Although some may believe that recovery only involves treatment at a rehab center, the truth is that recovery from addiction is a life-long process. Rehab is an important first step in addiction treatment, but after detox, users must learn how to re-enter daily life and figure out how to stay sober long-term. Here’s the thing: Relapse is a common part of the ongoing recovery process.
Just like diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure, addiction is a chronic disease. Managing it after you’re out of rehab requires lifestyle changes, regular doctor visits and, from time to time, changes in treatment plan. A relapse could be a sign that it’s time for a new approach
In other words, users can recover with the right help.
Keys to Long-Term Addiction Recovery
In treatment, people can learn how to maintain addiction recovery but when faced with real-life, those new coping skills can be challenging to remember. When this happens, they will need to understand the following keys to long-term recovery:
- Developing positive relationships – Whether users restore relationships with friends and family members or they make new sober friends, they must find people who support and encourage recovery so that they are not alone
- Finding healthy activities – These acts could include any substance-free activity that allows the mind and body to explore and enjoy the world
- Learning forgiveness and patience – This skill helps users deal with other people who frustrate them or let them down. Since the recovery process has its low points, it will also help users forgive themselves when they make mistakes along the way.
If users have the right support, they can get and stay clean from drug abuse.
Keys to Success
Facing the challenges of daily life after rehab is key. Cravings, for example, are bound to rear up. Here are ways to make the process easier:
- Find sober friends. You’ll want to avoid a social group that is heavily involved in using, and seek out individuals who can have a positive impact on your life.
- Focus on work. Consider your work setting. You may need to look for a new job if there are influences there that make you want to use.
- Look for answers. Talking about issues can often help uncover the root of the addiction. A lot of people have underlying emotional distresses that activate or enhance a craving.
- Build a support network. Join a group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Some addicts who have been in recovery for decades still occasionally get a desire to use, and having a sponsor — another person in recovery to turn to when such problems arise — can help you avoid relapses.
- Help others. Working to help someone else get sober makes it less likely that a recovering drinker, for example, would binge-drink.