Author: David Beeshaw
Going through addiction treatment may be the hardest thing that you have ever done, but it will all be for nothing if you can’t get back into normal life afterwards. Many people find it difficult to make the transition, and this can lead to relapses as well as other problems. Here are some tips to help you make that transition smoothly, and to take control of your life again.
Start during treatment
The first stage begins while you are still undergoing your treatment. Think about how you are going to cope with life on the outside without your addiction. Learn to recognise the signs of an imminent relapse, and how to control yourself at those times. Think about your triggers and figure out how to avoid them – and what you will do when confronted with them. Try talking to your friends and family about the support that you will need on the other side.
Take it slow
Don’t expect things to be easy right from the start. A transition is a gradual process, and you can’t rush it. The pace of life may be different from what you are used to, and you may find yourself with free time now that you no longer have your addiction to swallow it up. Don’t expect to be able to go home, see the same faces and go to the same places where your addiction ruled, and be able to resist right away. Start with the safest environments and work from there.
One thing that you may wish to do is to make amends for the things you did while you were addicted. It might be that a simply apology is enough. It might be that you need to work, pay, or make up for things in some other way to make everyone happy. The important thing is that you close the book on that chapter of your life by making amends for everything in it. If you are still feeling guilt over things you have done, reintegration therapy and meditation will really help to let go of that guilt and start over. If you let the guilt remain, it will only damage your future.
Replace your addictive habits
In order to get back to normal life, you might actually have to create a new normal. The people and things you did before might not be suited to a recovering addict, and so this means starting again. Find new friends who are not addicted, and who will lead you in a healthy direction. Take up exercise or a new hobby which can fill your time. You could even take up charity work if you wanted to pay back to society. Make sure that you eat and sleep well so that both your body and your mind are healthy and well rested. If faith helped to get you through your treatment, then now is a good time to recommit to your faith, perhaps by taking part in faith groups.
Make new goals
Part of normal life is moving forwards. Make some new goals for yourself, either to do with your fitness, your career, your hobby, or so forth. These goals will give you something to work towards, and when you feel that relapse is near, it may help to focus on these and how much you would be throwing away if you gave up now.
Getting back to normal certainly isn’t easy after addiction treatment, but it is far from impossible. With a support network, a positive outlook, and plans for moving forward, you can do it.