However, if you have made the decision to step away from drugs and alcohol you have done one of the harder things in addiction. After attending a medical detox to get through the worst of the withdrawal symptoms with the help of physicians it is recommended to attend further treatment in a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) or an Intensive Outpatient (IOP) setting. This structure and stability will help ease you through the first 90-100 days of separation from your drug of choice. It is during this period that the cravings will be their strongest. During your stay at a drug and alcohol rehab facility you will hopefully have built a few coping tools to help you build a solid foundation to your recovery. However, substance use disorders do not disappear overnight. Your journey on the road to recovery will not cease after treatment as you will need to manage your cravings and set up a routine as you begin to reacclimate to everyday life. It would be advised to not jump into the same routine as you were in during your substance abuse. You should take care to build new and healthy habits. Here are some tips to help you in early recovery…
Just as the structure that was provided to you during treatment gave stability, you will need structure in your day-to-day life. Creating a routine for your day will help you in this endeavor. Create a schedule on how your day will go. Try to stick to this schedule as best you can. It will be helpful to fill your day with things to do. An example of this would be:
In the early days of your recovery, you may be presented with situations and events that test your willpower. You should have a plan for these situations. Such examples of these times could be family gatherings, weddings, social outings, and birthday parties. Not everybody will be surrounded with others in recovery. Addicts make up an estimated ten percent of the population so a person with substance use disorder will likely have friends or family who do not deal with the same issues as they would. You need to have a plan for situations where alcohol or drugs may be present. Some tips to deal with this are:
Take care of yourself! Make some time to do something you enjoy. This could be anything that brings you joy. Read a book, listen to music, take a hike in nature, you could even pick up a new hobby. You will find that things you once enjoyed that fell away in your addiction will bring new joy and meaning to your life now that you are sober!
Too often, when getting newly sober we think we need to hit the ground running to get our lives back on track. This is unrealistic. We need take time to build our life back and an effective way to do that is to establish short term goals. Instead of jumping into things perhaps set small and obtainable goals that lead to your larger goals. An example of this is if your goal is to get a job then a way to avoid undue pressure on yourself would be to break that larger goal into smaller ones. Such as build a resume, look at job ads, put in four job applications this week. When you break down what you want to achieve into a sort of task list, it suddenly becomes not so overwhelming. By doing this you will find the end game becomes easier once you break it down into steps.
Do not be proud. You are on the beginning of a difficult journey. It is okay to ask for help. Build a sober support network that you can reach out to and build connections with. You may find that the people you meet in support group meetings can become great assets and even better friends. Many of these people who have achieved long-term sobriety have faced what you are facing and can assist you in how they dealt with it.