When someone with a substance use disorder leaves rehab, such as an inpatient addiction treatment program, what next? In rehab, you have withdrawn from the physical addiction and begun the healing process with therapy, group support, and other evidence-based protocols. Knowing how to move forward in your recovery is a vital step in the process. What life after rehab looks like depends significantly on your ability to engage the life skills that will support your sobriety. An excellent addiction recovery program will offer a range of aftercare options to help ease the transition. We can also help you practice and reaffirm your sober living skills.
Would you like to discuss how Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) helps clients post-discharge with ongoing support? If so, reach out to talk to one of our knowledgeable and compassionate staff members by filling out the online form or calling 844.442.8673 today.
6 Life Skills for Addiction Recovery
The first stage of relapse, emotional relapse, comes before physical relapse but is part of the entire process. When your thoughts and behaviors take a turn and seem to undermine the work you’ve put into your recovery, you may not be using again. However, you are heading that way. The life skills for recovery outlined below will help you avoid physical relapse by averting emotional relapse and maintaining physical habits intended to supersede the habits of your addicted life.
This term is used often nowadays, and for a good reason. We understand more than ever the links between mind and body and the long-term costs of emotional and physical exhaustion. Self-care for addiction recovery includes:
- Getting good sleep
- Eating well
- Calling upon learned strategies for coping with depression and anxiety
Self-care can also include things that give you a sense of pleasure or hope, like music, fresh air, or hobbies like painting or gardening. Self-care is not selfish; it is healthy.
Achievable goals are empowering because you can find success when you meet them and establish a pattern of setting goals to enrich your life experience. Addiction can leave you feeling hopeless as if nothing is attainable. As you begin your recovery, use the opportunity to move forward so you prevent the old ways from returning. Make sure your goals are ones you can reach but that challenge you enough that you’ll feel great when you do. A goal can be anything from taking a daily walk to volunteering to taking a class.
Well-managed time helps you fill your days in meaningful ways. Now, most of your time is not spent thinking about, acquiring, using, and recovering from drugs or alcohol. These thoughts are a large part of the life of someone struggling with addiction. You may have forgotten what life was like before when you had time to do other things. Linked to goal-setting, managing your time makes it easier to reach those goals. Use a calendar app or planner to organize your days, including work time (or job-hunting time), recreation, sober-living skill practice, self-care, etc.
Chances are many of the people with whom you associated prior to rehab were linked to your drug or alcohol use. They used with you and encouraged, validated, and normalized your addictive behavior. Being sober can feel very lonely until you forge new relationships. During rehab and aftercare, you meet others on the journey with you, and with luck, some of those people will become friends. Not everyone you meet in support groups will be friend-material, but now that you are looking at others through a different lens, not the lens of addiction but one of healthy connection, you’ll find your tribe. Remember to be honest about your recovery, clear about your needs, wants, and boundaries, listen openly, express your emotions freely and with vulnerability, and stay alert to triggers. If you are in a social situation and feel triggered, tell someone and ask if they’ll leave with you.
Regardless of how you support yourself, via disability, a job, or unemployment, your finances will look different now that you are not spending so much on alcohol or drugs. Whether you are working or looking for work, create a clear budget that accurately reflects your living expenses and income. Gaining a modicum of control over your finances is empowering. Rather than feeling surprised at the end of the month, you will know what to expect when you look at your bank balance. Set a money-saving target when you are doing your goal-setting.
This list started with self-care because taking care of yourself is the most important thing in your sobriety. But the meaningful, enriching experience of helping others in need provides an emotional anchor for your sobriety that cannot be underestimated. Whether it is a friend going through a tough time, struggling people seeking nourishment and companionship at a soup kitchen, or sick children you can read to in a local hospital, you will feel good when you offer your hand in support of others. Your sobriety will be supported by the inner peace you can find in such acts of grace.
Learn More at Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
The addiction recovery programs at PAATC usher clients from detox to discharge, and beyond. We help you manage life beyond rehab. Through various sober activities, group support opportunities, and ongoing therapy, the professional staff at PAATC will coach, encourage, and empower you to use the life skills you learned with us as you move along your recovery path. Call us today at 844.442.8673 or fill out our online form to initiate a conversation about how we can help.