It is a huge step to admit that you need help. Addressing an addiction is a challenge worth seeing through. Getting clean is the beginning and the end goal is long term sobriety. Life after rehab is just as fragile as life before rehab. Getting back to your life and living it to the fullest deserves the effort it takes.
Getting clean involves admitting that you have a problem. Whether it is drugs or alcohol initially can be painful. In the beginning, addicts and alcoholics will go through withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance, but one thing they all have in common is it is painful and uncomfortable. Avoiding withdrawal, or feeling “sick”, can sometimes keep people from getting clean. There are places called detox that can help with these symptoms. That is why detox is the first place to go when getting clean. It is especially important for people to go to detox because withdrawing from some substances can be potentially fatal. Withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines are extremely dangerous after chronic heavy use. They can cause seizures, hallucinations, heart palpitations, and other health problems. When you begin getting clean you begin to realize the damage that has been done to your body and your life.
A rehab facility is highly recommended after detox. It gives time to adjust to day to day living without substances. It gives your body time to heal, as well. Rehabs offer therapy and help prepare for the transition back into the world. It isn’t easy to feel and experience so much change in yourself and then go back home where nothing much has changed. This is why after care is so important.
There are different types of after care. When leaving a rehab, a recovery specialist will help you find what programs may work best for you. There are different types:
- Outpatient programs
- 12 Step Programs
- Individual or group therapy
Outpatient facilities are places you can go to multiple times a week and check in with counselors or therapists. 12 step programs are made by addicts and alcoholics for addicts and alcoholics. Having people around that truly understand the struggle of addiction can be helpful on a different level. 12 step programs have been around since the 1930s and have helped people around the world.
Outpatient Programs and 12 Step Programs
These programs offer a level of accountability. People get to know you and can tell when something is off or bothering you. It gives you a chance to connect with other people that can understand and offer advice and help. Individual or group therapy is recommended because there are underlying reasons that led life so far off of the rails. These underlying issues may take some effort to work through them, the best part being, you do not have to work through them alone. Talking about hurtful things with someone you can trust can feel freeing. With all of these options, the best part of them all is that you are not alone. There is no more hiding. Life changes after getting clean and working towards long term sobriety. Those changes are for the better.
Addiction is Different For Everyone
That makes treating it different for everyone. But, after care is something that everyone should prepare for. There are reasons that people fall into addictions. Detox and rehabs can help you get the substances out of your body and begin the healing process, but after you leave that healing has to continue. When you return home, the people that have been hurt by your addiction may still be hurt. It is actions and showing real change that can help begin the healing process for your loved ones. Being involved in after care can help avoid relapsing. There is a saying that “relapse is a part of recovery”. It does not have to be.
Building a sound foundation with a solid support system can truly help avoid that. If you have had a rough day and your mind slips back to using, use your support system. Slipping backwards does not only mean going back out to use, it can mean there are some cracks in your foundation that need filling. A relapse begins before you pick up again.
Those moments when you don’t feel as strong as you have been and do not address them- those are the moments when relapses begin. We have lost so many lives to relapses. So, life after rehab has to look and be different. If nothing changes- nothing changes. If you or someone you know is struggling then reach out. If you yourself feel yourself slipping backwards- that call for help is just as important as that first call for help was.