Transitioning Advice: Reclaiming Your Life after Drug Rehab
by Sara Stringer
One might assume that after completing a drug rehab treatment program, that the problem of addiction is no longer a concern. However, what must be understood is that the road to recovery is often a lifelong process. Learning to stay sober after treatment while transitioning back into the “real world” takes determination, patience, support, and a great deal of time. It requires you to take what you’ve learned during your stay in the rehab facility and apply it to your every day life. While it can take time to feel some sense of normalcy again, it can be accomplished.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
It can be rather tempting to want to jump right back into the swing of things after leaving the rehab facility, however, this is not always the best course of action. For a long period of time, you were in an environment that kept you away from the very temptations and triggers tha may have caused you to begin using in the first place. As such, jumping right back in the mix could cause you to relapse. Therefore, take your time transitioning. You need to essentially set goals and determine the best way to achieve them.
It’s a good idea to evaluate the personal and professional relationships you had prior to entering rehab. Which relationships were supportive and loving? Which relationships were part of the problem? According to this guide provided by the Recovery Village, long term recovery success is best accomplished with the support of others. As such, you’ll need to weed out the bad from the good to determine who is really in your corner.
Damaging relationships that may have enabled your addiction are not in your best interest and should be avoided. Once you’ve determined who is there for you, you should reach out to them to gain their support in your recovery.
Create a Daily Routine
The rehab facility provided a structured routine which accounted for a large portion of your day. From scheduled meals to group meetings and activities, you had something to occupy your time, thus lessening the urge to use drugs again. The same cannot be said for life at home. There is no real structure, no one to watch over you, and no rules.
Creating a daily routine that involves productive activities can help to keep your mind occupied and the cravings at bay. When creating a routine, it is equally as important to find balance. Overwhelming yourself with too many responsibilities could result in stress which could lead to relasp. A daily routine might consist of things like:
- Exercising – According to the Huffington Postand nearly the entire medical community, exercise can be a great way to help with recovery. When you were using drugs, the brain received high levels of endorphins which gave it the feeling of being “high”. Now that you’re no longer using, your brain is still craving those endorphins. Exercise, however, releases endorphins into the brain therefore helping to curb the cravings. You don’t have to do extensive exercises. Completing cardio exercises such as aerobics can work well in relieving stress and reducing the cravings. It is also a great way to boost your self confidence which gives you the willpower to succeed.
- Faith-Based Activities – While in rehab, the 12 step programs offer the premise that there is a higher power. Whatever you’ve determined that higher power to be, it is often a key resource for further developing your spirituality. It provides you with a foundation of sorts. As such, getting involved in faith based activites once you’re out of rehab can be just as useful. These activites can be carried out with a group of supporters such as joining a local church or it can be done on your own such as through meditation, reading spiritual literature, and/or watching spiritual publications on television.
- Work and Household Responsibilities – Staying occupied and being productive are all important to your recovery process. The more productive you are, the better it is for rebuilding your self esteem and reclaiming your life. If you still have a job, try to get back into a normal routine. If you don’t have one, begin putting out applications and scheduling interviews to find one. Tending to household responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning can also do wonders for that idle time on your hands.
- Have Some Fun – all work and no play is never a good idea when you’re transitioning back into the real world. Redefine your methods for having fun. Pick up a hobby that brings you pleasure. Some great ideas might include taking up cooking lessons, participating in community sports teams, or even finding sober friendly social events to attend.
Schedule Some Down Time
Down time is necessary to your transition as well. When you’re bogged down with too much to do, it can start to overwhelm you causing you to revert to old comforts. Time for reflection should be allowed every now and again. Take a look at where you’ve been verses where you are now, and just be greatful in the moment. Treat yourself to something nice, pamper yourself, or even kick back and watch some television.
Follow Up Care
Lastly, if you’re going to reclaim your life, it does require you to follow up with medical professionals. This may include setting up appointments with your therapist, joining a support group in the area, and receiving regular assessments to evaluate your mental health and progress during recovery.
Reclaiming your life is not something that will happen overnight. However, by taking it slow and keeping yourself occupied and productive, you are sure to have a much easier time. Gathering the support of others, avoiding triggers, and following up with aftercare are also very important to your overall success.
About the Author
Sara Stringer is freelance writer who enjoys writing about natural health alternatives. In her spare time, she enjoys maintaining an active lifestyle through swimming and practicing yoga.