Deciding to break the cycle of addiction is one of the most challenging choices to make. To continue the choice of being sober is probably the other hardest decision when breaking the pattern. Despite these choices and decisions being hard, they are character builders and are required when wanting to change your life completely. Sticking with it can lead to an extraordinary life if you so choose.
When coming out of rehab, you may feel motivated but weary of what life will be like outside of that safe zone. Well, there are options to maintain the positive momentum that was built on the inside of rehab. If you want to ensure you’re doing all you can to continue on your path of sobriety, take a look at the suggestions we’ve put together.
Contemplate Living In a Recovery House
So you want to move back into your home, but you’re uneasy about the possibility of temptations or being triggered? Choosing to live in a recovery house will help ease the transition while providing a sense of structure similar to what was experienced in rehab.
A recovery house is a residential unit that can be categorized into two types; a halfway house or a sober living home. Sober living homes can be associated with the rehab center and are there to help recovering addicts stay clean. Halfway houses can be used to house homeless people and released criminals. Halfway houses are less expensive and allow individuals more freedom, while sober living homes have more restrictions and often cost more.
They both provide the opportunity to share a home with other people who are in the same position and know how you’re feeling.
Have a Clean Home Upon Arrival
Leaving rehab and integrating back into society can be very overwhelming. One thing you can do to reduce your stress load is to ask a friend or family member to help you. Before you come home, ask them to make sure any single item of temptation has been safely removed from your place. If you’re living with a loved one who has prescription medication, ask them to place it safely out of sight.
It’s best to have a friend or family member do this for you not only for your stress load but also to reduce any thought of temptation upon reintegration.
Find A Support Group
Choosing to stay sober daily is quite the character builder and having the proper support is essential, especially on those days when you just want to give in. Having someone you feel deeply connected to, who has been through what you have, can be a game changer. Expressing what you’re feeling to someone who understands you can provide a sense of validation and help you stay on track.
Options like a 12-step support group can also provide opportunities to meet people in the same boat. Joining weekly meetings can establish a routine that encourages your path to sobriety, and you may find that you’ll be able to help others in the future.
Move Your Body Daily
A Lot of focus is placed on the mind when it comes to breaking the pattern of addiction. However, the body is equally as important. Whether you want a super sweaty workout or just go for a walk in the sunshine, getting movement into your day is essential in recovery. If your body is kept in an inactive state, it simply won’t feel good and can lead to poor decision-making. Regular exercise can help increase the brain’s endorphins, making you feel good.
Going to the gym will provide an additional opportunity to engage with others who prioritize their health. Being surrounded by people who care for their health can give you a different branch of a support system.
Chances are, if you’ve been to rehab, you’ve engaged with therapists and are familiar with CBT. Although CBT can be a powerful tool, it might not be enough when you’re in the moment of something very stressful. Training your mind with meditation first thing in the morning can change your whole day and give you an extra tool when facing triggers or stressful moments.
Setting Your Goals
Guess what? You have the power to create the future that you desire. Your mind can be used as a tool as long as you decide that’s what it will be. You can choose who you want to be today, tomorrow and in 5 years from now. So, where do you want to see yourself professionally and personally in the future? What do you imagine? Perhaps it’s time for a new career path, or maybe you want a family.
Whatever goals you’ve decided you want, it’s important to have them and review them often, so you know you’re working towards something greater than yourself. You can’t change your past, but you have the present, and that’s all you need to create the life you want.
Positive Social Support
Before going to rehab, perhaps your social life consisted of having friends who were into drugs, alcohol and partying. Since your goal is staying sober, having a reunion with those friends won’t be in your best interest. This doesn’t necessarily mean goodbye, but see you later. Your time will be better spent having a social life with people with goals similar to yours. In the beginning, it might be tricky to develop new friendships, but having access to Facebook gives you access to many different groups, which might do the trick.
Establish a Routine
After rehab, reintegrating into society will be flooded with daily decisions, so any way to mitigate the likelihood of risk of relapse will be beneficial. By developing and sustaining a routine, your mind will know what’s happening throughout the day, limiting space to fantasize about previous experiences or possible cravings.
Keeping a to-do list with minor tasks and chores will help you stay focused on the goals that you’ve previously chosen.
It’s a normal part of human behaviour to reflect on the past; people recovering from their addictions will often feel guilt and shame for their behaviour. Perhaps someone you cherished was let down or hurt because of the addiction. Whatever the implications of your addictions, it’s imperative that you forgive yourself for the past, even if others haven’t given you their forgiveness. This is about your life moving forward and understanding that you’re changing and creating a better version of yourself daily. What’s in the past is in the past; you must learn from it and forgive yourself.
Forgiveness work can be tied into morning meditations. After you’ve quieted your mind, take a look in the mirror and say, “I forgive myself for______.” Stare into your eyes and say it like you mean it. Performing this exercise regularly will make you feel lighter and happier.
Avoid Environments That Trigger Addiction
Attending social events that are held at bars, clubs, parties, or even restaurants should be avoided. Until you’re 100% comfortable with resisting the social pressure and sight and smell of the substances, it’s best to turn down invitations to these outings. Alternatively, you can propose doing something at home or in a setting where you’re sure there won’t be triggers.
Leaving the safe environment created at addiction rehab doesn’t need to be as overwhelming as you think. Being prepared can make the journey of recovery a lot less challenging. This is not to say that there won’t be challenges but incorporating little elements and suggestions here and there will help make the process easier. Remember, recovery isn’t linear. Keep on going.
Written By Bibin K. Ittiavira
Simcoe Addiction and Mental Health