If you were to ask a substance abuser if they would like to stay sober, the answer would be an emphatic yes. But substance abuse is a vicious cycle and without careful consideration of how it will affect their life after treatment, substance abusers can fall back into old habits without even realizing it. It’s imperative that substance abusers know what steps need to be taken in order to avoid relapse after an addiction recovery program.
Recognizing The Problem
Recovery from substance abuse often comes with relapses. If you go through a substance abuse treatment program, it does not mean that you will never use drugs or alcohol again. In fact, substance abuse relapse rates are very high—especially during the first year after treatment is completed, and according to toprehab.net, it is imperative to find the best possible institution for help. Recovery from substance abuse can be difficult to sustain without outside help and support groups.
In order for substance abusers to recover from addiction, they need to address all of the underlying issues that led them to use drugs in the first place. A substance abuser must learn how to deal with stress, find healthy ways of dealing with emotions, build up their self-esteem and create better coping mechanisms.
How to Stay Sober
There are many techniques for staying sober and fighting those inner demons that are trying to bring back old habits. Some of them are very difficult, like having to say goodbye to old friends who had a very bad influence, while others are easy, like writing a diary in order to keep the mind sharp. So once an abuser becomes sober they should take some of the following steps:
- Altering the Environment
In order to stay sober, substance abusers should remove all of the items that contributed to their substance abuse habits. This includes the drugs and alcohol that were used as well as any paraphernalia they acquired. As a rule of thumb, you want to make your living environment as boring as possible, because substance abuse is fueled by excitement and action which can be easily found in recreational activities like clubbing or playing video games.
If you are trying to alter your environment then you will need to change your lifestyle drastically. It means you cannot go back to old ways—and this includes not only substance abuse but also friends who don’t help with recovery (and family members if needed). It is important to surround yourself with supportive family members, substance abuse counselors, and substance abuse treatment facilities for help when you need it.
- Diet Change
Food has a great impact on substance abuse and those recovering should know that even without drugs, they will risk falling back into substance abuse if their diet does not change. You want to avoid foods that contain refined sugar, like candy bars and soft drinks, as well as foods that are rich in saturated fats which can also trigger substance abuse. Instead, you should opt for whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
- Find Work
Due to many reasons, and especially the War on Drugs, substance abusers have a hard time finding a regular job, particularly a high-paying one. Therefore, it is of great interest to find a job that will also aid substance abusers in their recovery. Many substance abusers find jobs at substance abuse treatment facilities where they can put their life skills to good use and work as counselors, doctors, or administrators.
If you are not fortunate enough to get hired at a substance abuse facility, then your next best bet is entering the healthcare industry as a medical assistant. This field of work is fast-paced and requires those working there to be on the move constantly—both qualities that substance abusers need and thrive on.
Follow a Strict Routine
If nothing else could help, if the job market is saturated, if there are no friends to turn to, then the best option is to create a regular and strict routine to follow every day. This helps by developing new habits in place of old ones that have been shown to lead to problematic behavior. For example, a one-hour long walk in the evening, every evening, instead of going to the bar.
The substance abuse recovery process is difficult and it can be easy to fall back into old habits. However, there are some things that you can do to avoid this oncoming relapse after an addiction recovery program. The key here is staying vigilant of your thoughts and emotions while also taking the time to learn about the triggers in your life that may cause a substance use disorder relapse. It’s important not only for yourself but also for those around you who care about you like family members or friends.