How to Maintain Sobriety after Rehab
The defining characteristic of substance addiction is the inability to resist the urge to drink or use drugs. Until a substance abuser has tried and failed to halt drug use, most individuals believe that can stop and maintain sobriety without professional help. While there are some who succeed, there are usually variables that are unique to the individual. Halting drug use for a short period is possible for most individuals. Chronic substance abuse cause neurological changes and, according to research that is backed up by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) these can persist long after a person has stopped using drugs.
Sudden cessation of drug or alcohol use without specific attention to the psychological component of addiction is a prescription for a relapse event. Studies show treatment programs that allow sufficient time for these deep seated biological changes to be addressed are the most effective in maintaining sobriety after rehab. Activities that support long term sobriety also includes....
- Active participation in a rehabilitation intervention process.
- Treatment for co-occurring mental disorders (dual diagnosis)
- A strong commitment to sustaining sobriety.
- Relapse prevention education and training.
- Receiving ongoing support and encouragement
Drug treatment programs are designed to go beyond halting drug use to understanding the nuances of addiction. In rehab, patients gain insight into their unique triggers, establish new patterns of behavior and build important support systems. When these lifestyle changes are habituated they make long term sobriety plausible when they are carried into daily life.
In addition to participating in a long term rehabilitation program, here are five important steps that may help to sustain sobriety after rehab.
- Examine current friendships and their positive or negative impact on your efforts to stay sober. If the friendships in your life have a deleterious effect on your sobriety, it may be time to let go and form new ones. Addiction is a progressive disease with a deadly prognosis. According to a recent study on young adults, toxic friendships can be a powerful motivator for drug use. The study also indicated that people who return to old haunts and associations with former substance abusers are more likely to relapse when compared to those who spend time with sober friends. Overtime, the urge to use drugs or drink can diminish when people habitually socialize with others who are always sober.
- Evaluate the Neighborhood and move if necessary. This is a tall order but in many cases a necessary step to sobriety maintenance. Communities that are immersed in drug trafficking and abuse are strong relapse triggers. Memory is the primary trigger that cause people in recovery to relapse when they return to these drug havens. Constant exposure to people, places and things that were part of a substance abuse lifestyle can make efforts to sustain sobriety difficult if not impossible. Moving to a new neighborhood is often a big step with priceless benefits relevant to long term sobriety. According to a study highlighted in The Journal of Substance Use and Misuse; moving to a new neighborhood can push the reset button on cravings by providing new landscapes and novel opportunities to explore. Be sure to investigate the new neighbor-hood to ensure that it is safer with less drug related influences and more drug free recreational activities.
- Establish Healthy Routines. Incorporating new ways of living help to turn the focus from old patterns of behavior as new healthier routines are being learned. Paying attention to your health involves bringing holistic practices such as exercise, meditation and nutritionally sound activities learned during rehab into your everyday life. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic reports that regular exercise lowers depression and anxiety levels. Making time to walk, swim, lift weights or jog can improve and enhance feelings of well-being. By establishing healthy routines, people in recovery are also more tuned in to relapse triggers. Early awareness can help to stop a relapse before it segues into a full return to substance abuse. Developing a healthy routine includes the integration of relapse prevention techniques learned in rehab.
- Giving back. According to a study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine helping someone else to achieve sobriety reduces the risk alcohol relapse. Sharing experiences and reviewing efforts to achieve sobriety helps to build alcohol and drug resistance muscles. Becoming involved in support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous makes it easy to participate in a mentoring program. However, giving back can also include helping others with life issues that are unrelated to substance abuse.
- Stay committed to sobriety. Keep in mind the reasons staying sober is important to you and those you love. Consider the consequences of addiction and never take your sobriety for granted. After rehab, a commitment staying clean and sober is the most important commitment that you may ever make to yourself and your loved ones.
At Drug Treatment Centers Willimantic, they can help you find relapse prevention and after care programs because of their significance to long-term sobriety. Call today at (860) 207-8364 let them find you a rehab center that can fit all your needs.