Overcoming Substance Abuse Once And For All: 3 Tips For Your Journey
Getting sober is a lifelong journey. It might feel overwhelming, once you know you have a problem with substance abuse, to get started on your healing journey. The best early step in getting sober is to enter an inpatient rehabilitation facility, particularly if you need to detox. These programs have constant supervision and offer an immediate safety net. Since the length of these stays is usually thirty days, you’ll need to develop strategies for overcoming your substance abuse on your own back home.
After inpatient rehab, you should continue to build a social safety net of people committed to helping you on your sobriety journey. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are great for building a sober support network and keeping you accountable.
A 12-step program isn’t the only strategy for navigating sobriety. It’s best to have an arsenal of coping mechanisms and life management to help you prevent relapsing. Here are three tips to consider for your life beyond rehab.
1. Change your environment
After leaving rehab, you might be feeling apprehensive about going back to your old life. But your old life, the job, friends, home, and town you were used to are also part of your active addiction. While you might not be able to change every single one of these factors, be very aware of how they influence your substance abuse. It might be best to move to a new place, change your route to work, get a new friend group, or take on a new activity entirely. You might find yourself with more time on your hands. It’s best to fill this by returning to an old hobby or starting something completely new. This is a point in your life when you can reinvent yourself and refocus your energy into productive, soothing, fulfilling hobbies.
2. Identify your triggers
People often abuse drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. In response to stress, trauma, illness, conflict, or other distressing situations, a person might turn to substances rather than coping in a healthy way. It’s crucial for you to identify the things in your life that might make you want to start using again. These might not just be stressful situations and emotions, but also particular people and relationships. Do your best to learn to avoid them (if possible) and to cope with them (if unavoidable). Even after identifying and reckoning with your triggers, you should learn the signs of possible relapse.
3. Learn about addiction
Substance abuse is a complicated disease. There is a wealth of information out there. From self-help books to sobriety memoirs to therapeutic strategies, there’s more literature available now than ever before. Researching your disease and learning everything there is to know is its own kind of armor against it. You might learn from others who have overcome their addictions, even when their situations might look different from yours on the surface. Take this time to also read more than just self-help and addiction narratives! Reading is a healthy coping mechanism. Taking yourself into the fantasy world of literature and learning is a great way to fill your time.
Seeking help on your journey
Overcoming substance abuse is one of the most difficult things a person can do. But it’s not impossible. With a strong social safety net, good therapeutic practices, and lifestyle changes, achieving sobriety is possible. After inpatient rehab, your life is much more open-ended. It’s up to you to create the necessary structures for getting and staying healthy.
If you feel you need more strategies for overcoming and staying sober, please reach out to us to see how substance use counseling can help.