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Treatment for Addiction: Just the Beginning

Almost everyone knows someone that has been through treatment for addiction or has been through treatment themselves.  Kudos to your friends or family . . . or YOU!  Treatment is not easy and it is really just the start of recovery.

Yes, just the start.  Many people think that a person can go to treatment and come out a brand new person.  Sometimes that might actually happen.  However, treatment is just a pause.  It is a chunk of time dedicated to regrouping and learning.  What happens when a person leaves treatment is when the real work happens.

If someone has gone through treatment and comes home without changing anything else, the chances of failure are high.  The people we surround ourselves with, our rituals and habits, and our environment can either set us up for success or cause a downward spiral into use.

Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves:

  1. What people did I use around?  We need to take space and find new relationships to replace the ones that may remind us of using or even encourage us to use.  This is probably the hardest change to make.  If you have used, you likely have close relationships with other people that use.  Have a conversation with the ones that matter.  Tell them you need some time to focus on your recovery and that you hope they understand.  If they are a true friend, they will support you.  Unfortunately, it is likely that you will need to part ways with some people.

  2. Where did you spend you time drinking or using?  If it was in your basement by yourself, avoid the basement.  Find a new spot that you can associate with positive behaviors.  Maybe you rest in your chaise with a new book.  Perhaps you watch TV in a new room.

  3. Where will you spend your time?  Find an activity that you enjoy or find a local AA/NA meeting.  Meetings serve multiple purposes  – connection with others with similar goals and they can also establish a new routine.  If meetings aren’t your thing (totally okay!) then see if crossfit is something you might enjoy.  It could be as simple as taking a walk with a friend.

  4.  What routines or rituals are associated with drinking or use?  Did you grab a glass of wine after work?  Maybe instead of grabbing a glass of wine when you get home, you change into some comfy clothes and make a nice dinner.  Or, perhaps instead of driving by the bar you used to frequent, you take a new route that adds a few minutes to your drive and take some time to listen to a podcast.

Recovery is not easy.  It is a daily choice.  Setting yourself up for success by looking at these four questions and making some changes is just one way to put your recovery first. 

You deserve this.  In recovery, you must put yourself first.  Before kids, a spouse, parents, or friends.  It is not selfish.  It is necessary.


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