What Happens Next? The Real Recovery

What Happens Next? The Real Recovery

Withdrawal is over; you have gone through detox, rehab, or managed it yourself at home. Well done! Now what? This feeling occurs to many addicts and it certainly seems like you are lost in the wilderness. You know what’s behind you, but you don’t really want to go back there. You have no idea what’s in front of you and that can be terrifying.

This is a time that an addict is at high risk for relapse – as the author Johann Hari covers in his book, “Chasing the Scream”, social isolation can be one of the primary drivers of addiction. You may have had to leave friends behind because they are addicts and may be estranged from family or friends who are clean due to situations that arose as a result of your addiction. So, how do you move forward? What do you do next with this brand new life you’ve been given? The main thing to do is avoid relapse, so here are some things you can do to stay sober and start rebuilding.

Have a Recovery Plan in Place

The most important thing as soon as you’ve made it through withdrawal is keep a steady routine that will prevent relapse. Depending on what your substance of choice has been through the years, withdrawal may have been remarkably tough, even life-threatening at times.  This doesn’t mean that you won’t want to go back to using straight away though. Your mind is still damaged and you will experience overwhelming cravings at times. Having a recovery plan in place and sticking to it is one way to avoid pitfalls. This is something you can draw up with a therapist to help you get through the difficult times. Having a routine and continuing with your plan is the best way to prevent relapse. Don’t get complacent, and think you’ve been doing well that can mess with your routine – it is a red flag waving relapse at you.

Find After Care Solutions

Although detox and rehab are more widely covered, as nothing else can happen without first getting clean, there are care recovery services out there too. If you have attended rehab, then they may have told you about some in your area, but this goes beyond sober living and meetings. You need to find new purpose, new friends, and maybe even a new job. Living a sober life doesn’t mean living a dull life and you need to surround yourself with people of the same mind set. In New York, BIGVISION is helping people out and there are more communities like this across the country. Inquire at meetings, look at community noticeboards, and ask your sponsor. This could be the key to a whole new world for you.

Understand Your Triggers

There are certain triggers for different people. Physical pain is a huge risk for those in recovery. If you are in an enormous amount of pain, then of course the inclination is to make that pain go away. This can be particularly hard for opioid addicts who struggled with drugs as a result of being prescribed pills for pain. Here are some other common triggers you should be aware of:

  • HALT: Hungry, angry, lonely, tired. These everyday feelings can be a problem for an addict. Try to avoid these by having meals planned in advance, a sleep schedule, and places to go to every day so that you’ll see people. Anger might be more difficult but if you take up yoga or meditation it will be easier to control.
  • Celebrating: If you get a new job or attend a wedding or birthday party, you might decide that a little celebration is ok. Being happy and elated is fine – using any substance to get you there, no matter how little, is not. Don’t celebrate with drugs or alcohol.
  • Romantic relationships: It’s probably best to avoid these for a while. It can be hard to make room for someone new in your life when you are getting to know yourself after drugs or alcohol. Also, if you fight or break up, this could cause you to relapse.
  • Pre-existing mental health issues: One of the reasons that some people use is because their mental health issues have never been treated. If you suffer from any mental health issues, then get help. It can be painful dealing with these, but substances don’t change any of that, they only mask the pain.


Don’t underestimate the power of shut-eye. Eating plenty of fresh produce and vegetables will help fix your body, but nothing else has the restorative powers of sleep. Eight solid hours of sleep can make you feel amazing.

When you abuse drugs or alcohol, it affects your sleep. REM (rapid eye movement) sleep resets your neurotransmitters and regulates the chemicals in your body. Your equilibrium has been completely thrown off when you have been taking drugs or drinking, so it will take some time to effectively get back into a healthy pattern. Try to sleep at night, but if you need a nap by day, then it’s okay to take an hour. Don’t sleep too long though, all that daylight is important for your health and sitting around in the witching hour doesn’t help anyone, especially those who don’t struggle with substance abuse.

A Balanced Approach

A busy routine is important, but don’t throw yourself into everything at once. Although there are certain things that happen in every rehabilitation programs, such as daily meetings and psychological evaluations, your treatment plan is specifically tailored for you. If you don’t feel that you’d like one place – don’t worry, you can probably find another rehab facility in state. The good news is that rehab facilities are on the up, and plenty of research goes into what works, so there are new therapies and approaches available in different places. You can find your place, even if you’ve relapsed after being in another place. With almost 14,000 treatment facilities across the nation, you could try a new one every few months and you still wouldn’t get through them all.

No Time For Boredom

Something very few people mention is how busy your days can be in rehab. There’s no time to idle about, dwelling on your cravings or the mistakes that you have made. Your time is filled with different activities – from therapy to exercise, group discussions where you engage your mind, films, walks, crafts, and games. It’s surprising how much you can get done when your whole day doesn’t revolve around drinking or taking drugs.

Healthy Food

Restoring your body to health is a holistic thing. You can’t expect to be scoffing fried foods and cake whilst attempting to repair your body and mind after years of abuse. Most rehabs have really good food and this helps with healing your mind too. Beginning your day with a healthy breakfast fuels the brain for all the change that you are doing. Topping up on your veggies and fruit helps undo some of the damage that has happened from abusing a toxic substance. It can also get you into the habit of eating healthy and give you a routine that you have probably been missing while you were in the clutches of your addiction.

Get Some Peace

The world is chaotic and crazy, even at the best of times. Taking some time out to go to rehab brings serenity into your life when you need it most. Most rehab facilities are not located in the middle of downtown, with a grunge bar on one side and an all night diner on the other! Even if you think about rehab, you can probably envision a garden and trees; places that you can sit still and appreciate the birds singing. No matter how energetic you are, everyone needs some down time and when you are attempting to quit a substance once and for all, there shouldn’t be any madness drawing your focus. So, enjoy the calm.

Getting Sober

Many people talk about the science of addiction, but not the science of recovery. We are spending more time and money finding out the reasons why people get addicted, which is fantastic, but for more than 23 million people in this country in recovery it’s important to have answers and hope for a better future. Check out care recovery services in your area and it will be easier to find all the good in your sober life. You may find yourself living for things that you never even dreamed possible.

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