A battle with addiction will affect a patient for the rest of their lives. While alcohol and drug treatment methods can eliminate the drug from the body and its side effects, it’s up to patients to accept and learn to rebuild their lives after treatment. This includes the old habits and patterns that sometimes resurface even years into the patient’s recovery. Dealing with them in a healthy and productive manner is the only way to continue to move forward on their personal journey.
Make A Commitment to Themselves
In order for any type of aftercare drug treatment to work, the patient must be ready to accept it. They must be the one to take the first step and ask for it. If not, there’s a real chance they will continue to fall back into their old habits and repeat the same mistakes over and over again. As soon as they are ready to stand up and make a commitment to themselves that involves better self-awareness and living a better, more rewarding lifestyle, then and only then, will they be ready to accept treatment.
They Need to Reclaim Their Power
It takes time for a patient to reclaim the power of self-understanding and the power to make healthy choices. In order for them to fully reclaim their power, they need to accept that things have changed. They aren’t the same person they were prior to their addiction. With that new knowledge, they can learn to love themselves once again. By reclaiming their power, they are taking the first steps toward regaining their freedom and assuming full control over their lives without using.
Be Prepared for Obstacles
Just like any other type of journey, obstacles will appear. Depression, loneliness, and the struggle of trying to make a new path to follow can and will be overwhelming at times. It’s up to the patient to embrace their feelings, accept them, and then deal with them in a positive way. Instead of letting the problem or issue put them at a disadvantage, they need to look at the lessons they’ve learned and find a way to deal with the situation. It isn’t always easy but over time, finding a positive solution won’t seem as difficult.
Identify Potential Risk Patterns
As part of reclaiming their power, they will begin to learn to identify potential risk patterns. Friends who are still into drugs and alcohol or emotional periods that cause the patient to want to take that first drink or use the drugs that used to help them cope. Many of these risk patterns may have been identified during the aftercare alcohol and drug treatment program. Others may not appear right away. Some may not even surface until an exact event or emotion resurfaces in memories or counseling. It will be up to the patient to identify, accept and react appropriately to these destructive patterns.
Avoid Your Triggers
Aftercare drug treatment programs will help to identify many of the triggers that can cause the patient to turn to drugs. For some people, depression or anxiety is a major trigger that sometimes leads to relapses.
During treatment, steps will be taken both through counseling and health care to address the internal triggers. Once external triggers, such as old friends and locations, are identified, they can be dealt with as well. If the patient was treated on an outpatient or inpatient basis, the goal will be to help eliminate the old triggers and begin the process of creating new habits and behaviors. This will take time and will continue during aftercare alcohol and drug treatment.
Use Your Support System
During aftercare drug treatment, the patient will be encouraged to rely on their support system to help them get through some of their most difficult times. A patient must choose individuals they trust and can rely on to help them with they come across an obstacle or experience a trigger that in the past would have caused them to use drugs or alcohol. People who agree to be part of the patient’s support system must be ready to step in if they feel the patient is having a difficult time.
Part of the role of a support system is to create and maintain a barrier that will protect the patient from the habits and people of their past who helped to fuel their addiction. While they can’t confine the patient, they can be there during times of need. They can make themselves present so the patient doesn’t automatically revert to old patterns and behaviors. If the support system can help the patient create and maintain new, healthier patterns, they will be less likely to try and return to the old ones.
Do Away With the Old Habits and Behaviors
Old habits are hard to break. This is especially true when it comes to addiction. Old habits and behaviors are often the downfalls of many people who started their recovery journey. Many people who have started their recovery journey have to avoid people and places associated with using. This can be difficult, especially if it involves close friends and family members. It’s important to begin creating newer, healthier habits as the old ones are done away with. Instead of following old patterns, it will take a conscious effort to create new ones that bring with them new behaviors and ideas.
Gradually Establish Newer, Healthier Habits
As the patient continues on their journey of recovery, they will begin to make healthier choices. With each healthy choice, new habits will start to form. The body and mind will take time to grasp the new patterns, just like it learned to rely on the drugs and alcohol when the patient first started using them. Without the drugs and alcohol, the body and mind both begin to heal. Part of the healing process involves developing new traits and patterns that begin to steer the patient to good health and a positive lifestyle.
It’s OK to Stumble
No matter where the patient is on their recovery journey, they must always remember that it is okay to stumble. Everyone makes mistakes but that doesn’t mean they have failed at their journey. Quite the contrary. It allows them to continue to learn about themselves. The only failure is when the patient believes they have no way out. Even if they fail or experience a relapse, they need to not let the guilty feelings associated with it dictate their recovery.
Once the patient stumbles, it allows them to be human and accept the fact that they, just like everyone else, will experience weak moments. They don’t have to be superhuman and they aren’t expected to be perfect. For as beautiful as recovery can be, it can also be ugly. It is during those ugly times, however, that the patient will begin to find their strength. They will begin to understand what true recovery is and they will begin to find their own unique way to create their path to success.
Find Their Strength
After they have passed their first few obstacles, the patient will begin to learn about their own strength and resolve. They will learn the power and resilience they have within themselves that will allow them to overcome even the highest of hurdles. They may find their strength in their ability to create through drawing, woodworking, playing music. Some may even find their strength and power by helping others who are also working their way through aftercare alcohol and drug treatment. Many people can say they understand, but someone who has survived addiction can offer true and valuable insight that only comes from experience.
Strength doesn’t come from just surviving an addiction. It comes from learning the lessons that addiction offers. Those lessons provide a level of knowledge that no one else can claim unless they too have walked in those shoes. Those lessons reverse the cycle of power, taking it away from the drugs and alcohol and giving it back to the survivor. It’s up to the survivor to use their strength and use that power to resume control of their life and begin to travel a new road. One that moves them forward to a bigger, brighter, and much better future.
Enjoy Your Life
Over time, the road to recovery will begin to change. The slope won’t be so steep, and the obstacles will be fewer and farther between. They will still appear here and there, during times when the patient has doubts. In the end, however, the new path they have created for themselves will begin to be easier. The new habits, behaviors, and patterns that they have developed during their recovery process will become more ingrained in their thought process. They will become second-nature. The choices they make will come quicker and easier than they did in the first months and years after recovery.
The joys of life will be easier to find and less of a struggle to keep. The lessons learned at an aftercare drug treatment program will build the foundation for a better life. It’s up to the patient to learn how to live joyfully. To find their joy, they need to explore themselves. What do they like to do for a hobby? How do they relax? Participate in a new activity or try a new exercise. Read a good book or take a walk. Learn to enjoy the simple things.
Travel Their Journey
Part of reclaiming their life is traveling their own unique journey. No one else can walk the path for them. Friends and family can walk beside them, but for all intents and purposes, it’s their journey to walk. They must make their own life choices. Part of living and traveling that journey is to learn to maneuver through the obstacles. Every day they need to strive to find joy in something, big or small. Recovery is a journey and sometimes it has twists and turns that test both strength and resolve.
Anytime a patient strives to overcome addiction, an aftercare drug treatment plan is only the beginning. It is the beginning of the journey. Each step will be unique. If the patient plans on succeeding, it is up to them to reclaim their power and apply the knowledge they’ve gained from the lessons they’ve learned. One step at a time with firm resolve. Look to the future and keep moving forward. Just take one step at a time.