Most people would like to think that completing a professional treatment program at a facility is an instant cure for their addiction. However, life after the initial recovery program can be challenging, and relapse is a potential reality regardless of how much one thinks that the problem has been solved. Fortunately, by putting an appropriate aftercare plan into place prior to leaving the facility, recovering addicts can prevent relapses and make it easier to transition back into normal life.
Because the human brain works on patterns, it is often a mistake for patients to thrust themselves back into their old environment directly from a recovery facility. This is because the old home, neighborhood and social circle sometimes trigger former behavioral patterns because that is what the person associates with his or her previous environment. In many cases, the answer to this problem is a sober living house or transitional living facility. Such establishments are usually run by live-in managers and have a set structure for residents. For example, curfews, mandatory meetings and drug testing may be part of the arrangements, but it is these things that will help the patient to establish new overall living patterns and behaviors.
Reuniting With Family
In many cases, recovering addicts feel very close to other individuals at their treatment facility because they share a common problem. However, upon returning home, family relations may be a bit strained and the former, hurtful actions of the patient may not be water under the bridge among all family members. Counseling on an outpatient basis at a facility that specializes in family programs can be invaluable with regard to this challenge. Often, when a professional mediates the conversation between the recovering addict and his or her relatives, arguments and other negative events can be avoided and everyone involved can learn how to work on building good relationships through positive words and actions.
Finding Sober Friends
It is always a mistake for a recovering drug addict to rejoin former social circles where contact will be made with old companions who are still substance abusers. Such behavior is a direct route to a relapse and for this reason it is important to form new friendships after treatment with sober individuals.
Whether one chooses a 12 step program or nontraditional group therapy, it is important to go to meetings on a regular basis to receive support from counselors and other individuals battling substance abuse problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, patients are almost 40% less likely to relapse if they attend structured meetings with other people in similar situations.
The National Institutes of Health reports that boredom is essentially an instant relapse trigger. Because addiction is a set of behavioral patterns, it is important to fill the void left by drugs with wholesome and productive ways to have fun. A person should consider learning a sport, joining a civic group, taking up a hobby or enrolling in classes at a local college or university. Choices of this kind are not only enjoyable, but ensure that the patient will establish a new, healthy, drug free way of life.