When Addiction Recovery Becomes Reality
When you struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you know that you need treatment. When you are in treatment, you know you need to continue. But what happens when you find yourself achieving your recovery goals? How do you deal with the reality of continuing addiction recovery?
Initially, you will be highly motivated. All the strategies you learned in rehab will be fresh in your mind and you will exit your inpatient rehab center primed and ready to work through your triggers and stressors. You will find 12-step meetings and you will attend them regularly. Over time, the freshness of recovery will grow stale. You will begin to take your recovery for granted. If you can’t find a way to maintain ongoing maintenance of your recovery, you risk relapse.
But, you may be jumping ahead of yourself. If you haven’t yet attended treatment, you don’t yet need to worry about the reality of recovery. First, you need to get the process started. For help finding an inpatient rehab that can get you one step closer to a recovery reality, call 800-681-7369Who Answers?.
The first thing to remember is that recovery is not solely a product of motivation. You can want to maintain your recovery with every fiber of your being, but if you don’t remain aware of your mind-set and responses to outside cues, you can still find yourself experiencing a relapse.
Nonetheless, motivation is important. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, motivation is something you do and not something you have. “It involves recognizing a problem, searching for a way to change, and then beginning and sticking with that change strategy.” Your inpatient treatment will work with you on developing motivation, but you will have to maintain it.
Continue the Process
Often, drug use develops from self-medication. Specifically, many people with a substance use disorder have a mental illness as well that they treat with drugs. But, more generally, there are plenty of people who treat run of the mill stress, feelings of rejection, and sadness with drugs, as well. In inpatient treatment, you learn how to cope with these uncomfortable feelings and symptoms without resorting to drug use. But, it’s a process. You don’t just wake up and have a bevy of survival tactics ready to go.
When you leave the rehab center and recovery is a full reality, the process doesn’t stop. You have to continue making changes. For example, an article in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine identifies the stages of relapse and the first one (emotional relapse) happens before you even consider using. You are simply displaying behaviors—like bottling up emotions, isolating, and focusing on others—that lead to the next stage. If you aren’t maintaining an awareness of your emotional state, you aren’t continuing the process. You have to be vigilant.
An important part of the process is self-care. Experts offer up the acronym HALT (hungry, angry, lonely, tired) as a reminder of poor self-care. The inpatient care program you attend will regulate your self-care, but you have to take it over when you leave. Remember to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and practice regular hygiene. Also, make time for yourself and be kind to yourself.
If you find yourself experiencing a relapse, it doesn’t mean that your recovery has come to an end. You didn’t ruin it. Relapse is a part of recovery in the real world because addiction is literally defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease.
Think of other chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes. The rate of relapse for a substance use disorder has been compared to those of hypertension, asthma, and type I diabetes and the rates were comparable. If you relapsed with one of those conditions, you wouldn’t assume that your recovery was over.
What would you do? You would reinstate earlier treatment or alter it to meet the current situation. You may choose to return to the inpatient rehab center you earlier attended. Perhaps, you need that level of care to help you regain motivation and to jumpstart the process.
Whether you have previously attended inpatient treatment and would like to return or have never gone to treatment but know that you need to, we can help. Our advisors are waiting to answer your questions and recommend treatment options. Don’t wait; call 800-681-7369Who Answers? now.