What Now!? Preparing for After Treatment
Take it slow!
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. It is easy to be overwhelmed when returning home after addiction treatment. Job, family, friends and parents; you name it, want the best for us but also will have certain expectations of us. The best way to tackle this, is to take on one thing at a time. Proper communication and good boundaries also help ensure our own peace of mind. Remember “easy does it.”
Pink Cloud of Greatness
Most of us are on top of our recovery program when we come out of treatment. We feel proud of our accomplishments and are setting and achieving goals for ourselves. This can produce a strong sense of euphoria, or the Pink Cloud. But quickly, work, family and friends pull at you from different directions. Lives haven’t stopped while you were in treatment and stress and frustration set in, slowly invading the pink cloud that sobriety initially produces. As life progresses, we may forget how important it is to focus on our sobriety and the hard work that goes into maintaining it. We take care of our new cell phones, new cars and jewelry better than we take care of our recovery. We try to please everyone and may even skip a meeting here or there to accommodate the demands of others.
There was always time to use. We found ways to fit drug addiction into our lives. Soon our lives were consumed with finding and using drugs. But in recovery, we seem to run out of time when trying to balance responsibilities with meetings, sponsors and spirituality. It seems like there is not enough time to meet all of our daily goals. Soon we make excuses for missing meetings and interactions with our sponsor. Then we find ourselves entertaining old friends, which may not seem like a problem. But our mental relapse occurs before a physical one. This means thar before a physical relapse occurs, we find ourselves thinking about using drugs or alcohol. It is essential for us to avoid going down this path – focus on playing the tape through and finding someone to speak with about these thought patterns.
We don’t want to disappoint anyone, especially now that we are finally doing the right thing. But it is in our nature to become obsessed in one area and neglect other areas. For example, we may pick up a new hobby and neglect our family, friends, spouses and employment. This type of behavior is characteristic of addiction and we must learn to monitor it so that we do not relapse into old patterns. Flexibility and setting limits are skills that we lost in active addiction and now need to redevelop. It is difficult to find the balance without feeling like you are neglecting someone else. The truth is that you need to put your recovery first when making decisions that will affect your life, such as family vacations. You may want to take a trip, but you’ll still have to find meetings to work your program while away.
Balance and planning ahead are key. Things like creating and sticking to a schedule can help keep you grounded and ensure that you are making time for selfcare. Having a schedule can also help you to avoid isolating and will allow you to assess where your time, and energy, is going.
Feeling Good, Finding Time and Being Flexible
You want your life to blend seamlessly with your recovery program. But before this blend takes place, we may hit some speed bumps along the way. Family, significant others and friends who are not in a recovery program may not understand the amount of time and energy that you must devote to your recovery. They may also struggle to understand the need for ongoing commitments like attending therapy and meetings. Staying informed and educating those around you about addiction can help you transition smoothly from treatment back to your life.