Maintaining Structure in Early Recovery
You have completed detox and withdrawal from your addiction. You attended the psychological therapy sessions both individually and within a group. You even tried a few alternative therapies and loved the experience. Life in the rehab facility had structure, and it was easy to follow the routine. Maintaining a structure in early recovery can be difficult. Everyone had a role to play in your rehabilitation process, so there were no surprises that caught you off-guard. Treatment at the rehab center helped you to get clean again and taught you new skills to stay that way.
You’re excited about being home, but you are also a bit scared. How you will fare on your own is going to be up to you. You will need a plan to structure your daily living practices. There may be certain expectations from your family and you may have to start looking for employment soon. There will be a lot of catching up to do and it may be a bit overwhelming for you at times. You may begin to feel pressured and stress can throw you off balance if you are not careful. The early stages of recovery on your own will be a new experience for you and you will need structure to be able to cope with the changes you are making in your life. You will also need time and space to adjust to being clean and sober again and to decide what steps to take first in rebuilding your life. Having structure in your daily life will give you the chance to work everything out in a timely manner, without pressure and stress.
Keeping Yourself Accountable
You know better than anyone else how much you can do in one day. It will be up to you to decide how much structure you need to keep you on the right path. One important aspect of daily life is to keep your schedule realistic. Simplify as much as possible and don’t over-burden yourself. Trying to do too many chores, projects, and duties can cause stress and may leave you feeling disappointed, frustrated, angry or depressed. For the first few months of recovery you should focus only on what is important. Eliminate things that can wait awhile and aren’t vitally important at the moment. Trying to cram too many activities in at once will wear you down and perhaps tempt you to slip into relapse as an escape. Giving in to too much pressure is not something that you want to invite into your life. Take one day at a time and deal with what needs to be done each day.
If other people at home or at work begin to pressure you to do more than you are comfortable with, you will have to stand up for yourself. People at home should know you are going through recovery. You can remind them that it is a difficult time for you right now and you are following the suggestions of your counselor to keep things simple right now. Tell them that it is important that you not become more overwhelmed than you are during this time. As time passes, things will get better and you will be able to take on more responsibilities. Tell people outside of the home (that do not know you are recovering from addiction) that you will be unable to do certain things right now. You do not have to tell them about your addiction and recovery. Keep it short and to the point in a friendly but firm manner.
Taking Care of Yourself
The early stages of recovery offer a time to begin to focus on your own well-being. Eat nutritious food and drink plenty of water. Take vitamin/mineral supplements if you need them. Start walking or exercising to clear the mind and rebuild the body. You may want to start an exercise program, play sports, go dancing, and practice yoga or any other physical activity. Be sure to get enough rest and a good night’s sleep. Do things that you enjoy and find pleasure in. Spending a little time each day to take care of yourself is important for your overall health.
Be sure to continue with aftercare by meeting with your therapist and attending support group meetings. Spend time with your family and friends who support your sobriety. All these things are for your benefit so try to make time for them when you can. Ask for help when you need it and don’t let anything overwhelm you. For now, concentrate on your sobriety and try to keep life as simple as possible.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the White Sands Treatment Center at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.