One thing that we have come to understand about addiction is that it is a lifelong disease. No one is cured of addiction; they simply are always in a state of recovery from it. Someone who has been sober for ten, twenty, or thirty years can still relapse, which is not failure but a chance to fight back even stronger. With any disease, the cause of it needs to be discovered before any treatment can begin. When patients enter inpatient treatment, this is the time where doctors, therapists, and psychiatrists will work with the patient to find this underlying cause for addiction. Once they find it, they confront it and learn how to deal with it in a healthy, productive way to give the person help with long-term recovery.
For a lot of people who suffer from addiction one of the main triggers is their co-occurring disorder such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mood or personality disorders. Once these disorders are discovered and treated in the correct and healthy way, many people find they do not need their substance as much as they thought. So how do you maintain your sobriety and long-term recovery after your inpatient treatment is over? Here are the top ways to help with long-term addiction recovery and sobriety.
Get a Continuum of Care
Being offered and using a continuum of care is one of the easiest and most helpful long term recovery strategies. The last thing you want to do after completing an inpatient treatment program is to jump back into your old life. You shouldn’t deal with all the stressors and triggers before you are ready to handle them on your own. One of the biggest aids in recovery is the support system that develops with your family, your physicians, and other patients and alumni. They can help you maintain a sober lifestyle. Using this support system and the continuum of care makes this transition much easier. Most patients transition from inpatient care to partial day treatment (PHP). PHP allows patients the most structure and care in an outpatient setting allowing them time off-campus.
After they have achieved their goals in the PHP program and therapists feel like they are ready for more of the everyday challenges they can start in our intensive outpatient care program. This program allows patients even more time off-campus. They can use this time to live at home with their families or maintain a job while still using the program as support.
Another thing to consider when thinking about help for long term recovery is sober living. This living situation ensures you are in a clean and safe environment that supports your sobriety. Being a part of the aftercare and alumni programs gives you access to support and education. Seminars will help you address new challenges you may face with your sobriety and alumni meetings make you feel more connected and know that you are not the only one going through this. Take advantage of these programs and make sure that you place your sobriety as a priority in your life.
Allow For New Beginnings
One of the biggest complaints from newly sober patients once they have completed treatment is boredom. All the time they used to spend finding, using their substance, and being drunk or high is now empty. One of the first things patients need to do to help long term recovery is to remove these negative people from their lives so that they cannot be a negative impact on their sobriety. Many newly sober people need to make new sober friends or at least people who respect their sobriety and work to make sure they are not triggering or tempting the patient.
During treatment patients receive recreational therapy and learn the importance of physical activity. Patients will experience many new and old activities during recreational therapy and if you enjoy something, turn it into your new hobby. If you enjoy bowling, join a bowling league. If you enjoying skiing, go skiing as much as possible. Going out and doing these new things will take up your time. You won’t be bored. Additionally, in a group setting, you can meet new people and make new friends who have similar interests. Make sure these people support your sobriety and won’t be negative influences on your sobriety. Many new friends can also be made through the program and within the alumni community. These relationships can help your long term recovery. Find sober activities here.
Remember What You Learned in Treatment
It is important to remember what you learned in treatment to help with long term recovery. Use some of the techniques taught in sensory integration therapy to relax if you feel anxious or stressed. If you were prescribed medications for any co-occurring disorders, make sure that you continue to take those when and how the doctor told you to. Also, remember to be careful with new prescriptions, especially opiates. Don’t forget the support group that you have. If you need to go to a 12-Step meeting, then go, or talk with a counselor about something that happened that day that is making you want to use. You do not have to deal with the stressors and triggers of life by yourself just because you finished treatment. Use the support system that you have to help with long term recovery.
Make a Plan To Avoid Relapse
Before you finish treatment, you will work with therapists to come up with a plan about where you will be staying, how often you will go to meetings, and other fundamental decisions. You will acknowledge that there will be stressors and triggers and plan on how to avoid and/or deal with those. Make plans not to visit places where you used to get or use the substance as well as not to communicate with people who influenced your use. Learn what your triggers and stressors are and how to handle them in a healthy manner. Plan on what you will do if you have a craving whether it be going to a meeting or just sampling taking the time to relax.
The most important thing to do is to be ready for these triggers and cravings. Know how to handle them and how to get through them sober. The longer a recovering addict is sober the easier it becomes to remain sober.
Are You Struggling in Your Recovery?
If you or a loved one is struggling in recovery and has relapsed, please reach out to our admissions team to help with long term recovery. Our coordinators can review your benefits and find the best course of action so you can be healthy and happen again. We offer a variety of programs, including:
- Heroin addiction treatment
- Alcohol addiction treatment
- Cocaine addiction treatment
- Meth addiction treatment
- Opioid addiction treatment