The Hard Part of Treatment is When You Go Home
If you’ve recently completed rehab, you might feel like you have just conquered the world. However, there is still much work to be done in the near future. Yes, going through detox is hard, and then dealing with life without your addiction object is difficult, but that was the easy part. The next three to six months are your real test days, and these will need to be done with NO Professional Supervision/Babysitting, meaning you will have to rely on what you learned in rehab to get you through. When you are finally living independently, out of rehab, and on your own again, there are several things to keep in mind that will help you maintain your sobriety and continue your personal transformation:
You need STRUCTURE. When you were in rehab, your daily structure and activities were all planned for you. Now you have to provide your own structure, schedule, strategy, and game plan for every minute of your day. Having the right and regular wakeup and lights out times, three healthy meals a day, and time for chores, work, and healthy relaxation activities, your body functions best when in a rhythm and routine. This might seem easy, but this will determine whether you will be successful in your recovery or not. An idle mind is the devil’s playground. So you need to keep your mind focused on what’s healthy and good for your short-term and long-term growth and maturity.
You need SUPERVISION. During treatment, you had “facility” police, coaches, teachers, staff, supervisors, and authorities all keeping an eye on you. They didn’t give you the chance to pursue your addiction object, and you were willing to submit to them. Now those people are gone and you have a big choice to make. Option #1: Will you be your own supervisor, like you were before rehab, knowing how badly that turned out? Or Option #2: Will you accept the supervision and authority of somebody else? You should accept the supervision of God your Creator and His instruction book, the Bible. You should also follow the guidance of people who know God, know His instruction manual, and can communicate it to you in a caring and loving way. Whether this is a sponsor, family member, spouse, friend, coworker or somebody else you know, you need to be willing to accept their guidance and advice not only when you’re doing well, but especially when you might be tempted to relapse or are struggling.
You need NEW SKILLS. The old skills landed you in a full-blown addiction, needing rehab. You were in a psychological prison. Unless you want to end up back there, you need to start using new skills. The only way you get good at new skills is to practice regularly. These can be little skills like waking up thankful each day and saying thank you to anyone who does anything for you, or it can be going to bed at the right time every night. Big skills can include listening to and taking someone’s advice in an area you know you don’t have a good track record. Another is being in control of your feelings and not letting them be in control of you. The biggest is going to be looking at everything through Godly lenses and not your me-centered lens and then thinking before you react.
You need to beware of TRIGGERS. You need to evaluate what items in your life move you forward on your road to recovery and which things push you backward closer to your addiction life. You have many people, places, and things which can quickly trigger you back into your old habits and dysfunctional skills with knee-jerk decision-making and mindset. Your destination will be frustration and failure. Some of them you can avoid through good decision-making, planning, and being real with yourself about what is a trap for you and what isn’t. Some of them you can’t avoid, but you can be very prepared for them when they catch you by surprise by having a game plan ready for unexpected temptations. Life will show up and you must be prepared to deal with adversity. Deal with it well and you get stronger. Don’t deal with it well and it will be a weight that crushes you.
You need to take RESPONSIBILITY for what you did before. You probably screwed up a lot before you went to rehab. Don’t run away from it. Own up to it, say you’re sorry in a genuine way, ask for forgiveness from those you hurt, and show them, and yourself, you will be a different person. You are what your track record is, so until you show them a better track record, be humble about where you are and what you did. Don’t make lame excuses or wild promises. Don’t waste your time trying to convince them they can trust you. They can’t and shouldn’t until you show a track record of trustworthy behavior. You can’t even trust yourself yet so why should they. When they, and you, see the new you over a longer period of time, trust in you will powerfully grow.
Getting through rehab is definitely an accomplishment, but the next big, and most critical test comes when you go back home and try to live your life without the constant supervision of rehab. Be prepared, be humble, and be ready to ask for help when you need it. If you ever need additional help as you transition to your life, contact us at Lighthouse Network at 844-LifeChange (844-543-3242) to talk to one of our Care Guides.