It’s not unusual for individuals to face some early struggles soon after leaving a treatment program. Going from a structured treatment environment back to regular daily life can be a difficult transition. Even though good treatment programs equip their clients with coping methods and strategies to help them deal with and overcome these struggles, it isn’t always easy for that individual to apply what they’ve learned.
Recognizing situations that have the potential to cause issues for a person in early recovery can be crucial in helping yourself or a loved one stay sober.
Being Around Others Who Use
Being around friends, family or other individuals who use drugs or alcohol, even casually, can be stressful and tempting for an individual in early recovery. Treatment programs often encourage their clients to avoid the familiar people, places and things that were around them when they were actively using. Although finding new friends and new places to hang out can be difficult, it can also make early recovery a lot less anxiety inducing. Family members can provide support by not using around their loved one in recovery.
Experiencing Strong Emotions
Individuals who aren’t used to experiencing sustained periods of sobriety may find it difficult to deal with strong emotions. These can be easily triggered and feel especially intense for a person who is no longer self-medicating or using drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions. In fact, long-term drug and alcohol use can damage a person’s emotional balance, although this can be repaired over time. Ongoing counseling, support from loved ones and a healthy outlet for stress relief can help.
People with substance use issues spend a large chunk of their time using or figuring out when, where and how they will next be able to use. Adjusting to having large amounts of free time can be a challenge for individuals once they leave the structured and scheduled days of a treatment program. Exploring new and healthy hobbies and activities to fill time can help a newly sober person feel less tempted to use out of boredom.
In addition to its residential and PHP services, Silvermist also provides each client with an aftercare plan that includes a housing option, outpatient follow-up care for all needs and a list of 12-step programs in the area where the client chooses to reside. Having these details planned out before the individual leaves treatment can also help reduce stress and make early recovery as easy as possible.