The first days after a programme of rehabilitation can be quite tough as you try to settle back into life at home. This part of your journey will test you like no other. If you have spent time living in a residential clinic with no distractions and constant access to support, it may be tough for you to suddenly find yourself back in the real world. It can be a struggle to deal with the temptations that are all around you, but if you prepare yourself and keep your recovery firmly in your mind, you should be able to make it through unscathed. Below are a few things you need to remember during the early days of recovery:
- You did not choose to become an addict. Therefore, you are not responsible for this. However, you did choose to get help, and it is your responsibility to work hard to stay sober. It is your job to maintain your sobriety and to do all you can to prevent a relapse.
- You need to change your life if you want to stay clean. You cannot go back to the life you were living before rehab. You need to change the people you socialised with (if you drank or took drugs with them), and you need to stop going to the places you used to go to. Your job is to avoid temptation at all costs, so changing your life is a must.
- You must be prepared to deal with the shifting emotions you are likely to experience during these early days as feelings such as fear, loneliness, depression and anxiety can all lead to relapse if you do not know how to deal with them.
- You have probably identified many of your triggers and cues while in rehab, but you need to be constantly alert to the dangers of other temptations and triggers that you are not aware of yet.
- Make a point of becoming involved in the fellowship meetings you attend. Be a part of the group and the meeting, as you will get more from it if you do. Speak to other members and help out where necessary. By doing this, you are more likely to want to stay clean and sober.
One Day at a Time
It is crucial that you learn to take things one day at a time. As you get through each day without returning to alcohol or drugs, you should be proud of yourself. Each day you stay clean is another day further away from the person you were while addicted.
Staying focused on your recovery is something you need to do now and until you feel stronger; other areas of your life will need to take a back seat. You need to put all your energy into staying sober, and this has to come before anything else including your family, job, and hobbies. This might sound selfish, but you really must concentrate on staying clean at this stage. You will have plenty of time to give to other areas of your life when you are feeling better.
Setting Your Priorities
Your priority has to be your illness and to recover from it. If you were recovering from cancer, you would be expected to put all of your energy into getting well again, so the same attention needs to be placed on your addiction. At the end of the day, your family will benefit once you are sober and are confident that you can stay sober.
This means sticking with your meetings, changing your lifestyle, and working hard to stay clean at all times.