The recovery journey does not end after rehab. In fact, many believe this is where the journey truly begins. After completing drug or alcohol treatment, a person can return to their daily lives of working, going to school, seeing friends and family. While this is a major achievement, it’s also a major transition. Oftentimes, returning to life after rehab means returning to many new relapse triggers, such as party-going friends, outside stresses and pressures, and everyday temptations.
Research shows that most relapses occur within the first six months of leaving professional treatment. However, relapse does not have to be a part of your story. With the right, tailored treatment regime in place, and the right life skills in recovery to support it, you can sustain sobriety after rehab. Below, we outline the life skills most essential to a lasting recovery.
The first step towards a healthy recovery is recognizing the importance of self-care: looking after yourself and doing what makes you happy. This could involve maintaining a clean living space, getting your hair done, or going to yoga regularly. Think about what will bring you positivity in mind, body, and spirit, and that is what will help you stay positive on your recovery journey.
- Healthy Habits and Routines
To support self-care, it is also important to establish healthy habits and routines during the recovery process. This could involve personal hygiene, exercising on a regular basis, or keeping up with a nutritious diet. It might involve getting good sleep, or attending 12-step meetings and support groups on a weekly basis. In your treatment program, you will begin to develop routines that benefit various aspects of your life. In order to stay on track, it is important to maintain these throughout your recovery.
- Time Management
Time management goes hand-in-hand with establishing routines. In the past, it’s likely that most of your time went to getting drugs, using drugs, or recovering from drugs. Now that you have your life back, it’s important to establish some structure in your day, so that you can keep up with the things that matter (work, school, mediation, meetings). Fill your day with positive “to-dos,” as too much “down time” can be a trigger for substance use.
- Social Skills
Prior to treatment, your social circle was likely filled with drinking and drug-using friends. Now, it is important to establish healthier friendships with people who support will your recovery. Again, this can be easier said than done. Many recovering addicts struggle with social anxieties and insecurities, especially adolescents and young adults. That is why social skills are such an important piece of the recovery process. Building social skills in recovery can bolster self-confidence, and make connecting with new people easier than ever. In treatment, you will begin to build a sober, social network through meetings and support groups. You will also attend counseling sessions where you will further develop sound social skills.
- Financial Responsibility
There is no denying that substance addiction can take a major financial toll. And it’s not always easy to dig yourself out – especially if financial management isn’t your strong suit. This is one of those “must-have” life skills in recovery, but it’s one you can learn with the right dedication in place. After rehab, it is important to seek out a job where you can earn a comfortable salary. Talk with trusted loved ones for tips on how to manage your money. In treatment, you can also ask a mentor, a support staff member, or a sponsor about good financial management, including how to save money, manage a credit card, and pay off debts.
- Emotion and Stress Management
As you may know, negative emotions and stress are common triggers of cravings and substance abuse. In fact, they may have been what led you to drugs and alcohol in the first place. Many people turn to drugs to escape feelings of sadness or pain. Many will drink to “feel better” in difficult situations. If this sounds familiar, emotional management and stress management will be key skills to learn in your recovery. This involves learning self-control and healthy coping skills to handle negative circumstances: meditation, exercise, and journaling are just some of the many examples. A treatment program that enacts Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help develop this specific recovery skillset.
- Goal Setting
Recovery is a huge accomplishment on its own. Now that you are sober, what else would you like to accomplish in life? Think about your goals for the next several months. Do you wish to try something new? Do you wish to go back to school, travel, or start on your career? Are there relationships you would like to mend or begin? Goal setting is an important skill in recovery because it’s exactly what drives us forward. Goals give us purpose, promotes feelings of self-worth, and inspires us to become the best possible versions of ourselves.
Staying sober, and living sober, is a lifelong process. If you or a loved one is battling the disease of addiction, it is important to find a treatment center that can help build a foundation that can support a lasting recovery – life skills such as managing time, establishing healthy routines, knowing healthy coping mechanisms, and building meaningful relationships are just a few. It is these life skills in recovery that will help you live and carry out a more rewarding and fulfilling, drug-free life.
To learn about how Turnbridge helps young men and women build life skills in recovery, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.