Congratulations on making it through your alcohol use disorder treatment program. It was likely a difficult and trying time, but you did it. It’s a huge accomplishment! Now, what do you do next? How do you stay on track and prevent relapse? Below are 12 things to do after treatment to keep you on the right path.
Get a Support System
A support system is vital for your recovery. It prevents relapse and motivates you to stay sober. Choose a group of friends or family members who will support your decision to stay sober and be there for you when you need it.
Go a step further to find recovery groups in your area. Regularly attend meetings to help you stay on track, such as alcoholics anonymous. The groups offer a sense of community and support that’s very beneficial. You get to make new friends, all while staying sober.
Triggers are anything that makes you want to take alcohol. It could be a place, person, or thing. Identify your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. Stress, for example, is a trigger for many people. Try yoga or meditation to deal with stress healthily.
If you can’t avoid a trigger, have a plan to cope with the temptation. For example, if you’re around people drinking, have a non-alcoholic beverage in hand and excuse yourself from the room if needed. It’s okay to turn down invitations if you don’t feel comfortable. Your sobriety is more important.
After treatment, it’s time to set some goals. What do you want to achieve? It can be anything from getting a new job to starting a family. Write down your goals and work towards them little by little. Most often, alcoholism ruins many aspects of your life.
Setting goals helps you rebuild what was lost. If you find it hard to stay motivated, talk to a therapist. They can help you set realistic goals and provide support along the way. You can also air the challenge to peers at an AA meeting near me. They will offer additional support and encouragement.
Change Your Lifestyle
Your lifestyle likely played a role in escalating the drinking problem. If you want to stay sober, make changes to your lifestyle. If you smoke, quit, eat healthier, or exercise more. It might also mean changing your group of friends.
If most of your friends drink, it’s hard to stay sober. Find new friends who share similar interests and don’t take alcohol. The friends you make at the alcoholics anonymous are a great start. You already have common interests making it easier to hang out and have fun without alcohol.
Get a Sponsor
In addition to a support system, having a sponsor is beneficial. A sponsor has been through the 12-step or other treatment programs and can guide or advise you through the different challenges. They’re there to offer support and advice when needed. It’s helpful to have someone to talk to who understands what you’re going through. They act as your sounding board and can help keep you on track.
An essential part of recovery is to stay busy. When you’re bored, you’re more likely to turn to alcohol. Find things that make you happy and keep you occupied. It can be anything from a hobby to volunteering. Plan your days and weeks to have something to look forward to.
Avoid places where alcohol is served, such as bars and clubs. Exercise more often as it releases endorphins that make you happy. It also makes you exhausted with little energy to think of indulging at the end of the day.
Don’t Be Hard On Yourself
Recovery is a process, and there will be bumps along the way. Be patient with yourself and take things one day at a time. If you have a slip-up, don’t give up. Just get back on track and try again. It’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Because it’s a lifetime journey, be gentle with yourself.
Get a Hobby
A hobby is a great way to stay busy and distracted from drinking thoughts. It can be anything from painting to hiking or playing an instrument. Find something you’re passionate about and stick with it. It’s a great way to relieve stress and meet new people. To make the hobby more meaningful, try to find one that helps others. For example, volunteering at a local animal shelter or soup kitchen.
Live in the Moment
One of the best things about sobriety is being present. When you’re sober, you can fully experience all the good things in life. The little things you took for granted before become so meaningful. Savor your favorite foods, enjoy a sunset, or take a deep breath of fresh air. Take time to appreciate people and things in your life.
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Believe in Yourself
The most important thing is to believe in yourself. Recovery is possible as long as you’re willing to work for it. Be proud of your progress and trust that you can make it through anything. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in you and your journey. You will achieve sobriety and live a happy, fulfilling life with time and effort.
Alcoholism ruins relationships, and this is a chance to make things right. Talk to the people you’ve hurt and apologize. If they’re reluctant to forgive, give them time. They may need to see that you’re sincere about your recovery. In the meantime, focus on rebuilding your life.
One of the best things about recovery is being able to help others. Use your experience to support others who are going through the same. When you help others, you’re also helping yourself. It feels good to give back, keeping you focused on sobriety. You can volunteer at a treatment center, start a support group, or simply be there for someone when they need it.
Seek Additional Help If Needed
If you find yourself struggling to stay sober, don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many resources available online and in your community. Call your sponsor or a trusted friend if you feel like you’re about to relapse.
They can talk you through the urge and help you make it to the other side. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, talk to a therapist. They can provide additional support and help you develop coping mechanisms.