There are few things in life that have the sheer destructive power of addiction. Many people have lost their homes, their relationships, their jobs, years of their lives, and their emotional and psychological health and well-being, due to having fallen prey to substance addiction of various sorts.
Addiction is insidious. At the onset, it almost always seems “under control,” and by the time it becomes clear that things have gone wrong, the situation is often very dire indeed.
It’s for this reason that one of the best things you can do in order to recover from addiction and regain your life, is to undergo treatment and recovery via an inpatient program at a professional addiction recovery centre.
But what happens once the inpatient program has ended, and the time has come for you to move forward in your life, and rebuild? It can often be very difficult to know how best to proceed, and to avoid harmful temptations and situations.
Here are a few positive ways to follow up on your addiction recovery program, so that you are in the best possible situation to build the brightest future you can dream of.
Attend a partial hospitalization program
A partial hospitalization program is something between an intensive, live-in, inpatient program, and more relaxed and informal outpatient care, and serves as a potentially excellent bridge between the two.
During a partial hospitalization program, you will not be a resident at the centre, but will have a rigid and structured weekly schedule of meetings, programs, and sessions to attend. Many of these sessions will be focused around arming you with specific skills for managing challenges that present themselves to you back in wider society, and will help you to rehearse and plan.
Partial hospitalization programs will typically include things like talk therapy, focused psychiatric help, strategies for goal setting and socialisation, coping mechanisms, and more.
Your recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s the kind of thing that you are working to develop and maintain throughout the rest of your life. For that reason, it can be a very good idea to dedicate the extra time to attending a partial hospitalization program in order to help ensure that you are as well-equipped as possible before formally moving on from structured treatment.
Move away from your old environment, in order to get a fresh start and a clean break
One prominent idea in addiction recovery circles, is that a substance addiction is not just a physical chemical dependency – it is also a series of complex routines, associations, and habits, that are physically instantiated in the brain via neural connections.
Old neural connections can be worn down, and new ones can be built up. But these addiction-related neural connections tend to linger long after the physical dependency itself has passed.
One major consequence of this, is that if you return to your familiar haunts and locations immediately after completing your treatment program, you are at real risk of triggering all those associations and habitual routines, and suffering a relapse.
For this reason, moving away from your old environment can be one of the best things you can do for yourself while on the road to recovery. It allows you to get a fresh start and a clean break, and it removes you from all those familiar cues and routines that activate your entrenched negative habits.
Moving away from your old location is not necessarily going to be easy. But you can be quite sure it will be an avenue to a bright new chapter in your life, if you approach it in the right way.
Join clubs and activity groups, and break ties with your old acquaintances who kept you in a negative loop
Just as places can trigger our old addiction-related habits and routines, so too can people. If you have friends who you’ve always indulged in your addiction with in the past – and they are still addicted, themselves – there is a real risk that maintaining ties with them will lead to you being dragged down, even despite their best intentions.
And, that’s assuming that they do in fact have the best of intentions. Many people you will meet and befriend as an addict, are in fact fundamentally bad for you. All too often, they will not be “friends” at all, and certainly not the kind of people you can rely on, but rather individuals who are using you for their own benefit.
It’s specifically these kinds of people who will often bend over backwards to drag you back into your addiction by hook or by crook, once you set out on the path of recovery.
Breaking ties with your old addiction-related acquaintances is often an essential step to take. But we all need friendship circles and social lives in order to thrive.
For that reason, you should make a point of joining clubs and activity groups based around positive hobbies and routines, and begin making new friends and connections.
Filling your time with these kinds of productive hobbies and routines is also essential, because once you are free of your addiction, you can easily find yourself becoming bored, lost, and feeling as though there is a void in your life. Fill that void with productive, positive, and fun action.
Set goals for the future that have deep meaning to you
A key reason why people often fall into cycles of addiction, is because the addiction will typically blunt the sense of the future, and allow the individual in question to focus entirely on the short term.
When you are free of your addiction, therefore, your time horizon will open up once more in a dramatic fashion, and you’ll have to think about the future in a much more focused way.
If you don’t have any powerful and meaningful goals for the future, it’s all too easy for nihilism and apathy to set in, and that paves the way to relapse.
Setting goals for the future that have a deep, existential meaning for you, and working towards them with everything you’ve got, helps to restore enthusiasm, purpose, and passion to your life. And those things are essential.
This post is partnered and collaborative content.