Completing a treatment program for substance use disorder (SUD) is a major achievement. You should be proud of your success. Still, it is essential to remember that recovery is a lifelong journey. While this is a time to be hopeful and optimistic, it is also a time for caution and preparation as you integrate back into your community outside of treatment.
Maintaining Sobriety After Treatment
The maintenance stage is an ongoing step in your sobriety. You committed to change and took significant steps toward your recovery in treatment. During that process, your number one priority has been achieving a sober life. As you move into the next stage of recovery, your focus is going to broaden as your capacity to take on more grows. The next step will be to start thinking about making the transition back to your regular life.
With the help of your treatment team, you will start to prepare for challenges to your sobriety you might face in your daily life. You will probably spend some time exploring your triggers. Preparing yourself to either avoid your triggers or develop skills that will help you cope with them is accomplished during this time. Additionally, you must decide whether you have any habits that you need to change to maintain lasting sobriety. It’s been found that people with co-occurring disorders who achieve sobriety use a variety of self-management strategies to prevent relapse—seeking support, activities, and a healthy mindset.
Establishing Healthy Habits
One of the best things you can do to maintain your sobriety is to create healthy routines and habits that will help you establish your new life. People can recover from SUDs provided that they are enabled to make sense of the crisis that set them on the journey of recovery and by making a commitment to a new way of life.
Foster Physical Wellness
Maintaining physical health is a vital factor you must focus on. You can add regular exercise to your routine. Making sure you are eating healthy and sticking to healthy sleep patterns is also essential. Keeping yourself physically healthy is one thing you can focus on to help you feel your best.
Participate in Sober, Recreational Activities
When you get back to your life outside of treatment, one of the most important things you can do is have a plan to participate in sober, recreational activities. Chances of relapse are high if you go straight back to all the old friends and activities that were centered around substance use. If those experiences were something that led to your addiction before, they will likely lead you right back into it again. You could take up a new hobby like hiking, or plan quality time with people who are committed to supporting your sobriety. “Findings suggest that, to reach and maintain abstinence, it is important to maintain positive relationships and to engage self-agency to protect oneself from the influences of negative relationships” (How Social Relationships Influence Substance Use Disorder Recovery: A Collaborative Narrative Study, Pettersen et al., 2019.)
Utilize Relapse Prevention Skills
Relapse prevention is a key factor that should be considered when making a plan for life outside of treatment. The first 90 days after rehab are the most critical for establishing new, healthy sober-living techniques. Knowing what your triggers are will help you prepare yourself against them.
Here are some general warning signs to watch out for in yourself following treatment:
- Being overly tired or overwhelmed
- Dishonesty in your interactions with others
- Falling back into negative social situations
- Feeling depressed or anxious
Developing self-awareness and checking in with yourself and your support systems regularly can help you recognize these warning signs so that you can prevent a relapse. In addition to being self-aware, you also need a circle of support that you can depend on. These people should also be able to recognize the signs of relapse. Your circle might include your mental health professionals, sponsors, friends, or family. Establishing a network of people you can turn to is essential.
Utilize Community-Based Treatment for Lasting Recovery
According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, there are four main rules of recovery:
- Change your life
- Be completely honest
- Ask for help
- Don’t bend the rules
At Lantana Recovery, we believe that community-based integrative treatment gives clients the best chance for following these rules and achieving sustained recovery. When changing your life, you will need to establish a new community of friends and support people for yourself. Social support can be instrumental in supporting you in sobriety. When you put yourself in social settings with people who can support you in your goals, help watch for warning signs, and keep you accountable, you will be better equipped to sustain your sobriety.
The Value of Honesty
Being completely honest about your experiences during the transition toward sober life is crucial. When you make complete honesty a habit in your daily interactions with people, you are setting yourself up for success in sobriety. All too often, addiction is accompanied by a near-constant state of dishonesty with yourself and the people in your life. Changing this habit helps you establish healthy connections and opens opportunities for true growth.
Community & Continuum Care at Lantana Recovery
Having a continuum of care after treatment can be one of the most important tools that you have at your disposal. At Lantana Recovery, we strive to support our clients by helping them learn skills in controlled settings. We facilitate the application of these skills into daily life out in the community, empowering them to learn and grow while they still have our support to lean on. Our program serves the unique needs of every one of our clients, and we believe our approach helps people feel comfortable to ask for help and get support if they need it.
Bending the rules, making exceptions, and not being firm in your resolve can be the enemy of your sobriety. If you are not 100% committed to staying on your treatment plan and utilizing the resources available to you, your chances of staying sober go down. It is crucial to follow the advice of the medical and mental health professionals that you are working with. When you have a plan in place for your sobriety, you must follow it to the letter. If you find yourself faltering, it is essential to communicate your feelings with your support team immediately.
Reintegrating into your community after a treatment program can be an exciting and scary time. You have certain responsibilities to yourself, your loved ones, and your community during this adjustment period. It is essential to follow your treatment plan and be honest with yourself and your circle of support if you are struggling. The first 90 days after treatment are the most important for your success in sobriety. If you need more support for yourself or a loved one, Lantana Recovery’s unique approach to treatment is available for you.