People who have been through successful treatment for drug or alcohol abuse are not out of the woods after they have left the rehab center. Ex-addicts who leave rehab and go back to their daily lives have to struggle every day to remain sober. Every single ex-addict will have to deal with the temptation of using their drug of choice just one more time.
The ex-addict might tell himself/herself that he will use just one time and then never use it again. This is a foolish hope. If they give in to that temptation even once and indulge themselves by using the drug or having just one drink, they are almost guaranteed to take it a second time, and then a third time, and very quickly, they will turn into full blown addicts once again.
Preventing drug relapse is of extreme significance for all ex-addicts. If you are a recovering addict who has left rehab after a drug or alcohol addiction, then you should be justifiably proud of your achievement. Read the following points to learn how you can stay sober and avoid falling back into your old habits.
Change your social circle
This is the first thing that you should do after you leave rehab. Most drug users get started in their drug habits by using with their friends. You may have a certain group of friends who you used to use with. They can be your stoner friends, your drinking buddies or a group of friends with whom you shot up hard drugs. Whatever the extent of your drug use was with those friends, it is extremely important that you do not meet those friends.
This is not to say that you should never meet those friends again in your entire life. You can meet them after you have remained sober for a long time, such as a year or two. However, right after you leave rehab and re-enter the world, you will have to force yourself to not go and score your drug of choice right away. You will have to fight the urge to call your dealer and buy your usual amount of drugs.
This self control of yours can get challenged, or shatter completely, if you meet with a friend who is using your drug of choice at that time. If you see that friend using the substance in front of you, or if you even know that he/she has that drug in their possession at that time, the temptation may become too great for you to resist. You may end up sharing a drink or a joint or a needle with them, just like old times. If you do that, pretty soon, you will end up right back where you started before you went to rehab.
While this may seem like a harsh thing to do, it is vital that you stick to this decision. If those friends reach out to you, tell them in plain and simple terms why you cannot meet them. Even if they promise not to let you use any drugs while in their presence, if they are still using, you cannot be around them and be safe from relapse. Once you have gotten the knack of being sober again for a long time, you can consider meeting those friends. Till then however, stay away.
Delete your dealer’s phone number
If your addiction was to an illegal substance, you most likely got that substance through your dealer by getting in touch with him through telephone. Despite your decision to stay sober, you will have moments of weakness when you are craving just one hit of your drug of choice and you might end up calling your old dealer and scoring, just like before. To ensure that this does not happen, delete all phone numbers you have of any drug dealer as well as any friends who you know can score for you.
Change your lifestyle
Now that you are out of rehab and aren’t seeing your old friends, you might feel that you have nothing to do. You will have to make a big effort to keep boredom away at all costs. In all likelihood, it was boredom that got you started experimenting with drugs and alcohol in the first place. The best way to deal with this problem is to find new hobbies.
Analyze yourself, your likes and interests. Do you like music? Join a music club. Do you like books? Join a book club. If you like physical activity, join an adventure club. If you like helping people, join a charity.
There are countless groups and activities that you can become a part of. These activities will keep you busy and you won’t get bored enough to think about getting a drink or some other substance. Another major benefit of this will be that you will get to meet a lot of new people, and most of them will most likely be sober and drug-free people. Make new friends and become a part of their lives.
Once you start enjoying your new social circles and lifestyle, you will start to wonder why you ever thought that you needed to use drugs to feel happy. Physical activity and positive social interactions will give you a high that is better than drugs could ever give you.
Mistakes can happen
According to a study, about 40 to 60 percent of people who leave rehab can relapse. So there is a chance that you may end up relapsing as well. To err is only human. If you do slip up and relapse, don’t beat yourself up about it and don’t think that you are a failure who will always be an addict. If you end up using one time after leaving rehab, do not lose hope.
After you come down from the drug high, contact a close friend or family member immediately. Admit to them about your relapse and ask them to help you get back on your feet. This might entail going back to rehab, or you may just have to live with them under supervision for a period of days or a week or two.
Set goals and have faith in yourself
After leaving rehab, set some solid goals for yourself. These can be practical goals, such as getting a job or getting a degree or diploma, or it be an emotional goal, such as creating a new social circle or joining a club or group to perform some healthy activities. Do whatever will help you keep your mind off drugs and alcohol and always have faith in yourself. If you start doubting yourself, your chances of relapse will increase.
Stay strong and you will learn the joys of sober life. If you have any tips or suggestions of your own, please feel free to comment below and share them with us.