After you have completed a treatment program, you may feel a myriad of emotions ranging from excitement to apprehension. These emotions are completely normal. You have set yourself on the path to a brave new adventure. Your goal is to maintain your recovery and succeed in creating lasting health. How can you ensure that success?
According to the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there are four dimensions of recovery that can help you succeed. These four dimensions are health, home, purpose, and community. Let’s review each dimension.
In recovery, health means a lot more than just maintaining your sobriety. Taking care of your physical needs will help you reduce stress and feel better. Maintaining your health means building new lifestyle habits. This includes ensuring you are getting enough sleep each night, eating nutritious meals on a regular schedule, and adding physical activity to your weekly routine.
It is essential for your recovery that you have a safe and stable place to live. You will need somewhere you can relax and recharge your batteries and feel comfortable taking care of yourself.
Finding a purpose in your life can be very grounding. Your purpose might include meaningful daily activities such as work, school, or fulfilling family obligations. Purpose can also mean finding a creative outlet or donating your time to a charitable organization.
It’s helpful to establish a social circle that includes people who understand your goals and will support you in achieving them. You will need strong and healthy relationships that you can rely on if you want to maintain sobriety.
Recovery is going to look different for everyone. Finding routines and unique lifestyle habits that work for you will be a personal discovery. Overcoming challenges will get easier with preparation, reflection, and time. Always remember that you are not alone. Stay engaged with your support system and take advantage of any continued care resources you have available to you.
One of the most common challenges you may face in recovery is cravings for the substance you formerly used. When you’ve made the amazing choice to never use drugs or alcohol again, you are accepting a significant physical and mental challenge. In order to keep this commitment, you will need to figure out how to manage your cravings in a safe and healthy way.
One helpful tool is mindfulness. Pay close attention when a familiar craving arises. Notice how you are feeling and what might be causing the feelings. This will help you identify possible triggers that you can avoid in the future. You will also be able to create behavioral strategies that are beneficial alternatives to succumbing to your cravings. Lean on the supports that you have established in treatment, the people you trust, and the strategies you have learned so far.
Worrying about your financial situation can cause anxiety and lead to relapse. Concerns about bills, your job situation, and your future prospects can be overwhelming. However, feeling overwhelmed does not have to lead to feeling out of control. Always remind yourself that you are in control of your own life. Try to stay focused on the financial concerns that you can address first. Prioritize your concerns so that things are more manageable. There are always actions you can take to alleviate some of your concerns.
When you commit to sobriety, it often means foregoing certain activities and social connections that might sabotage your sobriety. If you don’t have sobriety-supportive activities and relationships to replace those, it can leave you feeling lonely and bored. While this may not sound like a big obstacle to maintaining sobriety, it is important to not get caught off-guard. Healthy social interactions are a vital tool to help you fight off boredom and loneliness.
Make sure to reach out for support if you are experiencing any negative emotions. Surround yourself with people who will support you in your goals. Maintain connections with people in your recovery community. Join a spiritual community or turn to inspirational books. Lean on friends and family members who understand what you are going through. You don’t have to be alone or rely on inappropriate sources of support.
Addiction is a chronic condition that requires you to make the decision to stay sober every day. Try to engage as much as possible with your recovery team and your support system. Keep in mind that there is always a chance that your plans for sobriety might get derailed and cause you to return to some harmful habits.
Dealing with relapse can certainly be discouraging. However, if you want to change your life for the better, you cannot let a relapse turn into a permanent failure. Everyone makes mistakes; it’s learning from them and trying again that matters.
Ultimately, the most important thing you can do is treat yourself with kindness and patience. This may involve contacting your treatment specialist immediately and working with them on planning your next steps. Try to minimize any damage, get back on the path to sobriety, and remain hopeful for your future. You can use the information you gain from a relapse in a positive way by identifying triggers and adjusting your treatment plan to help you succeed more easily in the future.
Addiction can throw your life into chaos and turmoil. If you can find lifestyle changes and practices that bring you peace, you are headed in the right direction. Take some time every day to remind yourself what a relapse might cost you. Also, remind yourself of the resources you can rely on if you start to feel your resolve slipping. Give yourself credit for how far you have come. You’re on your way to an amazing and well-deserved new life.
Sustaining recovery can be stressful, emotionally difficult, and overwhelming. Having the right tools and support in place can make all the difference in the world. Having a circle of support and relying on treatment resources will help increase your success in recovery. At Sage Recovery in Austin, Texas, we believe supporting a person struggling with addiction does not end when treatment ceases. We understand that the path to long-term sobriety looks different for everyone and that some people need ongoing support. We are dedicated to helping you through any challenges to your recovery that you may face. Call Sage Recovery at (512) 306-1394 for more information on how we can help you achieve your goals.