People who have never suffered from an addiction may think that ‘all’ you need to do is quit. What they don’t know is that quitting isn’t easy and that the crucial time for you as a recovering addict is the part that follows quitting. Just getting used to ‘normal’ living can be very hard indeed.
Here are some thoughts that may help you as a recovering addict.
- Keep up the counselling
We’ve talked about the importance of counselling before, so we won’t spend too much time on it now – but you can help yourself by allowing others to help you through counselling interventions. Don’t miss out!
- Leave the past behind you
Sadly, this may mean leaving a whole bunch of friends behind you too, but if you want to start fresh, you can’t hang with the same crowd that supported your addiction and who may have shared it.
Start with clean slate and make new friends. It is challenging, but you’re up to it, right? Guts? Just signing yourself into rehab means you’ve got no shortage of backbone.
- Consider whether you should enter a sober-living house for a while
If you’ve quit before and found it hard to stay on the straight and narrow in your home environment, you should consider entering a sober living house.
A sober living house allows you to go to work and be a productive member of society, but you still have access to counselling, and you are supervised so that you won’t easily end up in your old haunts practicing your old habits.
Some people call these houses ‘halfway houses’ and that’s a really good term. By quitting, your battle is halfway won, but you still have to get the other 50% right before you can risk returning to your usual environment.
- Get in touch with your spiritual side
Getting in touch with your own spirituality can help you to overcome addiction and will provide you with support and motivation during your time as a recovering addict. Whether you identify with Christianity or prefer indigenous faith systems or alternative spirituality, there’s a program for you. And you don’t have to leave it behind when you quit the rehab center.
Your spiritual faith can help you to find supportive communities, constructive activities and new friends after you leave rehab. Be open about your history and your needs. A strong community can give you the support and encouragement you need.
- Carry an emergency toolkit with you
This can be a simple card that you can fit into your wallet. On one side, have some ‘emergency’ numbers that you can use when you need to mobilise your support system. On the other, write down five things you can do to distract yourself from cravings. As a heading, write down the single most important reason why you went to rehab in the first place.
Just keeping a reminder of your number one goal handy can be very powerful, the activities should be things that help you to occupy your mind, and if all else fails, you can call a number and ask for help from someone who cares about you.
- Know what situations you need to avoid – and avoid them!
You are particularly vulnerable in your first year after detoxing. Stay away from parties, clubs and pubs. Avoid people who use the poison you have just rid yourself of. If you feel like a celebration, invite ‘safe’ friends for a picnic or a bonfire night. You don’t need booze or drugs to celebrate life!
- Paying attention to these things will help you to stay clean
Recovering addicts need to reduce stress. Don’t neglect these three important elements:
Look after your financial life. If you have pressing creditors, discuss your obligations with them. Tell them how you mean to address your debt. You may find them more accommodating than you expect. After all, getting paid in the long run is better for them than having to go through legal processes.
Take care of your relationships. Your previous habit may have caused you to hurt those who are closest to you. Just quitting and saying you’re sorry may not be enough. Be ready to work on your relationships and look for ways to make amends for past hurts.
Look after your health. Eat healthy foods, get lots of exercise and listen to your body. Without a strong body, you may struggle to overcome the mental and emotional challenges that you will face as you recover.