You feel it. Your initial treatment has ended, and you are facing “normal life” once more. You’ve heard the stories. Relapse. It feels like this looming fate takes so many. You know it could threaten your story, but you desperately do not want to give into it. What do you do?
Once your time in rehab has ended, here are some essential steps you can take to ensure you can embrace life after rehab with confidence:
Find an outlet
You’ve been through treatment. By now, you have a much more clear idea of what put you in need of recovery in the first place: those habits, that pressure, that environment, those people, that thought-pattern. You know, so now you must take steps to relieve those things going on inside you.
You’re going to face triggers, but you can minimize them by avoiding things that you know can set you off. When you do encounter triggers, remember that how you respond is your choice. To help you choose, find an outlet. Find something you enjoy doing (or even something that just takes your mind off the trigger). Then, go at it with all you’ve got.
Find a way to give back
You’ve learned about yourself. About life. About people. You can keep all that to yourself, or you can turn and try to help other people.
You’re not the only one who struggles. You are someone who can offer advice or a warning; you can simply be a person who listens and supports. Find someone younger than you and invest in them like you may wish you would’ve been invested in by others.
Turn your weaknesses into strengths
Maybe it’s when you got around that art crowd and you all started doping afterward. You might be trying to avoid that art scene, but what if you realized that you have a strength in your ability to create things people love and use?
What if you, instead of putting yourself back around those buddies, started using art to make a positive difference? You could avoid the bad influences and avoid temptations of being alone doing the same activities by this: inviting others to learn how you work or working and then taking what you create to other people, people who need what you are making.
You can turn areas that used to weaknesses to you and turn them into areas of strength.
No matter if you feel like you feel like you have a useful habit or talent, the reality is that you are alive and you can choose to learn a new skill, develop a talent, start a conversation, and make a positive impact on the people around you.
When you are trying to live your life and live it fully, some habits are going to have to go (you know that). Other habits and activities, though, need to fill the void. Ask yourself what you’re passionate about or what good you could do with the skills you have, the resources you already possess, the people you know, and the place you live. Get more involved with these or learn something new in one of these areas. Then, do something.
Try a list
Admittedly, lists can be dangerous because unrealistic goals lead to disappointed when they’re broken. This is fertile ground for burnout.
However, what if you made a different kind of list? What if you made a list of new activities you’ve always wanted to try but never had? To get your mind off self-pity, you make a list that records one new thing you try every day or a list where you write down things you are thankful for throughout each day.
One list can be most powerful: a replacement list. When you are wanting to focus on yourself, on how bad your life is and on how hard you struggle, instead decide on a few people person on whom you are going to focus. Then, start a list of the ways you invest in those people. Each time you make a new investment, write it down. Jot down each conversation, each text, and each shared experience.
You see, little by little, your life can change for the better because of what you’ve experienced. You can move forward; you can make a difference.
It’s your choice.
The Recovery Village at Palmer Lake aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.