Getting sober in rehab is an amazing achievement that should be celebrated. But unfortunately, getting sober is only half the battle.
It’s also important for people to stay sober once they’ve overcome an addiction to drugs or alcohol—and that can be very difficult to do. Anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of people with a substance abuse disorder will relapse at some point in their lives.
You can survive long-term addiction recovery by taking certain steps to avoid falling back into your old habits. It’ll take a lot of effort on your part, but you can stay sober for the long haul by putting the right work in.
Here are some of the ways to successfully navigate long-term addiction recovery.
Create a Solid Support System
One of the first things you should do when you walk out of a rehab center sober is to start surrounding yourself with people who will be supportive of the new you.
In some cases, this might mean repairing relationships with family members and asking them to serve as your support. In others, it might mean joining a local support group and talking with people who are in the same position as you.
Whatever you do, do not try to accomplish long-term addiction recovery on your own. There are going to be times when you feel weak and powerless, and in those moments, you’re going to need to have others you can turn to for advice and encouragement.
Avoid Old Friends Who Aren’t Sober
When you were drinking or using drugs prior to your rehab stint, you likely surrounded yourself with “friends” who also drank or used drugs. Once you emerge from rehab, many of them might resurface and try to get in touch with you.
You might be tempted to talk to them about your experiences in rehab and try to convince them to get clean. But at first, you’re not going to be in any condition to help others. Your only job will be to keep yourself on the straight and narrow.
Steer clear of hanging out in the same places you used to hang out in and ignore calls and text messages from the “friends” who used to surround you. You might be able to salvage some of those relationships later, but you should never put yourself in a position where you’re hanging around people who are still drinking or using drugs.
Put a New Routine Into Place
The boredom that often accompanies long-term addiction recovery can be too much to take for some recovering addicts. People don’t always know what to do with themselves when they don’t have drugs and alcohol to keep them busy.
In rehab, you were forced to stick to a pretty strict schedule. But once you leave rehab, your schedule is suddenly wide open and just begging to be filled with the wrong kinds of activities.
Rather than falling victim to boredom, put a new routine into place for yourself and follow it each and every day. You should make sure you’re eating all three major meals, get the right amount of exercise, and either get a job or go back to school to limit your free time.
It’ll take some time to get used to having a new routine. But it’ll begin to feel more natural over the course of the first few months.
Form New Habits
In addition to forming a new routine, you should also form new habits to replace your old ones. This is a key part of a long-term addiction recovery plan.
There are so many fun new habits that you can choose from. They include things like:
- Working out
- Playing sports
Try not to go too overboard with any of these activities. Even though none of them are particularly harmful to your health, you could do more damage than good if you get obsessive about any of them.
But find something to fill the gaps in your life. One or two new habits will go a long way when you’re fighting to stay sober.
Take Advantage of an Outpatient Program
Those who spend time living at a rehab facility when getting sober take part in inpatient programs. But you should know that there are also outpatient programs available for those who want to continue going through the rehab process without staying at a facility.
If you ever find yourself slipping back into old patterns, consider calling on an outpatient drug treatment center for help. They can set you up with the services you’ll need to stay sober.
Set Goals for the Rest of Your Life
Now that you’re sober, what is it that you want to do with the rest of your life? Do you want to:
- Land the job that you’ve dreamed about since you were a little kid?
- Travel the world and see countries you never thought you would be able to visit?
- Move across the country to a new city?
- Get into the best shape of your life and take part in weightlifting competitions?
- Have kids and raise a family?
One of the best parts about being sober is that you can do anything with your life when you don’t have drugs or alcohol holding you back. Set goals for yourself and then start working towards achieving them. You’ll be amazed at what you’re able to do.
Make Long-Term Addiction Recovery Your No. 1 Priority
Long-term addiction recovery is a process. You can’t accomplish it in a day, a week, a month, or even a year. It’s something that you need to steadily pursue from today until the last day of your life.
If you recently committed to getting and staying sober, use the tips found here to continue walking down the right path in life. They’ll keep you focused and make it slightly easier for you to manage the trials and tribulations that are sure to come your way.
Read our blog to learn some important facts that you should know when it comes to drug addiction.