When you complete treatment for addiction, you have already accomplished a major milestone, yet your journey to rebuilding a life in recovery is just beginning. The next phase of getting your life back on track requires making changes to your living environment, working on relationships, and developing an aftercare treatment plan. Making this transition isn’t always easy, but it is rewarding to find new opportunities and start afresh.
Develop an Aftercare Treatment Plan
Just because you are re-entering life doesn’t mean treatment ends. In fact, the support and guidance that you get from aftercare treatment is an essential and ongoing part of recovery. Aftercare treatment plans look different for everyone, but they typically include ongoing and family counseling, 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, and for some people, maintenance medication. Ongoing mental health counseling can help treat any underlying conditions like anxiety or depression, as well as help you learn specific strategies for relapse prevention. Finding a local group where a 12-step program meets is a great way to get the support of others who are in your shoes. Attending regular meetings helps members keep each other accountable, and it can even help you to assist others.
Create a Positive Home Environment
Staying connected to the right resources is only one part of starting out your new life on the right track. Your home environment plays a key role in how you feel, how you respond to stressors and the daily habits you engage in. According to Psychology Today, living in a home that is chaotic or scattered could mean you have similar thoughts going on in your mind. Yet the opposite is also true — you can create a feeling of calmness by creating order at home. One of the most important strategies for preventing relapse is to reduce stressors and find ways to manage anxiety. You can’t avoid everything that causes stress, but your home environment should be a sanctuary that is soothing, somewhere you feel centered and grounded. If parts of your home feel like triggers, such as a specific piece of furniture, change it up so that you can develop new, positive associations with your living space.
Take Everything Into Stride
The transition back to life and your community could be daunting. Many people who are in recovery phase worry about the stigma of addiction and what others will think of them. This means that returning to your old routine, especially going back to work, can be stressful. It’s okay to be a little nervous going into these situations, but you will likely find that making the first step is the hardest. Once you do, each subsequent step will get easier, and you may realize that the skills you have learned in recovery actually makes you better at your job and everything else you do in this next chapter of your life.
Approach Daily Life with a Recovery Mindset
Your new day-to-day life will look very different now, and that involves doing more than simply getting by. You will get more out of life and be more successful in staying sober if you approach everything you do with a recovery mindset, or what HuffPost describes as a “recovery-centric life.” This means actively focusing on daily habits that build up your body and mind through good nutrition, exercise and caring for your mental health. It’s also important to be intentional about who you spend time with. Avoid people from your past who were part of your substance abuse, but you do need to surround yourself with friends and family members who support you in sobriety. Making those connections will keep you from feeling isolated and help you heal and move forward.
Your main focus when getting your life back on track in recovery is to create a life full of meaning and purpose while preventing relapse. When you first get back, everything is new and different, which doesn’t have to be scary, though! Embracing the difference will help you stay calm, modest and allow you to discover the life that is truly meant for you.
Adam Cook is the founder of AddictionHub.org, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is very much interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. His mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.