Drug rehab is tough – but actually the first weeks and months post-rehab might be even tougher. In rehab there was a 100 percent supportive environment committed to your recovery and well-being. After drug rehab, life in all its complexity is there every morning and evening loaded with triggers that can trip up all your best intentions. Just accepting that this is how life is can be a major step toward staring down the fear and anxiousness that normal life can bring. Still, there are a few practical strategies that can also help make the passage smoother.
1. Enlist the help of another
Call this person a sponsor – or don’t – but, find someone you can trust whom you can call when life’s pressures feel like they’re pressing down on you.
2. Use HALT
Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired – each of these can be a trigger for an intense emotional reaction and therefore for a relapse. Eat well, get plenty of regularly scheduled sleep, stay around encouraging people and deal quickly and appropriately with anger.
3. Find somewhere to give
Giving to others is fulfilling. Find a place to volunteer feeding the hungry, visit the elderly, take time to engage with the handicapped. If you can’t volunteer, be sure to build one new friendship – thinking of how you can be the giver in the relationship.
4. Have some fun
Take an exercise or art class and just have some fun. Take the dog to the park at least twice a week and throw a Frisbee or play fetch. Attend free library events. Share the funny papers with someone. What did you enjoy when you were a kid? Can’t you still enjoy it?
5. Improve existing relationships
Find ways to work on relationships that were damaged during your addiction. Confess to the person how your choices hurt them and allow them to tell you more. Verbalize your strong commitment to making changes beyond drug rehab. If their words are too painful at first – contact your ‘sponsor’ for some support.