Going to rehab is a big life decision, but the hard work doesn't end after you leave treatment. The aftercare process can be just as grueling in order to make sure you or your loved one does not fall off the wagon.
Entering a rehabilitation program, and staying clean after takes hard work and extreme courage. Having a strong internal sense of morals is ideal, and having a support system to help throughout the process is always beneficial.
Here with some excellent advice and insight is Marc McMahon, a recovery expert, and a great supporter of all in need.
Let's hear about Marc’s tips regarding how to avoid relapsing after treatment!
Hello, everyone, I thought today we would talk about how it is that we are supposed to be able to stay clean and sober after treatment and not relapse. It is a great topic that I have had more than my fair share of experiences with, and not always a good experience either. Do you know that the very first time I went to treatment, I got out knowing nothing about aftercare?
I only ever heard the term "aftercare" mentioned one time that I recall from the whole 35 days I was there. So when I got out, I did what I thought I was supposed to do and went to an AA meeting, with no aftercare. I relapsed on my 15th day out of treatment, and that was just my first of ten inpatient stays.
There is a method to the madness though, a plan for the battle, a strategy to our war! The first thing a good soldier does if given the opportunity, is to study their opponent. If you have been around recovery before whether sober or in and out of sobriety, then you have a pretty good idea what you're up against.
If you are brand new to all of this, then there is much for you to learn about recovery’s “Art of War.” We must realize that once we walk out of the doors of that safe, protected, treatment environment, our new found confidence that we will never use again, could quickly be put to a very abrupt test.
Our disease is the Master Manipulator. It likes nothing better than to see us get out of treatment, go back home, and rush straight back to our old "using friends" to Proudly show off our new sobriety; and how good the new sober us looks. We even try to be the ones to show them the light and get them into treatment as we did. A natural reaction for most people I think, I know I did it more than once expecting different results. HUGE MISTAKE!
Ever hear the phrase “they will get you loaded, long before you ever get them sober” before? This rhetorical question is one of the most authentic phrases in all of recovery in my opinion. I was warned about it the same as I am cautioning you today but I did it anyway, multiple times. It is something that can be hard not to do, so prepare yourself for that. Getting out of treatment can be an extensively confusing time.
Recovery is stressful; people like your family for instance, who couldn’t stand to be around you any longer towards the end of your addiction, are now telling you that they are your support. Then, the people you used to hang out with and call friends are now being told are your enemies, and you can’t risk associating with them anymore.
To top it all off, this is being thrown at you for the first time, as you ride home from treatment in the backseat of your parent's car. Con-fuse-ING to say the least. That may or may not be your present situation, but it is an excellent example of the types stress that I am talking about.
I think I am going to go against one of my writer rules of things I say I should never do and make you a list. A list of a few things you should avoid doing after treatment and we can go from there.
6 Things to Avoid Doing After Treatment
• Avoid old using buddies/friends at all costs, or it could end up costing you the ultimate price. I have seen it too many times believe me, please!
• Avoid bars and lounges, even though you're only going to drink non-alcoholic beverages. Again, HUGE MISTAKE!
• This one can’t be said enough even though I hated hearing it. Do yourself a favor and stay out of a relationship if at all possible. I won’t say for how long but the more sobriety you can get before you do, the better.
• Avoid paying back old drug/using/drinking/gambling debts to your old drug dealer/bookie etc. by yourself if at all possible. A sponsor or much more stable people in recovery will gladly team together to help you get that taken care of without you having to get in harm's way. Sober Support!!
• You must try to avoid the over-confident feeling that "you do not need the aftercare groups and that you are strong enough to do this on your own."
• Finally, if it applies, the cute guy or gal that you met while in treatment, they are probably not the love of your life that you have been waiting for even though every part of you that can still feel is telling you it is. Tried it more than once expecting different results and again. HUGE MISTAKE!
In closing, if you were to avoid doing the six items I listed in that list. Went to a meeting the day you got out and every day after. Got yourself a sponsor in the program as soon as possible with at least two years clean, preferably more. Went to all your aftercare appointments, and didn’t use in between. Then you would have laid yourself one hell of a solid foundation in which to ground your recovery and build your new life!
The rest will either be handed down in words of wisdom from those who have been in the program for a while, or through recovery literature, and the rest will be learned through trial and error as you bump, stumble, and make your way down “the road to happy destiny”. I believe in you, You can do this, you just can't-do this alone.
I Love You!
About the Author: Marc is a 48-year-old Author, Speaker, and Soldier in a war to loosen the grasp that Substance Abuse has on our society. He is a Father, Son, and friend to all those seeking refuge from this incorrigible disease. Marc resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where he enjoys, writing, hiking, and kicking the disease of addiction in the teeth, every chance he gets. As Marc always likes to say, “be blessed, my friends!”
If you or someone you know needs help staying on track, you have come to the right place.