As victorious as recovery feels, it doesn’t end with rehab. It continues one day at a time for the rest of your life. Along the way, most addicts do relapse. But whether or not this turns out being a temporary misstep, or a complete backslide in your former life, is up to you. Here are four principles that will help you stay clean.
- Develop a new routine.
No one knows the power of habit quite like an addict. Some aren’t even aware of how deeply substance abuse is ingrained into their daily lives until they try to do routine tasks while sober. This can be incredibly challenging, which is why you must create a fresh daily routine to match your new start.
This includes healthier sleep habits and regular meals, but can also impact what routes we drive, which stores we visit, and where we decide to work. Many in recovery find that moving away and beginning in an entirely new place is the most effective way they can avoid prompt relapse.
- End toxic relationships.
It goes without saying that one clean and sober partner will be incredibly challenged staying with one who still uses. Still, any relationship where emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse takes place is a trigger.
It’s not just about avoiding the addictive substance; you must extricate yourself from relationships that could lead you into wanting to use. On top of this, you no longer have room for relationships with people who don’t take your addiction seriously and are unsupportive of your sobriety.
- Connect with other people and activities.
For some people in recovery, the ending of toxic relationships can find them feeling rather lonely, like there is no one left who knows what they’re going through. But on the bright side, here’s an opportunity to forge new relationships, or strengthen existing ones with people who want to be there for you and support you.
Speak about how you’re feeling with people you trust. Don’t assume that they’re not interested, or won’t “get it”. They can only be supportive if you let them in. And while you’re at it, try something new to fill your free time. Running, knitting, fixing cars – it only matters that you enjoy the distraction.
- Keep up with your treatment.
Far and away, this is the one rule that can make or break your recovery. Follow the advice of your therapist or doctor when it comes to counseling, medication, and more. Rehab facilities like those found at https://arcproject.org.uk/rehab-centres know that the work you do after rehab is every bit as important.
Attend group sessions and meetings if recommended, and actively stay on top of your steps. Becoming complacent and “forgetting” your addiction is a sure way to suddenly find yourself back at the bottom.
Finally, always remember what we said at the start – relapses of all sizes and scales are very common. If you do relapse, it’s vital that you don’t lose hope or feel as though you’ve “ruined” your progress. Revisit your guiding principles often, and you can get clean as many times as is necessary.