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Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms & the Daily Routine


  1. 5. Transition and Maintenance
    1. 5.1 Have a Plan
    2. 5.2 Journaling is Therapeutic
    3. 5.3 The Daily Routine


5. Transition and Maintenance

Through the drug rehab process and in recovery you will go through some significant changes with yourself. It can be a challenge to gauge normalcy. What was normal before treatment is likely to feel very different clean and sober. It can take some time and a transition period before you can get back to a comfortable and normal way of life, while focusing on your recovery. This section provides resources and insights on dealing with the transition period and maintenance required for sustained and lasting sobriety.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms

Common PAWS Symptoms
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sudden Mood Swings
  • Difficulty Sleeping
  • Affected Concentration
A common thing faced by those who go through alcohol or drug rehab treatment is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). It is when a person in recovery experiences furthering emotional and psychological withdrawal symptoms down the road. Withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone. Most will experience them up front and they will lessen over-time. Some unfortunate souls will have such symptoms continue to occur for periods longer than that. As your brain chemistry is returning to normal, you are going to experience some if not all of these withdrawal symptoms (Listed Right).

In the process of transition and learning to cope in recovery, you need strategies and support for the times you are faced with these withdrawal symptoms.
5.1 Have a Plan

Aftercare Resources:
  • Sober Living
  • Drug Monitoring
  • IOP (Intensive Outpatient)
  • Group Therapies
  • Personal Addiction Therapies
  • Couples/ Family Counseling
  • Sober Coach / Companion
  • Recovery Group (non 12-step)
  • 12-step Meetings
    • Alcoholics Anonymous
    • Narcotics Anonymous
    • Specific Drug 12-step Group
  • Sponsorship
It is going to be different when you leave rehab. Treatment has prepared you to some extent, but you will need to still work at staying clean and sober. A helpful strategy is to make a plan to follow in your recovery process. This plan should involve additional services and programs to help you along the way. It can be essential to have such support in dealing with post-acute withdrawal symptoms. Maybe going home after alcohol or drug treatment is not the best decision. You can transition into a sober living environment first. Most drug rehab providers should assist you in making a plan for recovery. Cirque Lodge provides each of its clients with a continuing care plan prior to leaving treatment. Aftercare Resources (Listed Right) are some common and helpful services you can become involved in when you are discharged from rehab.

Some goals to have with your plan of action should involve:
  • Always having services in place to help you. (Therapy, Outpatient, Sober companion or Sponsor)
  • Have a plan in place if a relapse occurs, whether it's a relapse program, or admittance back into rehabilitation, more 12-step meetings.
  • Stay involved in supportive communities that assist you in recovery. (12-step groups, A.A. etc.)

5.2 Journaling is Therapeutic

Journaling is also a technique known as writing therapy. You right down your thoughts and concerns in an effort to come to deeper understanding of yourself. Following treatment, you can use journaling as an effective recovery tool. Your journal should not be so much about the daily events and activities, and focus more about your thoughts and feelings. It can be very therapeutic to write down your conflicts and concerns. As you review them it can help you better work through the issues that have come up. However, it doesn't all have to be about the negatives. Take time to write/ type out the positives you have found in recovery, your gratitude and appreciation.

5.3 The Daily Routine

Earlier in this survival guide we discussed how alcohol and drug rehab centers use a schedule to instill accountability. It also gets you in the practice of having daily routines in your life. After addiction treatment, having a similar daily routine is an effective form of relapse prevention. If you begin and end each day with things that help you focus on your recovery, chances are you will probably stick to them. BOREDOM IS A NEGATIVE. Fill your day with the positive things you need to put your sobriety first. Get up each day at the same time. Try to go to bed around the same time each night. Don't forget to eat. You'll be surprised at how the routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner can help you stay focused in life. Also don't get too busy, just develop a positive routine and habits that keep you focused on staying clean and sober.

Daily Schedule Example
(These are just suggestions of what you can do to help with a positive daily routine. Of course, you should find what routine works best for you and stick to it)

Begin Your Day:
  • Meditation / Prayer
  • Reading (Uplifting Literature, Mental Health / Self Help Books, A.A. Big Book)
  • Plan out Your Day
  • Have Breakfast
Daily / Weekly Activities:
  • Exercise (go to the gym, out for a walk/hike, yoga)
  • Attend a Meeting
  • Go to Therapy or Counseling (when scheduled)
  • Be of Service
  • Work With Your Sponsor
End Your Day:
  • Have Dinner
  • Review Your Day (the positives and negatives), Prepare for Tomorrow
  • Journaling
  • Meditation / Prayer

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Transition & Maintenence ⇒