or professionals to call when you need some extra support, or just someone to vent to. You might also write down how to manage any cravings or triggers you experience following rehab. The key is simply to give you something tangible to draw from when daily life seems overwhelming.
Tip 3: Be with people who support you
Recovery has likely made you realise that not everyone that you were close with in the past had your best interests in mind. Life after recovery may feel lonely at first as you move away from people who trigger unhealthy feelings or behaviours, but it certainly doesn’t have to stay that way. In fact, actively seeking out new connections with like-minded people is one of your best defences against relapse, and a great way to fortify your recovery.
A good place to start is by finding a support group. This gives you the targeted maintenance you will need to keep your recovery active and strong, and surrounds you with people who have been there and get what you are going through. Getting involved in new activities or hobbies like joining a gym, taking a class, or participating in a book club can also help you connect with people who share similar interests and passions that may now be resurfacing in your recovery.
Tip 4: Know the signs of relapse
It’s an unfortunate reality that relapses are a common aspect of many recoveries, highlighting the challenge of making the transition from addiction to sobriety. Therefore it is very important to be aware of the signs of an impending relapse. You can start by identifying what your triggers are. What makes you worried? Sad? Afraid? Stressed? Happy? Are there certain places, people, or times of the year that feel particularly challenging? Rehab will likely have given you a sense of what some of your key triggers are and how to cope with them, and now it is time to put this knowledge into practice.
It is hard to do this alone, so backup in the form of trusted friends or family is key. While they are not responsible for maintaining your recovery, they can assist you in assessing how you’re doing. Talk to your loved ones and give them permission to reach out to you openly if they are worried that you’re having a tough time. These informal check-ins can help you monitor your wellbeing and determine if you may need to employ some healthy coping techniques to get through a stressful time, or if you need to reach out for additional professional support.
Tip 5: Make use of professional, specialised support
If the transition from rehab to home is simply too jarring, there are other programmes that can offer a more gradual return to your daily life. Transitional housing, evening programmes, outpatient therapy or online counseling can help ensure that your rehabilitation and recovery continues to play a major role in your daily life. Such ongoing professional support gives you an extra safety net as you get back out into the world free from addiction.
Building a Lasting Recovery at The Dawn
At The Dawn Wellness Centre and Rehab in Thailand, our team has years of experience helping our clients successfully navigate the transition from rehab to home. Whilst in treatment, our clients work closely with their focal therapist to create a personalised relapse prevention plan based on their specific needs. Upon completing treatment, The Dawn offers a formal and structured aftercare programme in the form of weekly online group counselling sessions to provide continued, informed support that is vital to a sustainable recovery.
The Dawn’s Unique Step-down Programme
Once our clients have completed three months in primary treatment, they are eligible to enter our Step-down Programme to help them gradually transition back into daily life. They will continue to live at The Dawn, but engage in educational or charitable offsite activities of their choice on a daily basis – whilst still attending group therapy and having the support of counsellors and peers onsite.
Recovery can be a challenging journey, but it is absolutely one worth taking. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you make a lasting commitment to your sobriety.