Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The good news, right? The good news is that you’ve been through rehab and you are finally on the other side; clean, sober and ready to take control of your life again.
However, if you ignore the bad news then you’re setting yourself up for failure and the bad news is that those cravings are not going to go away for a long time. So what can you do to make sure that your hard work isn’t the first step in an endless game of snakes and ladders with addiction?
- Avoid your old hangouts and old friends. This isn’t easy and it can be very tempting to fall off the wagon just once and tell yourself that you can handle your problem and get straight back to your drug-free life afterwards. How did you start taking drugs or drinking? Just one hit or shot, right? That’s how you’ll slip back.
- Enlist the help of your family. If there’s a history and culture of substance abuse at home either with your partner or spouse or even ingrained from your parents’ drug addiction then it may be time for you to help them as much as you need for them to help you. Having rehab buddies to fight the cravings can be an enormous help.
- Focus on the bad times. How often do you see that phrase in any self-help advice? However, when it comes to beating addiction and conquering cravings, going over what you have lost through chemical dependency can be helpful. If you lost your job, home and loved ones through being the person you were, remember the person that you are now is capable of building a new life and building bridges with those they hurt.
Getting sober isn’t easy, but it’s possible. Anyone who has successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program is living proof of that; but there’s more to sobering up than just getting sober. In order to stay straight, many individuals need to find themselves in safe places after rehab that nurture sobriety. Here are some things to consider.
One of the best ways to ensure that sobriety will continually be at the forefront of your mind is to join a sober living community. Usually, the rent and utility costs of such a community are considerably less than getting an apartment of your own, where your mind can take you wherever it wants to go. Sober houses keep emotional cravings at bay by facilitating group discussions and a safe living environment, which allows you to throw all your energy at putting yourself back together.
Outpatient therapy sessions play an important role in many people’s efforts to stay sober. A weekly or bi-weekly commitment to a therapist can give you something to look forward to, which is sometimes all an addict or alcoholic needs to maintain hope. As you recover and begin to reach various legs on your journey to sobriety, having someone to share your accomplishments with on a weekly basis can go a long way towards allowing you to feel better about yourself.
Finally, twelve-step programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, are an invaluable asset to sober living. While both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous remain focused on specific subsets of addiction, the environment that they promote allows the programs to be used interchangeably. Each program holds regular meetings, where as few as two or as many as three hundred people congregate to discuss the twelve-steps as well as numerous other facets of sober living. Both acknowledge extended periods of sobriety and facilitate conversation to encourage acceptance and moving forward.