Now that you’re coming out of an addiction treatment and rehab program in Tennessee, you might not know how to feel. You’ll have to navigate your newfound life of sobriety on your own; although support groups and family can help, you ultimately have to decide how to best stay on the path to wellness. Be aware of how relapse occurs and know what your first year might look like—remember, sober living is an ongoing decision, not a destination at the end of recovery.
The First Few Months After Treatment
Despite completing treatment, you’ll inevitably still have urges to use. Depending on the type and duration of your substance abuse, these urges might be physical—however, they might also be social or mental impulses. Reminders of your lifestyle and old habits you’d nearly forgotten about don’t go away quickly, and that’s fine; having a few urges doesn’t mean treatment has failed. Recognize your impulses, rationalize them, and move past them with the skills you’ve learned during treatment. They’ll fade eventually (often within 20 minutes), so distracting yourself temporarily can be effective.
Your employment and social relationships are bound to change somewhat but focus on yourself and your recovery. While it might seem difficult, you’re the top priority in your life; you’re bound to cause some confusion or concern in your loved ones and employers, but that’s nothing compared to how they’d feel if you relapsed. To minimize dissonance, keep them in the loop about your treatment. Let employers know about potential stressors and triggers that might be overwhelming for you in the workplace. Tell family members about your decision to make amends and improve, but temper that discussion with any worries and risks you might have. Your routine is important, and you still have financial obligations to attend to, so you should do your best to stay on top of things and live well.
The First Year of Recovery and Beyond
Even after your urges fade, depression, anxiety, and other mental ailments might still plague you. Any substance-induced disorders you have should pass before long, but post-acute withdrawal syndrome and other co-occurring disorders can follow you for months or even years after treatment. Although maintaining good sleep schedules, using your training, choosing your friends wisely, and developing a strong support network can help, these negative feelings likely won’t go away quickly—yet they aren’t permanent. Seek out independent counseling or therapy and try to find new ways to enjoy life, focusing more on the bright possibilities of your future than the past you’ve overcome.
Chronic diseases share the risk of relapse, and addiction is no different. Although most relapse occurs within 90 days following treatment, this risk never goes away altogether. If you relapse, it’s normal to feel disappointed, ashamed, and even guilty—however, don’t let that overwhelm you. Relapse is just a stumbling point on the long path to recovery and doesn’t set you back to square one. If you’re worrying that you might be in the process of relapsing, don’t feel ashamed to admit you need help; seeking out additional treatment and support can help you refocus on recovery. Discovery Place’s Sober Living alternative program in Tennessee offers an effective alternative to traditional treatment centers for current or prior addicts; whether you need to schedule treatment or just want to talk about your recovery, you can contact us at 1-800-725-0922 at any time of day to get the help you need.