Continues: What do I do now after drug rehab?
gone through alcohol or drug rehabilitation is a major undertaking.
Congratulations. Now you might be wondering several things. Where do
I go from here? What do I do with my new life? What are the best
strategies for staying clean and sober? The information in this
article answers all of these important questions. It comes mostly
from the experts: people, like you, who were once in a treatment
center and have been in recovery for many years. Additional
information has also been contributed from professionals that have
helped recovering alcoholics/addicts after the alcohol or drug
Taking Action—The Process
Create a plan for after you leave.
Work with your therapist, counselor or the treatment center you
attended to assist you in developing an after care treatment plan.
These are designed to give you a strategy for staying clean.
It’s a plan that will keep you on track in the recovery process. Lay
person and professional experts in recovery know that an outlined plan
detailing the things you can do to stay sober is valuable. Here are
some of the most common, and maybe not so common,
steps/actions/objectives that can be part of your plan towards a goal
of staying healthy, sober and free from addiction.
Continue with therapy. Follow
up sessions with a trusted counselor or professional helps to address
those issues or problems that are new for you. Life after
addiction comes with new or confusing situations you will be faced
with. For example, there was a man that after having been in a
drug induced state for years did not know how to order his eggs at a
restaurant. He would say, “I just let them throw the eggs on the
plate, anything to get some food in my belly. I never paid attention
to or cared how they were cooked”. When you are confronted with
something you don’t know how to handle, frustration and desire to turn
to what you know best (getting high) may become overwhelming.
There is no problem too small or large that a trained professional
can’t help you with. It’s better to seek their advice and look
for solutions than to return to abusing drugs or alcohol.
Keep your body healthy.
This part of the after care plan should involve listing ways you
can keep your body functioning at optimum levels. Some steps may
Nutrition and eating right are essential.
There have been studies recently showing that the right intake of
calories, vitamins and nutrients, staves off the craving for drugs and
alcohol. When your body feels good, the chances are you can better
fight the cravings for addictive substances.
Drink lots of water.
Water hydrates the body and maintains your body temperature.
Proper hydration allows for smoother waste elimination, and keeps the
body emotionally balanced. Experts that work in the crisis
industry (rape crisis centers, nurses in emergency or triage, etc.)
have long known the power of water in regulating a person’s mood. It
has a calming effect. An added bonus among many, water keeps your skin
from drying out too.
Exercise. Find an exercise
routine and stick with it. If you like the gym or workout
centers get a membership Take evening walks in your neighborhood after
dinner. Use stairs wherever you go instead of elevators.
Remember to find exercises that will bring your heart rate up
(aerobic) and those that include warm-up, stretching and
Keep your teeth clean.
One of the first things to not only put on your plan but to
arrange is a dental exam. Drug use and alcohol abuse damage
teeth and gums severely over time. Studies have shown that
excessive plaque and tartar on the teeth carries through to our blood
stream and creates a plaque build up in the arteries. This means
potential heart problems and cardiovascular disease. Also, clean
teeth means you will smile more and that alone will better your social
activities part of your plan. When you’re developing your after care
plan, be sure to include activities that make you happy. Socializing
will decrease depression and keep you from feeling isolated. On this
note, make sure to not include former drinkers or drug using
“buddies”. Chances are very high that if you begin associating with
your former partying partners (that are still using) you will quickly
begin abusing the substance again. Find people that have been in
recovery for a long time or others that have never had a substance
abuse problem. Seek new friends, return to favorite hobbies, whatever
it takes to get you out and busy.
Find your spiritual path.
Whatever spirituality means to you, discover or re-discover what it is
that gives you strength through the hard times. Returning to a
spiritual place that made you feel connected, worthy or special will
Find the creativity within. Do you draw, paint, dance or read? Bring
the creative you back to life. Creativity gives a sense of self-worth
and accomplishment. This is important for anyone recovering from an
addiction. By the way, start your creative processes with your
treatment plan. Give thought to the social activities you like.
Outline some ideas to eat foods that will not only nourish you but
make you feel good, alive and energetic. There are many healthy foods
that can give this feeling. Bring your creativity to your plan and
make it uniquely yours.
your after care plan, make sure it’s what you want. There is nothing
worse than having a plan that fits someone else’s needs or
expectations. Often in alcohol or drug treatment and detox centers we
hear quite a bit about what we should do. Our days are planned with
activities, counseling, meal times and social events. We become
accustomed to what others think we should do to remain sober. Family
and friends offer advice, your counselor or therapist may suggest
items for your plan but in the end, the treatment plan belongs to
you. It needs to be tailored with the purpose of achieving your
goal. Your goal is to remain sober and clean. If the plan is one you
want and can live with, the chances are you will respect it, follow
through with the steps/objectives and stay sober for many years to
By Abhilash Patel
sponsored by Passages Malibu Treatment Center, a drug and alcohol
rehab treatment center. The Passages Drug Treatment Program
www.passagesmalibu.com provides residential substance abuse treatment. Please link to
http://www.passagesmalibu.com/ when publishing this article.
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