Substance addiction is a chronic disease and a chemical dependency. When a drug or alcohol abuser looks to break their addiction, one of the first steps is to begin primary treatment. This is followed by detox and rehabilitation. Primary treatment programs typically take place over a short duration (anywhere from four to six weeks), though, there are less popular long-term treatment programs.
The first place to start after primary treatment is in sober living. In post-treatment life, sober living homes can provide numerous outlets towards holding onto sobriety. Physicians, therapists, sponsors, house staff, and fellow residents support the recovering individual in their new substance free life.
Addiction Recovery is Continuous
Recovery is indefinite. However, numerous reports show that a step-by-step plan for recovery can beat addiction for good. Work on integrating recovery methods and tips into your life. While recovery is continuous, living without drugs and alcohol is more than possible.
9 Ways to Keep Your Recovery on Track
- Accept the Help of Others
Addiction is often a secretive and dangerous condition. Addicts hide their drug or alcohol use from those closest to them. However, in primary treatment addicts begin to learn to open up and accept help from medical professionals and counselors in charge of their program. In recovery, it is important for addicts to continue to accept the help of others.
Twelve-step meetings are often strongly encouraged, if not required in sober living. Meetings are a great way to develop connections with others and accept help from group members and from a sponsor. Recovery needs the support of others.
- Be An Active Participant in Therapy
In part, addiction stems from a need to escape. So therapy can be a challenge because it requires the exact opposite. It needs individuals to be present, to engage, and to address their addiction. This involves challenging work in discussing painful events and feelings, which many people would rather run from.
To keep recovery on track, it is important to be open and honest in therapy. In individual counseling, despite discomfort, you must try to keep up an equal exchange. Do not sit there passively and let the minutes tick by. Do not let the therapist do all the talking. If your therapist asks a question that makes you uncomfortable, express your unease, and uncover the reasons why. This may reveal deeper feelings and conflicts, which need to be addressed.
Listen and try to respond as much as you can. Share your feelings. Share your doubts. Share your worries about life without the use of substances. This is where permanent healing begins.
- Attend Twelve-Step Meetings Regularly
To keep recovery on track, it is important to attend twelve-step meetings regularly. Whether it’s Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous, group scenarios can help get you through bumps in the road. You will meet other recovering addicts, hear similar stories, and find support through shared understanding.
While twelve-step meetings have open attendance and are free, regular participants are recovering addicts themselves. Regular attendance creates a routine, builds relationships, creates trust, and provides invaluable healing. They encourage acceptance, humility, and honesty. It is a safe place to express your struggles and frustrations, while learning more about addiction through multiple perspectives.
- Find a Wellness Activity
Developing a routine with healthy habits and structure is an important component in keeping recovery on track. Holistic practices like yoga, mindfulness training, spirituality, and transcendental meditation help recovering addicts manage stress, heal, and most importantly, it teaches people to be present. Addiction is rooted in a need for escape. Calming wellness activities teach the opposite. People learn to focus their thoughts and actions on the here and now.
- Stay Aware of Cues and Triggers
Another way to keep recovery on track is to stay aware of social cues that may result in a relapse. While those residing in sober living residences may have a lesser risk, anyone in recovery is subject to triggers. Uncovering past experiences, trauma, and painful memories will help an addict understand their specific trigger points.
- Be Cognizant of Social Sources
In recovery, it is important to be aware of the dangers of certain social influences. Sober living eliminates harmful people of the outside world, however, recovering addicts will return to the regular world eventually.
Understanding how social influences can affect addiction is key. Whether at work or social gatherings, it is important to put yourself first. Have a contingency plan and a rehearsed reason prepared for any stressful situation.
When it comes to maintaining sobriety, you come first. If the challenge of interacting with social circles becomes unmanageable, it is always best to avoid those scenarios entirely.
- Develop a Routine
Once primary treatment is over, it is important to develop a routine that can help maintain abstinence. Keeping a complete schedule, complete with 12-step meetings, therapy, hobbies, and work can keep the harmful lures of returning to substance abuse at bay.
Keep recovery on track by setting daily times to wake up and sleep, exercise, journal, work, and participate in recovery programs. Creating a positive routine helps keep negative activities out.
- Be Patient
Addiction recovery is a step-by-step process. It is important to take it one day at a time and to be extremely patient with yourself. Take advantage of numerous recovery programs like free 12-step programs and other support groups. Find a therapist that you connect with, seek the support of trusted individuals (like a sponsor), and practice self-care.
- Letting Go of Shame
Substance addiction is a health and mental health issue. So, it is important to let go of any shame over past mistakes. Talking about residual shame with peers or a therapist heals the inner workings of addiction. It is crucial to leave the past in the past, while looking at the possibilities ahead.
Planning for the Future
Create a plan for the future. Include things to accomplish, relationships to mend, and other goals. Share this plan with people in your intimate circle, like your therapist, twelve-step group members, or sponsor. Developing goals creates optimism for the future and keeps recovery on track.