According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2013 16.6 million people in the U.S. over the age of 18 reported that they had an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). Of those 16.6 million, 1.3 million sought treatment at a specialized facility.
In life we all face challenges, but how we cope with them is unique to each person. Life after leaving a specialized facility, such as a mens or womens alcohol rehab center, will be more challenging than ever. Rehab is designed to build confidence, improve your well being and put you in a more positive state of mind to handle everyday life. Once you walk out the door you have to use these tools you were given and keep building on that newfound strength to fully recover in the real world.
Find a Local Support Group
The hard truth is that many people who try to recover on their own will fail. Whether it’s a 12-step program, an AA group or local organization, finding support after rehab is an important first step. Belonging to a support group will help you to:
· Make the transition from the protected rehab center back into a world full of temptations.
· Improve self-efficacy, which is the belief that you will succeed and can reach your goals.
· Find motivation to keep you focused on recovery.
· See first hand that recovery is possible.
· Celebrate the success of others.
· Provide a sense of belonging and understanding.
· Find help and advice for building your new life.
· Find purpose and a productive social setting.
· Help others that are similarly situated which will reinforce your own recovery.
Find a 12-Step Sponsor
A 12-step sponsor is one of the most critical pieces of the recovery puzzle. They are the one person you can count on to provide the support you need when you need it most. They know what you are experiencing and how hard recovery can be. They’ll hold you accountable without judging you. Having this kind of accountability partner for any type of goal has been proven to significantly improve your chances of success.
Choosing a sponsor is a big decision. They should be someone that you can trust and that you feel completely comfortable being around. Your sponsor should also be someone who has been sober for an extended period of time and gotten their life back on stable ground. The more grounded they are the more likely you’ll be able to follow in their footsteps.
Avoid Interacting With Enablers
Your “old friends” that still abuse alcohol will only make recovery more difficult. They may even try to convince you that one little drink won’t hurt anything. Enablers aren’t looking out for your wellbeing. They want to have fun the only way they know how and don’t care that you are trying to change your life for the better. The new friends in your support group won’t try to tempt you and set you up for failure. After rehab ditch the alcohol enablers to start with a clean slate.
Practice Daily Meditation in the Morning
Start each day with 10-20 minutes of meditation. Use this time for prayer and/or positive visualization of what you want to accomplish that day. Many studies have shown that meditation is highly effective at improving your mental state. It helps to reduce anxiety and depression, and meditation has also been shown to help people recovering from addiction. Researchers have found that meditation improves the self-control portion of the brain and “decouples” the connection between cravings.
Don’t Give Up If You Relapse
Relapsing is always a possibility, especially right after leaving a rehab center. Far too many people make the mistake of simply giving up if they break their sobriety. Recovery is a long process that is extremely difficult at times. Reach out to your 12-step sponsor immediately for a helping hand back onto the sobriety bandwagon. They will help you create an action plan to get you on track. If you truly want to live a life that’s free of drugs and alcohol giving up is never an option.