Ways to Change Your Social Life After Inpatient Rehab
Rehabilitation treatment for drug and alcohol abuse is incredibly tiring. There is both a physical and a mental toll and it can be difficult to endure the two. That is one reason why inpatient rehab is so great. You get the chance to deal exclusively with your addiction and its treatment without also having to deal with your living situation, school, work, day to day responsibilities and, perhaps most important, your social life.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has delineated four major dimensions that support a life in recovery:
- Health – overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms—for example, abstaining from use of alcohol, illicit drugs, and non-prescribed medications if one has an addiction problem—and, for everyone in recovery, making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
- Home – having a stable and safe place to live.
- Purpose – conducting meaningful daily activities, such as a job, school volunteerism, family caretaking, or creative endeavors, and the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
- Community – having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Ideally, the people in your life form a solid support system or community. You should have family and friends that stand by your side, visit and call you, and participate in whatever way your treatment center allows. However, for many people this is not the case. In these instances, it is especially important that you make changes to limit the number of social triggers you encounter when you exit inpatient treatment.
If you worry about acclimating yourself after you leave inpatient rehab, call InpatientDrugRehabCenters.com at 800-681-7369Who Answers? and speak with a representative who can connect you to important resources.
Family Members Who Use
Many people begin abusing drugs and alcohol because the behavior was modeled for them by family or became a shared activity with other family members. It is a great step to commit to inpatient rehab, but all that hard work can be undone by socializing with family members who are still abusing drugs and alcohol.
Although family use will likely make you want to use, it may be possible to arrange sober activities with using family members. Meet at a neutral area when substance abuse isn’t tolerated, like church or a community event. If you can enjoy each other’s company without drugs or alcohol, you may be able to develop a foundation for a more supportive relationship.
Toxic Family Members
The issue with family may not be substance abuse, it may simply be the family members’ attitudes toward you and treatment of you. Shame, self-pity, and depression are all behaviors heavily linked to relapse. Family members who instigate fights, who blame you for your addiction, and/or who attack you personally when you see them can all cause you to fall into a shame spiral.
Avoid these family members, even if it feels rude and even if it creates friction in the family. It is better that you focus on your recovery and avoid a relapse than it is to pacify your family. A truly caring support system will understand.
Places You Used to Use
For people who abused substances as part of their social life, it will be difficult to develop sober social habits. The human brain develops memories around drug use and those memories can be triggered by the environments where a person used to get high or drunk. In early recovery (and maybe even after years of sobriety) it won’t be possible to visit these places without an urgent desire to use.
Try to develop social routines that connect you with social people. Volunteer, go to the dog park, visit a farmer’s market, attend church, go to support meetings, take a yoga class, work out at a gym, or another activity more suited to your lifestyle. Once you start developing memories that don’t involve drug use, it will become much easier for you to enjoy being social and to continue down that path.
Ideally, you would design your life in such a way that you could avoid these people and places entirely. However, that isn’t realistic. As part of your recovery and management of triggers, you need to plan ahead.
For example, get members of your support system to run interference. Maybe you have to go to a family wedding; use a close friend to act as a buffer between you and the more triggering members of the family.
If you need help avoiding social triggers, contact InpatientDrugRehabCenters.com at 800-681-7369Who Answers? and speak to someone knowledgeable today.
If you do relapse, remember that it is not a failure. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Treatment of chronic diseases involves changing deeply imbedded behaviors, and relapse does not mean treatment has failed. For a person recovering from addiction, lapsing back to drug use indicates that treatment needs to be reinstated or adjusted or that another treatment should be tried.”