Once you have completed a programme of detox and rehabilitation, you will be ready to get back to normal life and start learning how to live without the crutch of alcohol. It is very likely that you are feeling positive about your future, but it is understandable too if you are concerned about your ability to stay sober; after all, you have probably spent a long time turning to alcohol every time things in your life were stressful. You will now have to use different methods of coping with stressful situations, and you probably learned these while in rehab. However, there are other things you can do to make sure you stay sober in rehab. Below are a few examples:
Boredom and loneliness are two of the main reasons recovering addicts relapse. Being by yourself with nothing to do can stir up feelings of disappointment and hopelessness, which can easily lead you to believe that you have nothing to lose. Many recovering alcoholics will say that it was boredom that caused them to start drinking again. It is important that you spend your time wisely during recovery. You will probably be required to attend fellowship meetings, but when you are not at these meetings, you need to find things to occupy your time.
Just because you have always spent your free time drinking does not mean that you have to be bored now that you can no longer drink. There are many things that you can do that do not revolve around alcohol, including things such as going to the cinema or theatre trips. You could also spend time in a gym or develop a hobby such as painting or photography. It could be a good idea to look for a job if you do not have one, as this will keep you busy and will help you meet new people.
Continue with Aftercare
Most rehabilitation clinics will advise you to sign up for some form of aftercare programme once you have completed your rehab. This could involve weekly meetings with a counsellor or regular attendance at a fellowship support group. It is crucial for you to have support after rehab because integrating back into society can be overwhelming. Those who do not continue with an aftercare programme are more likely to stay sober than those who leave rehab and do nothing.
Take Care of Yourself
Many feelings and emotions can trigger a relapse. For example, being thirsty with only access to water and a cold beer may mean you automatically reach for the beer. It is important that you eat regular healthy meals to stave off any cravings. Taking care of yourself in recovery is the best way to keep you on the right track. Make sure you are getting enough exercise, are eating healthy, and are getting enough sleep. If you feel good, you are less likely to want to start drinking again.
You probably worked hard to identify your triggers in rehab, so now is the time to stay alert to the dangers around every corner. Some are more obvious than others – for example, you will know that you need to stay away from your old drinking places and avoid spending time with your drinking friends. Nevertheless, there are other issues to be aware of, such as a song on the radio that triggers memories of a time when you were drinking, or adverts on the television for alcohol. Make sure you are aware of the dangers and that you know how to deal with them.
And remember, even if you do have a slip-up, you do not have to relapse completely. Call your counsellor or sponsor immediately and get back on track before you end up right back where you started.