The path of recovery is an infinitely long, bumpy road. Luckily, it’s not a road less traveled — there are many people who are on the same path who you can look to for support during life after addiction. The journey is unique for each individual but there are still some common things to expect and tips to help you in your process.
Keep reading to find out more about life after addiction so that you can keep progressing, evolving, and becoming the person you want to be.
Life After Addiction Looks Different for Everyone
The best way to approach your recovery is to make it your own.
Take these tips and advice from others and apply it to your life in a way that makes sense for you.
For example, some people may benefit from independent supportive living communities. Others may find it better to live elsewhere and seek support groups.
The process of recovery involves getting to know yourself better, understanding your needs and desires, and setting boundaries in your life so that you can reach your goals.
No matter what, everyone going through recovery has one thing in common — putting recovery first. This may mean avoiding certain people, places, and activities to ensure you stay on the right path.
Keep Working on Yourself
Internal growth is something all people need to live a healthy, happy life.
For those in recovery, this is especially important as you have a lot of healing and rebuilding to do.
Start off by identifying what triggers you have that have led you to substance abuse. Triggers are reactions to smells, sights, sounds, or emotions that cause an overwhelming response and often lead to substance abuse.
You can work with a professional to identify these so that you can avoid triggering an impulsive response and learn healthy ways to manage your emotions.
Foster These Personality Traits
You can expect recovery to be difficult, frustrating, or emotionally painful at times.
To aid the process, try to foster these traits within yourself:
- Compassion towards others and yourself
- Forgiveness of others and yourself
- Patience for others and yourself
- Positivity in all situations
Through the process of recovery, all of these traits may not be achievable 24/7. Still, having these things in mind may help you cope and adapt to your new life.
Set Flexible Goals
Think of goals that inspire you to progress. The keyword here is flexible, meaning you can achieve these goals in a variety of ways or in a wide time frame.
Aside from recovery goals, you may also want to set goals for your finances, lifestyle, or relationships.
Write down the goals in a simple, tangible way. Visualize what small steps you need to get there and use every day to inch towards success.
Reward yourself for when you reach your goals and when you don’t, avoid punishing yourself. Instead, think of alternative ways to reach the goal in the future while recognizing the success you’ve had along the way.
Develop a Post-Treatment Plan
Creating structure is integral to reshaping your sober life.
One of the best ways to do this is to have a solid post-treatment plan outlining how you will maintain sobriety.
Lean on Reliable Support
No man is an island. Healthy relationships can help keep you on track, offer guidance, and allow you to express emotions in a constructive way.
You’ll want to include some of the following people in your support group:
- Family (i.e. sober, supportive family members)
- Friends (i.e. sober, old friends and new ones)
- Health care professionals (e.g. therapists, counselors, and mental health professionals)
Many people also benefit from support groups that follow the 12-step program.
Additionally, you may want to have a professional that you do regular check-ins with in person or on the phone. They may be able to hold you accountable through drug testing, too.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
During recovery, many people feel like they’re missing something. This may be due to the chemical changes happening in the body, the changes in activity and behavior, and so on.
To start yourself off on the right foot, write down the ways in which you can live a healthy life.
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting plenty of exercise, sleep, and water
- Visiting health professionals to take care of pre-existing mental and physical health issues
Set small goals to become a healthier person. This may mean drinking a certain amount of water a day, walking a set number of steps, or limiting the amount fo fast food you eat.
Aside from these tips, an important post-recovery strategy is to focus on reducing stress. Stress can cause a wide variety of mental and physical health problems, some of which lead to substance abuse.
Plus, reducing stress will make you feel better, happier, and more fulfilled. Here are some techniques to manage and reduce stress in your life:
- Accept that some things are out of your control
- Get social support from people who give you energy
- Learn time management skills
- Set healthy boundaries for your emotions and time
- Try relaxation techniques such as breathwork, meditation, or yoga
You can also seek the help of a professional to aid in your mental health treatment and stress reduction.
Fill Your Time in New Ways
You’re making a really big lifestyle change. As a result, you may notice that you have newfound free time throughout the day that you didn’t have when you weren’t sober.
Find constructive ways to fill in the gaps. This could include new hobbies, activities, work, or volunteering.
Staying busy by doing positive activities will help you stay inspired, stay on track, and keep growing. Plus, you’ll find new, sober communities of people who are also doing those things.
Have a Relapse Plan
While relapse is the opposite of your goals and intentions, it’s important to have a plan in case it happens.
Relapse doesn’t mean that you failed or that you’re a lost cause. Many people relapse during their recovery for a variety of reasons during life after addiction.
Should you relapse, you’ll want to have a plan already formed so that it’s easy to seek immediate help.
Write down the people you need to contact as well as their contact information. You should choose one friend or family member to confide in first and then contact a professional.
Telling someone close to you first can help you seek professional help and keep you accountable.
You’ll also want to write down the steps you’ll need to take ahead of time. This includes the address of a care facility, contacting any relevant people who may be affected, and arranging transportation if necessary.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Life after addiction is a difficult journey but the process can be eased by following these tips.
Take care of yourself, find support through others, and engage in healthy lifestyle choices.
If you do step off the path, don’t worry. You can step back on it and continue on your way if you seek out professional help.
Contact us if you need help with recovery or if you’re needing rehabilitation.