Hats Off to Those Who Have Decided to Get Help For A Problem With Addiction
Making the decision to get addiction treatment for a substance use disorder is a brave first step toward getting on the road to recovery.
Many people never get help. They stay stuck in the devastating cycle of addiction and continue to experience the many negative consequences that accompany a drug or alcohol problem. Or, sadly, they die from an overdose or some other addiction-related health complication.
If you have decided to seek treatment for an addiction to alcohol or drugs like heroin, prescription opioids, or crystal meth; we applaud you. It takes great courage to reach out for help. It also requires tremendous strength to stay sober one day at a time in early recovery.
So, if you are on your way to rehab – or just completing treatment – we congratulate you on your efforts to find a new way to live.
Addiction Treatment is A Challenging Process of Self-Discovery
When you go to a rehabilitation facility, there is a lot of hard work involved. No doubt about it – addiction treatment is no vacation. Quite the opposite!
First of all, you have to navigate nasty withdrawal symptoms (some have to undergo a medical detox to do this), which by itself can be exhausting. Stopping the use of drugs and alcohol can feel like a full-time job for the first 10 days.
Also, you also are asked to explore your innermost thoughts and feelings with a therapist. This often includes revisiting past traumas to experience healing. It isn’t easy to go within and find solutions to problems that led to your addiction in the first place.
Additionally, you receive extensive education about addiction, overcoming cravings, and relapse prevention while in treatment. For some, this can feel like information overload.
Staying at a Rehabilitation Facility Keeps You Safe
Indeed, addiction treatment is not for the faint of heart. However; the many rewards that come from it make it all worthwhile. Yet, as challenging as rehab might be, the truth is, the work doesn’t stop once you leave treatment. In fact, many addiction experts will tell you that your first day back in the “real world” is when the really hard work actually begins.
Basically, when you are in residential treatment, you are pretty safe when it comes to a relapse. Quite frankly, you are safe from yourself. In active addiction, you felt powerless to control your cravings to drink or take drugs. There is a feeling of safety and security in rehab. You really don’t have to fight the urge to go drink or get high because as long as you stay in the facility, you will stay clean.
You are supervised around-the-clock in a sober environment. This leaves very little opportunity for temptation. Plus, you are surrounded by a strong support system that can help you navigate triggers and cravings as they arise. And, you are completely focused on getting well. You are not confronted with the challenges and stressors that generally accompany your everyday life.
This begs the question, what happens after addiction treatment? How do you continue on the road of recovery once you have left rehab?
What Happens After Addiction Treatment?
Many feel fearful about leaving treatment after staying in a facility for a period of time. This is completely normal and totally understandable. In fact, it is a healthy and rational fear to be concerned about a relapse after experiencing the security and comfort of rehab.
However; the goal of a rehabilitation program is to equip clients with the skills they need to sustain ongoing recovery outside of treatment. While in treatment, those who have battled a drug or alcohol addiction are taught to focus on their recovery one day at a time. This doesn’t change outside of the walls of rehab.
In this way, the answer to the question, “What happens after addiction treatment?” is quite simple. Sobriety is what happens. Life is what happens. And, the good news is, they both happen just one day at a time.
While staying sober may be uncomfortable and difficult at first, it does eventually get easier and more familiar. With time, those who stay committed to a sober lifestyle will experience a wonderful new life where old dreams awaken and new possibilities arise. There are many benefits to living a life in recovery.
You Don’t Have To Stay Sober Alone – And You Shouldn’t Try To
The good news is, the world is filled with beautiful opportunities to make sober friends. There are plenty of community support resources that will help you on your recovery journey. Learning how to socially interact without drugs and alcohol does take some getting used to. However, socializing with those who are also oriented toward recovery makes it a lot more comfortable.
You have a number of options when it comes to how you will move forward with your life after you have completed addiction treatment. (In fact, the possibilities are endless now that you are free from active addiction!) Generally, as part of your treatment plan, a clinician will help you formulate a strategy for aftercare services.
This may include an outpatient treatment program where you meet with other recovering people for a few hours once or twice a week. You might become a member of the rehabilitation facility’s alumni program. Or, you might go to a 12-Step Program or SMART Recovery meetings that will teach you how to enjoy a sober lifestyle.
If you’re not sure where to start after addiction treatment, here are some resources you might find helpful:
How you choose to live your life after addiction treatment is entirely up to you. We encourage you to embrace your new life and enjoy the journey.
Just remember, recovery (like life) happens one minute, one hour, one day at a time. You are only asked to make the commitment to stay sober for 24 hours at a time. And then, you renew your commitment with each passing day. Before long, this seems very natural and requires almost no effort.
Just don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Sobriety is a “we thing” not a “me thing.” There is always help available if you are struggling.