Updated on 2/1/23
Immediately following treatment, you will likely experience a sense of accomplishment, relief, pride and excitement. While it might feel like these feelings of euphoria will last, they don’t. The challenges of recovery are not all in your rearview after treatment. Now you must face the challenges of everyday life, which may create feelings of fear, doubt and confusion. However, with proper planning, your journey can become one of the most rewarding ventures you will ever experience. It is essential to utilize the tools gained in recovery and develop a routine and practices that are congruent with your journey to help you stay healthy and sober.
#1 Make a Plan in Treatment
Don’t wait until after addiction treatment to start planning for life outside of treatment. Waiting to plan makes for a more challenging transition into your everyday life and can leave you feeling frazzled and not knowing what to tackle first. Treatment is about building a foundation where you will attain tools that you can use to keep building on this foundation. Using resources achieved during treatment, such as therapists, doctors and focus groups, helps you develop concrete ways to change your life and meet your goals after treatment. Think about where you see yourself living, working and the people you will interact with consistently. Envisioning such things helps you create goals grounded in what you desire to be.
Understand that life is sometimes unpredictable. You never know when or where the challenges will come from; however, taking the time to understand your triggers can help you prepare to combat stressful situations. Waiting until you are in the thick of a triggering situation can be detrimental, which is why identifying these triggers before leaving treatment can instill resilience and confidence. Ultimately, before leaving treatment, you will want to work with others to determine where the negative influences might lie outside of treatment and plan to prevent these dangers from happening so you can continue to move forward. When you develop a plan, you will leave your treatment feeling like you have direction and purpose. Even if the plan changes, that’s okay; it is better than the alternative of not knowing what to do.
#2 Find a Hobby Outside of Treatment
After years of substance use, you may feel emotionally numb, and it takes work to bring balance back to your emotions. Finding a hobby that you can be passionate about helps you experience feelings that you might not have otherwise felt in some time. Hobbies do this by keeping the brain’s reward system healthy, allowing you to experience feelings of satisfaction not related to a substance. Such an experience is healing for your mental and physical health. A new hobby in life after treatment can also help you cope in difficult times, such as filling time to defend against boredom, where dangerous behaviors might occur.
Hobbies also help you rebuild your self-worth and confidence. The sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing a project, reading a book or playing an instrument helps your recovery feel more meaningful. Achievements that come from hobbies also create good habits, routines and schedules – they act like small stepping stones toward realistic goals. The more you explore a hobby, the more momentum in self-confidence and personal growth you create. You might also get back in touch with a goal or dream you had before using substances and develop this dream into a career opportunity.
A hobby can become a social experience — you can participate in an art class, exercise class or discover a local volunteer opportunity. These are all great ways to meet new people that will create supportive and healthy relationships for your recovery.
#3 Keep Your Support System After Treatment
One of the biggest detriments to your recovery and during your life after treatment is becoming isolated from people. Continuing to participate in 12-step programs provides incredible resources when establishing your new way of life after treatment. Keeping yourself motivated to attend meetings or group sessions to stay in contact with others will hold you accountable. When you have a support system that includes others from recovery, you allow yourself to be surrounded and become inspired by those who have overcome similar situations.
A therapist or counselor can also continue to work with you on coping mechanisms and thinking in healthier ways. Therapy helps you identify your thought patterns to understand better why you react and behave in specific ways to certain things. The more understanding you have of yourself, the more you can prepare to overcome difficult situations. Therapy and counseling should be an ongoing practice throughout your entire recovery journey and life after treatment.
Defining and establishing a new normal after treatment can be intimidating at first, but it is important to remain optimistic and take things one step at a time. The more you understand yourself, the better you can prepare for the life of recovery that you desire. At New Hope Ranch, residential rehab treatment near Austin, Texas, we provide the tools needed to help you establish your life of recovery. We will also work with you to develop an aftercare plan, whether it enables you to pursue a career or seek a sober living situation. Our main priority is to ensure that you have the tools you need to regain your self-confidence and worth so you may move independently through life. To learn more, reach out to New Hope Ranch today at (737) 600-8565.