Cleaning up your life and body after addiction is like cleaning up a house that has been neglected for a long time.
You should be proud of your efforts towards having a clean life after addiction. It’s not easy by any means. It takes courage and strength.
You must remember, though, that detox and rehab are only the initial steps for taking back your life. Much the way same a house needs maintenance after a thorough cleanup, your life and body need maintenance after addiction as well. Otherwise your life – just like the house – will inevitably end up messy again.
That’s why, after rehab, you may be pretty anxious about the thought of reentering society. After all, you’ve started to realize you can’t just pick up where you left off. Your work to retake your life has actually just begun.
So, how can you put together a maintenance plan in order to avoid relapses and keep your life clean and safe after addiction?
Maintaining Your Life Safe and Clean Life After Addiction
Develop a support network. It’s far too tough to walk the road to recovery alone. So, reach out and surround yourself with supportive and caring people that can help you along the journey and catch you when you stumble or fall. This could be family, friends, sponsors, healthcare professionals, people that have overcome addiction, or support groups of those who are also in recovery.
Find and stay in an aftercare program. Aside from keeping you grounded, good aftercare therapy can help you learn to live a new life and form new patterns, habits, and friendships. It should also include job training, stress and anger management classes, and activities and outings. Aftercare is a realistic step to take that has been proven to lead to greater success rates of recovery. But you have to stick with the program and not get overconfident and complacent just because you’re starting to feel good.
Use Your Skills:
Be prepared for triggers and cravings. In relapse prevention training you were taught to understand and recognize warning signs and risk factors. So, put your skills to work and create an index card with information about your relapse prevention plan. Make sure you have the names and phone numbers of those people that you can call upon when you spot problems. Control triggers by avoiding the people, places, and situations that could get you into trouble. And manage cravings by knowing what you can do when you start to experience urges.
Keep your mind engaged. Avoidance of certain persons and places is a great step. But at times, it may leave you feeling lonely. That’s why it’s also important to stay busy. Make new friends, pick up new and safe hobbies, or find a job. It will help increase your feelings of self-worth and organize your thoughts and emotions.
Take care of your health. Addiction takes a toll on the body. You must do what you can to help your body recover – physically and mentally. Eating healthy and balanced meals, drinking plenty of water, and taking vitamins or mineral supplements will increase your energy levels and promote healing. Exercise releases natural endorphins, which can reduce stress and anxiety and increase self-esteem and confidence. And plenty of sleep will help you have a calm, clear, and level-headed mind.
Take Your Time:
Demonstrate patience with yourself. Recovery takes time, and relapse is often part of the recovery process. But you have to remember that a relapse doesn’t mean you’re a failure. If you slip, don’t come down so hard on yourself that you give up and go back to your old, destructive habits. Instead, contact someone from your support system and talk with them about the incident. Being patient with yourself will help you stay in control while you learn to keep your new life clean and safe.