Once you get to rehab, your time spent there can seem like a breeze, as far as staying sober goes. First of all, you have all of the support you need to talk about your problems, and professionals to stop you from acting on a relapse or letting your thoughts spiral out of control. You are also surrounded by peers who are going through the same thing as you, so you can share stories and seek comfort in each other’s camaraderie. It’s only once you get out of rehab that real life comes back into the picture. With that also come many opportunities to derail your sobriety, and it is up to you to make your recovery a priority and stay on top of being sober.
How to Now Derail Your Sobriety
The best thing for anyone to do when they are recovering from drug and alcohol abuse is going to rehab, first and foremost. After that, it is important to slowly wean down your treatment so that you aren’t thrown back into the real world cold turkey, expecting to cope.
The reasons for this are clear. In a nutshell, life is complicated in both good and bad ways. In rehab, you are cushioned from everything. In real life, you aren’t. You can be super strong in your sobriety, yet something will come your way to completely derail your sobriety and really challenge all of the work you have put into it.
For example, something negative can happen like a breakup with your significant other, or death or illness of a loved one. These can be devastating events and are known to be huge triggers for relapse. While you certainly can’t always anticipate these kinds of things, it is important to make sure you have enough of a support system so that drugs and alcohol aren’t the answer. Your support system can include:
- Good, sober friends who have your best interest in mind. Ideally, they are living a sober lifestyle too.
- A therapist who you can speak to about your feelings, and call in case of emergency.
- A 12-step program so that you have a list of people you can call, and meetings you can attend and speak during to get things off of your chest.
- Doctors to manage your medication, especially if you have been diagnosed with something like anxiety or depression.
- Make sure to have hobbies to keep your mind busy even if things are less than ideal in your life. This way you can occupy your mind with something else and distract yourself from whatever is going on.
On the flip side, sometimes happy things take place too, and the first thing people want to do to celebrate is to whip out alcohol or drugs. For example, when is the last time you were at a birthday party or a wedding and alcohol wasn’t a part of the equation? In lots of these kinds of situations, you are almost expected to drink, but that is by no means an excuse to relapse. Here are some things you can do:
- Realize that you don’t need a mood-altering substance to celebrate. Juice or water is a sufficient toast.
- Plan out what you will tell people who ask why you aren’t drinking. There will always be those people who try to push drinks your way. You have a ton of options of what to tell them, from the truth about staying sober, to feeling under the weather. At the end of the day, “No!” is a perfectly suitable answer that any person should respect.
- Find another way to make the day unique. Balloons, candles, or even fireworks and lanterns can make an event go from mediocre to great. Little things will make the day memorable, unlike alcohol which will just make you forget most of what went on.
At the end of the day, the choice to stay sober stands with you. Every situation that comes your way is another test of your sobriety and your will to stay committed to recovery. You have to truly want it to achieve it, but if you really do want it, you can become unstoppable.