What Comes Next? How to Maintain Recovery After Substance Use Treatment

Completing a treatment program like ours at The Haven is a significant accomplishment and is worth celebrating, but in truth, it is just the beginning of your recovery journey. When you are in treatment, you are in a safe bubble: protected and supported.  The real work of recovery happens when you leave and go back into your regular life. It can be a huge adjustment as you navigate work, friendships, and your life without substances.

Many people (especially you) may not be used to living without the addiction, and it will be important that you fill that part of your life with something positive so it cannot slip back in. 

There are several tips and resources that can help you maintain your recovery throughout your life. Here are some tools that may help you maintain your recovery after treatment:

1. Know Your Triggers

Many people relapse within the first six months after treatment. Understanding your triggers can you better guard yourself against this. Sitting down and making a list of your triggers and committing to being mindful of them is an integral part of keeping you sober. If you are not aware of what they are, they can catch you off guard and easily hijack your progress. You may need to continue to add to your list as it may change over time, and this also gives you a chance to safely plan around them when you may be exposed to more triggering situations. 

2. Recognize Relapse Warning Signs

Another part of knowing your triggers is recognizing your personal relapse warning signs. Is it when you get too overwhelmed and stressed? Is it when you argue with someone? Become aware of the mental and physical warning signs and know what to do to counter them. Maybe you need to go to a meeting, schedule a session with your counselor, exercise, meditate, etc.

3. Create New Routines and Habits

Building a daily routine can help prevent boredom and thoughts about using. It may be helpful to structure your day and weeks by scheduling support groups, exercise, and making time for new hobbies and self-care activities to help you get used to this new lifestyle.

4. Build Healthy Relationships

Many people rely on support groups to help them after treatment, such as SMART Recovery or AA/NA. These are important, as well as building a new social life that does not revolve around using and treatment. 

At first, life after recovery can be boring and lonely as one begins to rebuild their social life with healthier activities. You may want to look into making friends with people who have a healthy lifestyle by joining a gym, local or online workshops, attending conventions, volunteering, playing sports, dance class, or attending different meetup groups. Learning to enjoy life without drugs or alcohol can be a challenge, but if you are willing to try new things and meet new people, you will begin to feel alive and happy.

5. Pursue Healthy Living 

Committing to living a healthy life can be difficult at first, but you will start to truly enjoy the benefits it gives you over time. Eating nutritious food that fuels your body, mind, and soul will help give you the energy you need to stay focused and motivated. Doing things that bring you a sense of peace, joy, and happiness will also become more second nature over time. 

A good rule to follow with this new schedule is the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time, you stick to the plan, and you allow 20% flexibility, so you are not too hard on yourself if you miss a workout day or eat an unhealthy meal. Life is about balance, and being compassionate and kind to yourself will continue to meet each day as a new one.

6. Build Life Skills

Many individuals after recovery may not have practiced proper life skills much in their life. This involves finding employment and keeping it, keeping one’s house clean and organized, grocery shopping and cleaning, balancing finances and budgets. Many of these life skills may have fallen to the side while the focus was on your addiction. Remember, we can only start from where we are now. Stay compassionate with yourself as you gain more life skills. Remember, there are professionals who can support you with this if you feel lost and unsure.

7. Maintain Calm and Relaxation

Finding time to do activities that bring you to a state of calm and relaxation is important. Doing things like restorative yoga, breathing exercises, meditation, or art can help you link into your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). We are only as resilient as we our ability to get back into this nervous system state. Many are familiar with operating from a place of anxiety, which is a constant state of “fight or flight.” If we work from this place for too long, it can be detrimental to our health and well-being.  

8. Celebrate Successes

Learning how to celebrate without drugs or alcohol can be difficult, but you will get used to it and begin to enjoy it more. Make sure you celebrate life and the small successes! Life is meant to be fun and filled with joy and happiness.

So, What’s Next?

You have made it through an important step in treatment, that is something to be celebrated! But you may still not feel entirely ready to leave the safety of the treatment environment, which is why we have outpatient treatment options available to you! Connect with us today to learn more about ways to protect your newfound sobriety. Call us today at 1-888-952-0438.

Leave a Comment