How to Set Up a Support System After Rehab
- Kate Pindera
- 7 Jun 2021
Life in recovery has its ups and downs, and that’s why having a good support system can make a difference in helping you get through it. These people can be your sounding board when making significant decisions, or a trusted ally to keep you accountable spanyour path to sobriety Your support system will be there for you as you figure out life on your own out of the comforts and structure of a residential treatment facility.
Here are some ways on how to create a support network while in recovery or strengthen the one you already have.
Focus on Family
Your loved ones play a pivotal role in your journey towards overcoming addiction . Depending on the kind of relationship you have, they can either be powerful sources of inspiration that can propel you forward to recovery or potential relapse triggers waiting to happen.
Hence, recovering addicts and their loved ones must address unresolved issues with the help of a therapist or addiction specialist. Family therapy is an important part of addiction recovery because it unpacks difficult emotions and paves the way to emotional healing and reconciliation.
In addition, educating your loved ones about the nature of addiction as a chronic and complex brain disease with a high risk of relapse may help them be more empathetic to you and get a better understanding of how to make your transition easier.
Reconnect with Old, Sober Friends
Old friends who know what you went through and have been supportive of your efforts to overcome addiction can be a part of your personal support system, especially if they are the same set of people who staged an intervention on your behalf.
However, there are a few non-negotiables that you should consider such as avoiding friends who are still using drugs and alcohol. Politely decline invitations to hang out in bars or other uncontrolled environments where addictive substances may be involved.
If they are genuinely concerned about your well-being, they will see you through your journey and make the necessary adjustments. Instead of seeing the absence of substances as an obstacle, it’s an opportunity for you and your friends to be creative in finding ways to bond and discover each other’s shared interests.
Keep in Touch with Friends from Rehab
It’s not impossible for someone to build meaningful and lasting relationships with fellow patients while in rehab. Participating in group counselling sessions exposes vulnerabilities that everyone can recognize and relate to from their own experiences with addiction. Most rehab facilities also have group-based recreational activities that encourage patients to connect while having fun.
It may be helpful to reconnect with fellow recovering addicts from drug rehab after completing your addiction treatment. Hearing their own stories of struggles and success about staying sober despite difficult situations, trying to fit into their own circles again, or finding a new job or hobby can be a source of inspiration and motivation to keep you moving forward.
Attend 12-Step and Other Addiction Support Groups
Often, recovering addicts find their support system while attending local addiction recovery support groups, like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). They find refuge in the presence of other members because they do not have to explain exactly what they are going through.
Participating in 12-step programs or addiction support groups is beneficial because it encourages open communication without the fear of stigma or prejudice. Listening to other members’ stories also assures them that they are not alone in this journey. There’s also a chance to make friends with fellow participants who they see on a regular basis.
Live a Meaningful Life Out of Rehab
Sometimes out of fear of making mistakes, recovering addicts become overly cautious and pass on many things that could have made their life more colourful or exciting. This shouldn’t be the case.
Doing sober everyday activities prevents boredom, which is a common culprit that often triggers mental relapse (a stage where a person imagines or romanticizes the “old times” when they were abusing substances), which can eventually lead to a physical relapse (where they act upon their cravings).
Aside from keeping your mind and body active, doing sober activities could improve many aspects of your life and are perfect opportunities for meeting new people and forge strong friendships with people who can become members of your support system.
Here are some ideas that are worth trying:
- Travel locally and fall in love with your city again.
- Learn a new sport or fitness activity with your friends.
- Check out art museums or libraries nearby.
- Go hiking/camping in the mountains and discover the healing power of nature.
- Volunteer for an organization that’s close to your heart.
- Go back to school or take a course that could eventually lead to employment or a newfound passion.
- Apply for a new job. This is something that can be emotionally stressful for some people so be honest with yourself and only do it whenever you feel you’re ready.
Nevertheless, don’t feel pressured about doing all these things at once. Take baby steps, trust the process, and don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s.
Continue Seeing Your Therapists and Counsellors
At Freedom From Addiction, we always say that addiction recovery does not happen overnight. It’s a lifelong process that you have to commit to and continuously work on every day. Hence, we have our Continuing Care Program for recovering addicts who have completed their addiction treatment but who would benefit from additional emotional support while transitioning into a sober life outside rehab.
Your therapists and addiction counsellors are vital members of your support system in addiction recovery, providing essential social support, which is critical during their first few months out of rehab where the pressure and anxiety can be overwhelming. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them whenever you feel confused, overwhelmed, or anxious to address potential emotional or physical relapse even before it happens.
Depending on the patient’s unique circumstances, this program may include outpatient treatment programs, like individual counselling or group therapy sessions. This way, treatment won’t interfere with their work, school, or family time.
If you feel like you or a loved one is having trouble forming a support system in recovery, let Freedom From Addiction help you. We have a team of therapists and addiction specialists who can guide you every step of the way towards true and lasting recovery.
For more information, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. A member of our team will get back to you shortly. Contact us today!
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