Addiction recovery is one of the hardest things for an addict to maintain after drug rehab has been completed. No matter how long an individual has been addicted or his or her drug of choice, the process of maintaining one’s recovery requires certain tools and skills that facilitate a healthy and sober life amidst potential triggers and dangerous situations.
When addicts complete their time at addiction rehab, the are often faced with a new set of challenges in the real world that can quickly unravel all that they accomplished in treatment if recovery tools are not properly implemented. Some of the difficulties recovering addicts may face are:
- Encountering people with whom the addict used to drink or use drugs
- Passing by places where the addict used to purchase and/or use drugs and/or alcohol
- Re-entering a contentious relationship with a loved one
- Routines familiar to the addict that were associated with addiction
- Becoming bored, stressed, and/or overwhelmed with life, and falling back into addiction
These various things, among others can be very dangerous for addicts when they are returning home from the safe, sober, and controlled environment of addiction rehab. This is why it is so important to choose a rehab that provides the addiction recovery tools needed for each individual to stay sober in the real world.
What Are Addiction Recovery Tools?
Recovery tools are intended to provide insight and awareness so addicts can
- recognize dangerous people, places, and things that may threaten their sobriety
- build communication skills so addicts can articulate their issues, concerns, needs, and desires, rather than keeping them internalized
- develop and maintain activities and hobbies that promote improved health and are conducive to sobriety
- understand their personal traumas and triggers for relapse
- understand how to handle and cope with stress and disappointment without turning to drugs and/or alcohol
- actively change their lives while maintaining health and sobriety
The recovery tools addicts learn in addiction rehab are life-saving skills, most of which addicts do not have prior to entering treatment. Often, the biggest factor in relapse among recovering addicts is a lack of coping skills, and there are several circumstances under which these skills prove to be crucial for sustained sobriety and recovery from addiction.
Everyone must find a way to cope with life, as there will always be periodic hard times, disappointments, failures, loss, and sadness. For addicts in recovery, many of these issues are addressed in treatment, and many are at the root of the underlying causes for addictive behaviors in the first place. Learning how to cope with hard times is important for any individual, but for addicts whose very lives depend on their ability to do so in an effective manner, it is crucial. In addiction treatment, addicts learn a number of things they can do to help themselves through tough and stressful times in life, and some of those things are:
- Have a trusted support systems that can include therapists, support groups, clergy members, and loved ones who can help work through difficult situations while keeping sobriety a top priority.
- Become involved with healthy, and recovery conducive activities like exercise, hiking, music, meditation, swimming, running, yoga, etc. to stay busy and remain focused on life-improving habits rather than wallowing and allowing uncomfortable situations to linger in the mind.
- Use communication skills learned in treatment to express issues with the individual(s) who may be at the source of the problem.
- If necessary, practice disconnecting from the person, place, or thing that is causing trouble in life
There may be situations that seem insurmountable to a recovering addict, and in these situations, it is highly advised to speak with an addiction counselor to seek guidance. One of the most overlooked coping skills for many recovering addicts is to be able to ask for help.
No one has all of the answers all the time, and especially for addicts in recovery, the help of someone who may have been where they currently are can be invaluable and potentially save them from relapse.
Understanding Personal Relapse Triggers
One of the most complex parts of addiction treatment is getting to the underlying issues that may have contributed to addictive and destructive behaviors. These issues can vary, depending on the individual, but an overwhelming percentage of addicts have some form of trauma or personal turmoil from which they have not recovered. Some examples of things that may be sources of destructive behaviors are:
- Contentious relationships
- Grief or loss
- Mental health issues
- Serious injury or surgery
- Low self-esteem
- Guilt from transgressions against oneself or another
No matter what the underlying cause(s) for addiction may be, unresolved issues can be dangerous triggers for an addict in recovery, and treatment therapy helps addicts to understand these issues, and begin the process of working through them to find resolution. In some cases, there may not be a definitive resolution for an individual, and in this circumstance, coping skills are relied upon to manage emotions associated with the trauma.
Whether an issue is fully resolved within an addict or not, personal relapse triggers can be anywhere, and they can come without notice.
An example may be an addict who suffered tremendous grief over the loss of a loved one, and worked through his or her guilt, regret, and sadness to find resolution, then another close loved one passes away shortly thereafter. This situation may be a personal relapse trigger even though the addict resolved the grief of a previous loss. Life can seem unfair sometimes, and this kind of situation is one in which the most important coping skill, asking for help, may be the answer.
Living in Sobriety
There are many situations that can potentially result in relapse for very personal reasons, but they all come down to one’s ability to cope with life. It is important for an addict to understand the issues and circumstances that may have contributed to his or her addiction, but most important is his/her ability to cope with life and its difficulties.
Everyone goes through hard times, and there is no panacea for all problems. Recovering addicts have a number of resources available to them for coping and managing life’s hard times, and it is just a matter of utilizing these resources and tools to endure life’s ups and downs. Early in recovery, many addicts will find themselves in more situations that may require asking for help above all else, and as time goes by, and they become more acclimated to a sober life, their coping and survival skills will begin to come more naturally, building confidence and strengthening recovery with each day.
Addiction recovery is possible, and millions of addicts are currently in recovery, dealing with life’s difficulties and rewards as they come. Recovery tools are essential to be able to experience all that life has to offer in a healthy and sober way. It is possible, and most rewarding when the first tough time in recovery is handled, and sobriety is maintained.
Addiction Recovery at a Rehab Center
If you, or your loved one are suffering from addiction, or struggling with maintaining sobriety, please call us now and speak with a trained counselor who will be happy to help you either find the rehab to begin the road to recovery, or put you in touch with a program that can assist and facilitate the maintenance of sobriety in the world after treatment. Recovery is a life-long process, and we understand how hard it is to get sober, and the difficulties associated with staying sober. Please don’t wait until it’s too late. Call us now, and let us help you get on, and stay with the road to recovery from addiction.