No Relapse! 3 ways to stay sober after drug or alcohol rehab
Drug or alcohol rehab is unfortunately no guarantee of long term sobriety, and a great many people fail to see sobriety through the end of the first very risky year after rehab. Here are three things you can do to maximize the odds of staying sober and staying healthy after the end of drug or alcohol rehab.
The first weeks and months after rehab are an incredibly risky period for relapse and continuing abuse, and the whole first year of sobriety is tenuous at best. Recovery statistics put the odds of a long term sobriety after drug rehab at about 40%, and sadly more people than not do not manage to integrate the therapies and lessons of recovery in a way that allows for enduring success.
Individual motivation and commitment to recovery obviously influences your odds at success and sobriety, but wanting something badly is rarely enough, and to truly maximize the odds of successful recovery, you need to put into practice certain strategies of relapse avoidance, and put them into practice every day.
Three ways to stay sober after drug rehab
1) Stay involved with aftercare
The single greatest factor influencing long term sobriety is the degree of participation in the therapies after the end of drug rehab. Ideally, you should look at rehab as a two stage process, with the second stage only beginning after graduation, and the second stage of therapy equally important to the first.
Long tem aftercare therapies can include private therapy with a psychologist, may mean regular participation in AA or another form of 12 steps meetings, or mean local peer group support participation. It doesn’t much matter what you use, as long as you pick something resonant to you, and stick with for at least a year.
2) Change your routines
During rehab you will have made a relapse prevention plan, and within this document you will have listed places, people, and situations all likely to induce cravings for use; and all situations to be avoided if at all possible.
Too many of us, although leaving rehab with the best of intentions, fall prey to overconfidence and find ourselves tempting fate with a return to some of our old ways. It's difficult to stay away from what we now, the people whose company we enjoy, and the environments where we feel comfortable; but for long term sobriety, at least for the first year, you have got to minimize the temptations to use.
Minimizing the triggers to use cannot be the only strategy to success, and without motivation, desire and continuing therapy, these temptations that inevitably do emerge will always overwhelm; but it's also foolish to increase the risks of using, and thus it's very foolish to get overconfident during the first high risk year.
3) Give something back
A period of active drug or alcohol addiction is inevitably a selfish and destructive period. We may not have been in complete control over our thoughts and actions during this period, yet nevertheless, rare is the addict who does not leave some harm in the wake of abuse.
Volunteer, sponsor at AA, mentor a newly recovering addict...do something to give back to the community. Acting out of concern for others gives meaning to life and sobriety, reduces the temptations to use, and plain and simple gives us something to do with free time that might otherwise lead us into trouble.
Most addicts have taken more than they given for too long, and a period of new sobriety is a great time to restore that karmic balance.
Sobriety takes continuing effort, even after the end of drug or alcohol rehab. By staying committed to aftercare, by minimizing the temptations to use, and by filling free time with worthy actions, you have a far greater chance of ultimate success and happiness.
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