How to Balance the Demands of Aftercare While Maintaining Sobriety
Maintaining sobriety can feel like a full-time job for many people after they leave rehabilitation. You’ll need to balance living a full life with a job and relationships alongside your continued treatment and commitment to sobriety. Sobriety can’t take over your life, but it still needs to remain a top priority.
With the right balance in your day-to-day life, everything you do can support your continued abstinence by boosting your mental health and strengthening your support system.
As you leave rehab, you can continue maintaining sobriety and achieve balance with these tips:
Set the Right Priorities
You’ll need to complete a few crucial tasks early, possibly before you leave rehab, to help you stay sober longer.
First, focus on the things you need to live. For instance, you need a place to stay and perhaps a new job to earn money and feed yourself. If you cannot stay with friends or family, there may be resources and shelters in your area that will help you stay safe and even find employment. Shelter and employment are vital to helping you stay sober. You may also need support such as temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) or food stamps until you can get back on your feet.
Second, repair any damaged relationships and reach out to your support system. You’ll need friends and family members to help you when you are feeling tempted to use and to help keep you accountable. While you should avoid any people who may trigger you to use again, you should build up relationships with loved ones who can offer you support. You should also avoid people who add to your stress level or are unwilling to provide empathetic support.
Finally, be sure you have a plan to receive aftercare, either through continued check-ins with your counselor or therapist, by attending a support group, or joining a 12-step program. You need people in your life who understand what you are going through and can offer support when you need it most. They will help you in hard times and cheer for you in the good times.
Be Careful Making Commitments
Stress may be a big factor in your drug or alcohol use. Making new commitments, whether to a relationship, job, or activity, can put a strain on your time or mental health. You need to leave time in your day just for you, where you can participate in healthy activities that leave you feeling calm and relaxed.
New commitments can also make it difficult to keep up with your counselor and support groups. Your sobriety needs to be your number one priority; nothing should keep you from aftercare activities. If you need more time for other activities, talk to your counselor to see if they feel you can reduce your participation in aftercare or to make a plan to receive continued support that takes less time out of your schedule.
Try Self-Care Activities
Self-care means doing little things that make you feel good. It may mean taking a long bath, participating in yoga, going for a jog, or even just having a quiet moment in the morning with a good cup of coffee. Carve out time in your day that is just for you, not for anyone else, so you can reflect on yourself and your achievements.
One key self-care activity is practicing gratitude. As you care for yourself, think of the things you are thankful for. You may be thankful for your friends, your sobriety, your improved health, or even just a particularly nice breeze. Making note of the things you are thankful for remind you why you are abstinent and help you rededicate yourself to your sobriety. Framing your life in a positive way through gratitude is more beneficial to maintaining abstinence than focusing on negative things that would happen if you relapsed.
Find a Good Aftercare Program
A good aftercare program through your treatment center or other resource gives you the long-term support you need without asking too much from you. It helps you easily achieve balance between maintaining sobriety and keeping up with all your responsibilities.
A good aftercare program should have a relapse prevention plan that you receive before you even leave rehab. Your plan may include numbers to call or people to reach out to when you are tempted to use, a schedule of treatment sessions or support groups you will attend, or goals for your life after treatment. It may include resources for shelter, work, or other assistance.
Your aftercare program should also include regular check-ins with a counselor for weeks or months after your rehab has ended. These continued check-ins help you stay accountable to yourself and give you an easy opportunity to ask for help and support.
Finally, these programs should help you find employment through vocational assistance. They may help you find a way to further your education, such as through community college, or connect you with employers who are looking for workers. Having a job or vocation supports your abstinence while helping you build your new life after treatment.
At Harmony Place, our aftercare programs give you comprehensive, compassionate support for long-term sobriety. We help you build a balanced life after rehabilitation and create a plan to avoid relapses. You can rely on us to help you maintain abstinence for years to come.
If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, you can find the help you need for rehabilitation and beyond. Contact us today to get help for addiction.