Addicts generally fall into their addiction because of difficulties in life that drive them over the edge; but arguably, the true greatest challenge arises later as an addict initially enters a life of sobriety. Though already immensely difficult, recovery is but one milestone of your journey as an addict.
Entering sobriety can leave a lot to consider: What comes next? How are we supposed to handle the challenges that lie ahead? What do we do when the cravings come back, or when we have to confront certain people? These are but a few of the challenging and emotional questions you may consider after exiting therapy.
However, by learning to lean to other people and adopting new practices to abstain, you can adapt to a new life of freedom and relief.
Guidelines to Remember
Some may believe sobriety becomes more difficult as time passes, but many begin struggling quite early on. On the contrary, most addicts find the first year of sobriety to easily be the most difficult time. Without guidance from professionals in therapy, many addicts become lost in what to do and how to handle themselves post-recovery.
When astray in sobriety, you may be unsure of how to conduct yourself, but you can follow several guidelines, including:
- Do not ignore your emotions
- Avoid keeping secrets
- Disregard the opinions of others
- Do not grow overconfident
Each guideline is crucial for various reasons and not one should be neglected. During recovery, you will experience many different emotions: anger, regret, sorrow, frustration, guilt, among others. By ignoring these feelings, you avoid proper coping with your addiction and how to overcome it. Keeping secrets feeds into this as well, as doing so avoids your problems and discussion of how to overcome them. Furthermore, keeping secrets creates additional stress and anxiety; instead, you must learn to trust your support system.
Addicts must also strike a balance between discovering confidence in themselves and not growing too confident of their capabilities. When you concern yourself too much with what other people think, you may quickly begin to doubt yourself. Doubting yourself leads to a lack of confidence in your ability, sobriety, and your own support systems. On the opposite side of the spectrum, addicts who grow too confident in themselves post-recovery may easily fall into relapse. Though you should gain confidence in yourself, growing too comfortable with your sobriety creates vulnerability and resistance to proper criticism.
Creating and Following New Routines
During therapy and treatment, addicts are heavily monitored by professionals and put under an often-strict routine. Because of this, perhaps you struggle to focus on new routines in life and practices learned in recovery. Nevertheless, adjusting to new life customs includes more than discovering fresh, positive changes in your life.
Designing new routines also incorporates cutting out parts of your previous routines that endanger your sobriety. This includes hanging out with drinking friends and situations such as parties that can encourage old habits once more. These amendments to your life can be especially frustrating or painful but vital to disciplining yourself to change.
Developing a Support System
The importance of social interaction and building a support system in recovery often wind up undermined and overlooked. While recovery places great importance on the need to distance one’s self, you must never completely isolate yourself. In fact, isolation can be damaging to an addict’s recovery and sobriety.
Healing addicts grow and rely on support systems for many important reasons, such as mending relationships with family and friends. Furthermore, human beings thrive off social interaction by nature as herd animals and seek feedback from other people. More importantly, they seek these responses from people they care about to improve and progress their relationships.
For many people, socializing and enjoying hobbies with others can be a therapeutic method of recovery on its own. Many addicts begin abusing drugs as a hobby to destress and enjoy themselves; however, by replacing this abuse with healthier relationships and activities, you can maintain not only greater relationships but also greater quality of life.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.