Adjusting to a clean and sober lifestyle after completing a treatment program for substance abuse is a challenge, especially for first responders.
In addition to giving up certain aspects of a previous lifestyle, recovery also affords one the opportunity to explore new interests and make connections with people who support and encourage sobriety.
“Research shows most relapses occur within the first six months of treatment, but for anyone struggling with addiction, there’s a possibility of relapse whether you’re six months or six years sober. Because of this, it’s important to continue your positive development after rehab.”
WebMD Connect to Care
It’s important to recognize that even after substance abuse treatment it’s imperative that one continues implementing tactics and strategies to help maintain a sober lifestyle.
Entering into recovery after treatment without a plan, however, can leave a person feeling lonely and isolated, which may put them at risk of a relapse. But, utilizing all resources and remaining open to personal growth can help you establish a sober lifestyle.
The following healthy coping skills will help you on your journey towards continued wellness.
Starting at Home
One of the most powerful changes one can make after completing treatment for addiction is to make modifications in the home that support mental wellness and sobriety.
If you live with someone, it can be helpful to talk to them about the changes you would like to make to your living environment in advance, so they can prepare before you get back home.
Starting by eliminating all drugs and alcohol out of the house is most important. If you ever developed a habit of hiding substances in your home, disclose hiding places before finishing treatment and ask them to do a clean sweep of the entire house.
Additionally, it can be helpful to maintain a clean and uncluttered living environment to promote a calming atmosphere and prevent anxiety.
One could also choose to dedicate a space in the home to practice mindfulness. You can use this space to read, meditate, practice yoga, or simply enjoy a morning cup of tea. Dedicating a place in your home to mental wellness, free of distractions, can be a powerful tool in addiction recovery.
Building a Safety Net
An imperative part of recovery is building and maintaining a network of people that support you. This network should also hold you accountable for continuing recovery work even when things seem to be going well, to help you prepare for any unexpected triggers that can threaten your sobriety.
This safety net of individuals should include professionals like psychologists, addiction counselors, family therapists, as well as loved ones that support your new sober lifestyle.
Building a healthy network of support also means cutting ties with people that inhibit your ability to maintain mental wellness or encourage you to pick up substances. This might mean losing touch with people you care about, but prioritizing your sobriety sometimes means knowing when to walk away. Remember your goal.
One of the greatest parts of recovery is discovering what you’re capable of without the hindrance of substance abuse.
Now is the time to set personal and professional goals, along with a strategic plan on how to achieve them. However, this doesn’t mean that you should overwhelm yourself with work or become extremely achievement-oriented early in recovery, as this behavior tends to lead to excess stress, which may threaten your sobriety.
It’s important to work with a therapist or a wellness coach to set realistic goals for yourself, whether they be job-related, educational, or creative. Having something to work towards and look forward to can be a powerful motivator for staying sober in early recovery.
Exploring New Interests
Newly sober individuals tend to feel as if they have a lot of time on their hands now that they aren’t abusing substances.
Sobriety can also be an eye-opening experience that exposes how much time you previously wasted on substance abuse. With newfound free time, now is the moment to explore different activities and pursuits; you may find yourself motivated to start exercising more often or discovering creative talents.
Finding time for new activities adds the benefit of meeting other people interested in the same hobbies, professions, and those who enjoy themselves without substances.
Meeting new friends through fellowship support groups and treatment alumni programs are a great place to start…and make exploring new interests a great opportunity to make new friends and strengthen your safety net.
About First Responder Wellness
At First Responder Wellness, we guide those ready to take the path to recovery and wellbeing. We offer various programs within a community of others who know what it is like to be in the front lines. For more information on how we can assist you, call 888-443-4898.