Recovery In The Months After Detox
If you or someone you love has recently embarked on a journey of recovery from drug or alcohol abuse, you’ve probably heard that recovery is a process. Hopefully, when you’ve heard this phrase, it was accompanied by the statement that each person’s process is unique. Everyone’s life circumstances vary and the choice to enter an opiate rehab facility or seek withdrawal help is usually a highly personal decision. There is no blueprint for drug detox or the recovery experience.
There are, however, guideposts that can serve to help make the road you’re traveling much less daunting. The number one thing to remember is that it’s extremely important to be gentle with yourself. Taking a compassionate attitude toward your past drug and alcohol abuse, your present situation, and the journey ahead of you is a great stress reliever. Having a positive, hopeful attitude contributes greatly to your successful completion of the recovery process. You’ve already taken one of the hardest steps there is—admitting that you need addiction help. That alone is a reason to feel proud of yourself. Here are a few more essential pointers on how to get through opiate rehab and the stages of alcoholism after detox with your heart, mind, and self-esteem intact:
Learn to Accept or Admit Your Feelings of Denial or Resistance
Whether you’ve entered an alcohol or opiate detox program voluntarily, because of a legal mandate, or at the urging of a loved one, you’re likely to feel some measure of ambivalence during the early stages of recovery. Your life and your way of coping or relating to others is undergoing a drastic transformation, and even small life changes may be challenging. You may feel resentment, anger, sadness, and even like you’re having a change of heart. Understand that these feelings are perfectly normal and that submitting to a drug and alcohol treatment plan is going to be a long, hard road, especially in the beginning. But it will get easier. Stay focused on the process and lean on your counselors, as well as your loved ones, for support.
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Find a Support Group
In addition to the professional therapy and/or medication you receive as part of your outpatient rehab, community support groups can be an invaluable resource for helping you to stay the course and get through those early days of recovery. Having loved ones to lean on is great, but they don’t always have enough experience or familiarity with addiction to understand what specific things they should do to help you work through your demons. Support groups, such as AA or Narcotics Anonymous, offer the benefit of guidance and advice from counselors who are highly knowledgeable about the many stages of addiction and recovery. One of the best reasons for joining these types of groups, though, is the opportunity to spend time with others who can personally relate to your past experiences with addiction and to your concerns about the road to recovery that lies ahead.
One of the many benefits we offer to our alumni is our Continuum of Care, which helps you find such groups and works with you to ensure you encounter less stress in your initial recovery.
Be Very Selective About Friendships
Most likely, there are people in your life who helped to enable your addiction or who indulged in it along with you. For the purposes of staying on course with your recovery, these kinds of people should be considered toxic and should be avoided. Realistically, this is not just true for people going through drug and alcohol withdrawal. Sometimes, it’s just good to recognize when certain chapters in our lives have come to an end and it’s time to let the people from those chapters go. During the early recovery stages, this is a crucial realization.
Prepare Yourself for Signs of a Relapse
Learn to recognize the triggers or precursors for falling back into your old ways. Some of the most common signs of relapse are:
- Skipping support group meeting or rehab appointments
- Being easily irritated or quick to anger
- Feeling a high degree of negativity or hopelessness
- Feeling overconfident
- Taking unnecessary risks
- Loss of interest in activities that you usually enjoy
In addition to the urges you will sometimes undoubtedly feel, you will also, at some point, come up against PAWS—post-acute withdrawal syndrome. It’s important to mentally prepare yourself for these bumps in the road and to make a plan for action. Again, this goes back to learning to be gentle with yourself. Instead of being upset that you feel strong urges to relapse, take a deep breath and immediately reach out to one or more of the most reliable members of your support system.
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