Overcoming addiction is no easy feat. If you have gone through an alcohol or drug detox then you have already come a long way. You should be proud of what you have achieved so far. But now comes the hard part.
Now that you are clean from substances, you are on the road to recovery. Your journey will evolve over time and so will you. A new way of living begins now. Here is some food for thought as you rebuild your life in recovery.
Recovery can be exciting. It is a fresh chance at a new start, but no matter how enthusiastic and ready you are, change won’t happen overnight. It takes time and patience to develop new habits.
You may find the prospect of recovery overwhelming. Re-entering life after the safety of a detox facility and 24/7 support can be daunting. Take things one day at a time. Stick to your recovery plan, keep attending your support groups, and lean on family and friends.
Learn coping techniques such as mindfulness that will keep you focused and on track. Treatment programs such as mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (MCBT) can help.
It is easy to stray into old bad habits that could lead you back to addiction, so don’t give yourself a hard time over little mistakes. Instead of beating yourself up, be proactive and take back control.
You might feel a lot of shame after a hiccup in your recovery and want to hide away. But isolation is the worst thing you can do. Tell your support system who can help you get back on track - they are there to pick you up, not kick you while you’re down.
As you move further and further from a life of addiction, you will recall negative moments in your past and may struggle with feelings of shame and embarrassment. Remember, addiction is a disease and no one’s fault. You have chosen to move on from a life of addiction, and it is important to acknowledge and talk through these feelings but also let yourself move on. The only way to go is forward.
As you take on this new way of living day by day, set new goals along the way to work towards and look forward to. Remember to make these goals achievable - don’t set yourself up for failure.
Your recovery plan will have goals to meet, so celebrate these milestones when you reach them! But these goals don’t always have to be recovery based - they could be as small as making your bed every morning or writing in a journal every day.
Reaching small goals will keep your morale up and encourage you to keep working towards long-term recovery. Acknowledge and celebrate these achievements - progress is progress.
Now that you have put addiction behind you, it is time to fill your days with something else. You need a new focus in your life. A good idea is starting a new job or hobby. Find something that you want to wake up every day for and that will give you a sense of purpose.
There are many different ways to find purpose in your life. Volunteering your time can be very rewarding and allow you to learn new skills and make new friends. Engaging in hobbies old or new can be very fulfilling, and pursuing your interests will keep your mind busy. Rebuild yourself how you want to be seen - the possibilities are endless. What are you waiting for?
Avoiding relapse sounds like obvious advice. But relapse is not simply deciding to use alcohol or drugs again. There are three stages of relapse: emotional, mental, and physical.
Signs of an emotional relapse can include:
This slippery-slope mentality must be avoided at all costs. Learning the signs of relapse can make you aware of them and let you know when it’s time to seek help.
Avoid relapse by attending your support groups, meetings, and therapy, even if you feel you have improved. Keep working towards small goals, stay mindful of your mental health, and reach out to your support system if you feel yourself slipping. Take it one day at a time and you will be on your way to recovery.