Leaving drug treatment? Here are some suggestions to prevent relapse in the real world

FEATURE — At Lion’s Gate Recovery we discussed what would be valuable for those leaving drug rehab and re-entering the real world. Fortunately, we work with many professionals who have long-term recovery.

We wanted to share our experience with recent graduates of inpatient drug treatment and suggest strategies we know worked for us.

A challenge for many addicts and alcoholics is to stay away from substances post-treatment. Inpatient drug rehab can be a bubble environment and re-entering the real world comes with many difficulties for those in early recovery.

We hope these suggestions help any individual leaving inpatient drug treatment.

Outpatient

It is highly recommended that anyone moving on from inpatient attend outpatient drug treatment.

Stock image, St. George News

Lion’s Gate Recovery has an in-depth outpatient program to help recovering addicts and alcoholics adjust to their lives.

The skills that are taught in the outpatient program focus on real-life application of the tools and strategies learned while in inpatient treatment. The drastic change of a substance-free life presents new opportunities and most often a wealth of new problems to solve.

The outpatient model is designed to help recovering individuals process these problems in real time with the support of experienced professionals, thus creating a solid foundation of recovery to last a lifetime.

Sober living

For many of us, a substance-free lifestyle can mean a change in residence. Sober living can be a safe haven for many recovering addicts and alcoholics who do not have anywhere else to go.

Perhaps in their substance abuse, they were evicted from their old home or maybe the home they have is not a safe environment for them. Whatever the case, sober living can provide an additional support system and a healthy culture to begin growing the roots of long term recovery.

Stay busy

Boredom can be a sneaky way for an addict or alcoholic to entertain the idea of using again. A busy schedule can keep the temptation at bay. Outpatient may not be enough to fill the day.

Many addicts and alcoholics are rebuilding their lives after inpatient drug rehab. There is usually plenty to do to stay busy. Jobs, attending support groups and meeting other people in recovery are additional ways to continue to be active. Being vigilant in recovery is a vital part of developing a strong foundation.

Peer pressure

For addicts leaving rehab, old friends can be a straight route to a relapse. This is where the reality of the newfound lifestyle can be tough. Having to set boundaries with old friends or cutting them off completely is a very difficult thing to do.

At times it could even be family members who are not safe people to be around. It will not be easy. Doing what is necessary is part of the sacrifice addicts and alcoholics must make to continue on the path of recovery.

Healthy connections

One of the most vital aspects of being in recovery is finding those with whom we can relate. Other recovering addicts and alcoholics offer a community for us to find somewhere to belong. Through our shared pain we find an uncommon bond like no other. We understand each other and work together to stay substance free.

There are some who have years, decades of recovery and they share the wisdom of their experience with us. We are able to connect and see that recovery is a very possible way of life for us. Many of us form long-lasting friendships with other recovering members, which keeps us firmly tied to a recovery environment.

Recovery isn’t easy, but thankfully we are not alone.

No matter what

Many of us were told “no matter what” when we were in early recovery. Life is going to continue to be difficult as we rebuild ourselves. While experiencing raw emotion and cleaning up our lives for the first time things are going to be tough. We will be tested like never before.

So don’t use, don’t drink, no matter what.

Decide that no matter what happens, no matter how hard it gets, no matter what you lose or what you gain, through the storms and rain, through the heartache and pain, no matter who you bury and who you could not save, no exceptions or reservations, no matter what, you don’t use.

Written by SHANE P. CURRIN for Lion’s Gate Recovery.

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