You have probably heard in the past that the hardest part about overcoming addiction is that first essential step – but it is also the most important. Once you have admitted that you have a problem, it is then just a case of going through the motions. However, that doesn’t mean that the difficulties end there; there are many difficult parts and elements to the whole recovery process, and it’s important not to have any illusions about that.
One of the more challenging times in recovery is when you have just finished your period of time at rehab and now need to come back into the world as a sober person. In many ways, this is the real test, and it’s a challenging one. So what exactly are the hardest parts about staying sober once you have left rehab – and what can you do to ensure you are giving yourself the best chance for success?
The Pressure Of Other People
Anyone who has had a problem with addiction knows that one of the main stressors is other people. You are often going to find yourself in a position of having to answer to people, and the pressure and stress of that can be very difficult indeed. When you leave rehab, one of the main challenges is the pressure that you get from others, and in truth, it comes in many forms, each of which you will need to discover and determine for yourself.
One such pressure will be facing your family and friends, and trying to do whatever you can to live up to their expectations – whilst first and foremost being true to yourself. The other side of the coin here is that your loved ones are not always going to be as supportive as you would ideally want them to be. Sometimes, family and friends can turn their backs on an addict, especially if you have been through the recovery process before. This is a very challenging aspect of the recovery path for many people.
The solution? Try your hardest to focus on yourself, not on what other people think of you. You are probably not going to change their opinions in any meaningful way, so just do what is right for you and don’t worry about the rest. That’s not always easy, but with practice, you can get there. You might also have friends and family members who are addicts themselves, and you might feel pressure to join them again. Here, the best thing you can do is cut ties until they are clean too.
Getting Used To A New Recovery-Focused Life
Once you leave rehab, your life really does change profoundly. It changes for the better in a huge way, of course, but that doesn’t mean that it is all easy. In particular, you might find it hard at first to turn your back on the life you had at rehab. Depending on how much time you spent there, you probably made friends and connections, and you likely had an entire support system around you to help you through the whole process. Outside of rehab, you don’t have that to the same degree, so you need to be prepared for that change.
You can deal with this by going to meetings and spending time with others in recovery, avoiding those old situations where drugs are likely to be present, and spending time focusing on a new, positive hobby like writing or art.
Managing Your Stress Levels
Many addicts first turned to drugs as a way to try and deal with stress. We all experience stress every day of our lives, but now that you are in recovery you are going to need to find a positive and useful way to manage it, rather than simply turning back to drugs to try and cover it up. In a way, those stressful moments are some of the major challenges and will show you how far you have really come. So how do you make sure that you approach it in the right way?
First of all, cut the sources of stress at the root before they snowball into more and more stress. You should also try to make use of people in your life – including the professionals you are in touch with – who are able to help you understand your sources and stress and how to deal with them better. Ultimately, if you find yourself having a craving, you should speak to someone.
There are many challenges ahead, but as long as you know how to manage them, you have a much greater chance of success post rehab.