While finishing an addiction treatment program is an important milestone, it really is just the beginning of the road to remaining sober for life. When one exits treatment, they enter what some call the recovery bubble or the period when a person new to recovery is now on their own to figure out their new life without using again.
Many people who are early in their recovery may feel excited, uncertain, or hesitant as they start out an unfamiliar road. They must learn how to move forward on their own or with little supervision after spending weeks or months in an inpatient or residential rehabilitation center, where there was structure. Or, they may be putting the pieces of their lives back together in transitional housing such as a sober living home.
Wherever they land, people at this stage are back in the real world, but it’s not quite the same as the one they left. They must now figure out how to navigate life’s challenges without going back to old habits, old places, old people, and old thoughts and behaviors that led them to use in the first place. Life’s pressures and temptations are still there, so what can they do to ensure they can stay in the recovery bubble, the period after one leaves rehab to adjust to life on the outside?
Starting over again can be a shock to people who are learning to reintegrate into society. Doing so successfully requires some strategic planning to ensure it is truly the new beginning one has worked hard to have. One fact that should be realized sooner rather than later is that the recovery bubble, or the pink cloud, as some call it, is not going to last forever. At some point, reality will hit and some hard choices will have to be made. Here are a few tips that can help you keep the recovery bubble from popping too early.
1. Change Your Social Circle
If you want different, you have to do different, the saying goes. Starting over after rehab may mean making new friends, especially if old friends are still engaging in behaviors that are in conflict with achieving long-lasting sobriety. It is important that every aspect of life supports sobriety. Friends, acquaintances or associates who continue to use drugs and alcohol can jeopardize your chances of staying true to being substance-free.
A sound support network includes people who share goals and behaviors that support what’s best and what’s healthy for people who are turning over a new leaf. Staying away from what’s harmful is possible when you hang out with people who are sober and want to see you succeed in your recovery goals.
Changing your circle may mean cutting off family members, old friends, or ditching your old phone list so you can’t call your dealer or anyone who is associated with your past life. Enablers often have no place in the life of a person who is successful in recovery. Start a new contact list full of people who can be called on when life gets rough and temptations are becoming harder to ignore. Aligning yourself with people in a support group, such as 12-step fellowships, or an alumni group of like-minded people can make this process go a lot easier.
2. Change Your Environment
Where you spend the most time will significantly affect how your recovery progresses. Your home or residence away from the treatment facility should be free of substance paraphernalia or temptations to use. Some people find they may have to leave the city or state where they live to ensure they can start anew without any baggage or outside noise from others. Others may have to move out of their old residence and away from friends or family so they can leave old influences behind. This may require them getting a place of their own. Early recovering users also may have to change up the places they visit. This is a good time to check out some new places that encourage healing and a focus on staying away from using.
3. Change How You Spend Your Time
This is a good chance to pick up a hobby or skill to keep you engaged in your new life. Consider attending a continuing adult education program or volunteering with a group or organization that cares about the same causes you do. Staying focused on what you like to do can help you meet others with similar interests. It also can help you expand your worldview and pursue worthwhile things you care about.
Volunteering also helps people release or manage their stress, address depression and anxiety in a healthy manner, and build confidence and self-esteem. It can also help you improve how you solve problems, which can come in handy as you continue to create the best plan to keep the recovery bubble intact for as long as you need it.
4. Keep Your Commitment to Aftercare Services
Aftercare services are designed to help people who are starting out again on their own. Use them to find employment, transitional housing, support services, and to expand your network of people. Having a network of resources in place can help make the post-rehab transition easier. Aftercare includes any follow-up appointments you have with a physician, a treatment center or therapist that are designed to help keep you focused on your recovery. Make sure to attend all scheduled appointments you have. Many of these services are also designed to help people in recovery avoid a return to using addictive substances, which is known as relapse.
Relapse is a real possibility as frequent or long-term drug and/or alcohol abuse can change the structure and functioning of the brain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), relapse happens to 40 percent to 60 percent of people in recovery. This makes using aftercare services even more important.
5. Keep a Positive Attitude About the Future
Keeping a positive outlook on life, no matter what is going on, is a bit easier to do when there is a plan in place. While you’re in the recovery bubble, set healthy, achievable goals that make it easier to see the future in a positive light and know what to do when things don’t turn up rosy. There will be challenges that will have to be met head-on. With realistic goals in the place, along with a support system, you can manage unexpected twists and turns that threaten to derail your sobriety. Being positive is not without practice. Consider starting a journal and writing down things that make you happy or hopeful about your new start. Or engage in meditation or another holistic practice that promotes mindfulness.
Everyone knows honeymoon periods, when all is going well, do not last forever. They’re not supposed to. Still, these temporary carefree periods are opportunities to build up oneself to become strong and prepared for the changes ahead. The recovery bubble is there to help one become and stay grounded in reality and ready to meet life head-on. The commitment to recovery
Do You Want to Leave Addiction Behind?
If you desire to start life anew in the recovery bubble instead of living life in active addiction, Pathway to Hope can help you stay the course to healing and putting your life back together. Our aim is to help our clients heal from substance addiction in a safe and efficient manner. Our clinically tested and vetted methods for treating drug and alcohol addiction have been proven to help our clients recover.
We understand how hard it is to kick an addiction or substance abuse disorder, so we focus intently on our clients and ensure they always come first. Our addiction specialists are available 24/7 to help you. Contact us online or call us right now at (844) 311-5781 for more information.