While going through detox, receiving treatment, and completing a stay at a medical or sobriety facility are critical, necessary parts of your healing process, your recovery doesn’t end once you walk out the door. A complete recovery won’t just look like a return to the lifestyle you used to lead; it’ll include strategies and structures which are designed to help you navigate your life onto a healthier, stronger path, both to prevent a return to old habits and to encourage you to rise beyond who you used to be and achieve a better future for yourself.
Aftercare is an umbrella term which refers to every type of recovery work you engage in after your initial period of acute treatment. This can include seeing a therapist, attending 12-Step programs or other sober meetings, weekly contact with your sponsor or support network, engaging in community service, regular exercise, and much more. The combination of these forms of self-improvement with intentional relationship-building with professionals and sources of personal support will help you not just to stay sober, but to get on track to a healthier life in the long term.
Part of living sober is living intentionally. As part of your recovery, you’ll likely develop a plan for how you want to put your life back together, almost always with the help of a therapist, sponsor, or peer group. Sober living means both living without substance abuse and living intentionally–it’s a combination of knowing what to avoid and knowing what to pursue that will add up to a more fulfilled, more proactive version of yourself.
Your plan should include strategies to follow when you notice yourself slipping into negative, isolating, or otherwise destructive mindsets. These strategies might include reaching out to a specific person who knows how to talk you through it, performing a certain set of actions which ease your feelings, or changing your environment to help reset your mind. Your plan will also incorporate short-term, mid-term, and long-term personal goals with detailed steps you can take to achieve them and a process for holding yourself accountable.
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Getting sober is the first step towards living sober. This represents a change in your lifestyle that will almost certainly go beyond simply cutting out substance use. Addiction doesn’t form in a vacuum; if you’re going to put yourself on a better path, you’ll put in the effort to identify potential negative influences in your life and restructure your affairs to avoid them. Once you’re on the other side of addiction, your new perspective and your positive influences should work to help you recognize destructive factors in your life and address them accordingly.
Depending on what your life was like before you got sober, you may have some work to do in changing your old ways, not only when it comes to substance use, but also in terms of rebuilding your personal relationships, career, financial situation, living situation, or overall mental health. These things take time. Approaching your goal of a strong, healthy life with a clear mind and structured plan will allow you to act with confidence and many forms of aftercare are designed to help you meet these goals on top of helping you stay sober.
One of the most important parts of your success will depend on your access to support and resources in the times of greatest challenge. Even if the people in your life encourage your new direction, chances are that most of them won’t directly understand what you’re going through. This can make it difficult for them to provide effective support for you in times of stress. It’s vital to maintain trustworthy contact with people who can relate to your internal turmoil as you navigate this new chapter of your life. Your peers in treatment and 12-Step programs, your sponsor, and recovery professionals can provide a crucial perspective here in ways that your friends and family may not be able to, however well-meaning they may be.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to make sure your environment is conducive to your sobriety. If your home life is full of pitfalls, like friends or family with substance habits or people who don’t understand or support the changes you’re trying to make, it may be in your best interest to consider a change in environment. It’s a common misconception that recovery ends once you leave treatment in the first, acute period of getting help. In truth, your recovery will be a lifelong process. Treatment centers and recovery facilities are often designed with prolonged care in mind, acting as resources and providing a positive environment for your healing long after you’ve taken the initial step of getting sober.
Many treatment centers offer some form of continued care services, often with both inpatient and outpatient options. Some people in recovery find it invaluable to spend time in a constructive environment where they can rebuild their approach to life, receive counseling in areas from financial planning and career development to personal therapy, and connect with peers and mentors who will make it easier to walk the road ahead. Even if you don’t choose to stay inpatient for the next period of your recovery, having regular contact with a healing environment can make a significant impact upon your progress in healing.
Warner Park Recovery offers services for people at every step of recovery, from your initial intake to helping you maintain access to helpful resources as you rebuild your life. Whether you’re interested in inpatient treatment, outpatient programs, or just want to learn more about how you can ensure yourself a successful recovery, we can help provide the answers you need. Reach out to us today to get started. Get sober, stay sober, and live your best life.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with issues around mental health or addiction, contact us for a full evaluation and treatment options. We understand that it is not a process that any individual should tackle alone, and that is why we have a team of qualified personnel who are available to offer you the help you need.