Many people think that getting clean is the hardest part and while that may be true in certain cases, especially when it comes to drugs such as heroin which can have an intensely hard detox process, however very often the hard part is in early recovery. The drugs have completely left your system and you are no longer physically craving the drug but facing life on life’s terms and learning how to cope with every day situations is tough. In addition to facing every day situations you will also need to face the music when it comes to all the consequences of your addiction. This is the reason why many addicts get clean and then relapse again after just a few short months.
Once you have come off your drug of choice the hard work really begins. Here are some tips for staying clean in early recovery:
Go To Meetings
If you got clean through a 12 Step program make sure to go to meetings regularly – as often as you possibly can. In the 12 Step Program they talk about attending 90 meetings in 90 days and this is a great idea. It may seem like a lot of work and it may be a strain but it will really help you to stay clean.
There are also SMART recovery meetings that you can attend. You may have gotten clean through a church program – speak to someone there are find out if there are regular support meetings you can attend.
It doesn’t matter how you got clean – what matters now is that you stay clean and doing it alone is hard and chances of relapse are high. Find some sort of support group or meeting and make sure to go regularly.
Being in a group and healing mind, body and spirit together is important for your recovery according to Sunspire Health Texas that offers addiction treatment in Texas.
Get A Sponsor
Find someone in recovery that has good clean time that can help you and support you in your recovery journey. Being able to talk to someone that has a strong recovery and understands where you are at in your recovery will be a lifesaver.
Talking regularly to your sponsor will help to keep you on the right path. Your sponsor will be able to give you some excellent insight into your process and will also be able to give you some great advice on how to cope with the various situations you will find yourself in when you are clean.
Things which non-addicts take in their stride every day without a second thought may seem like a mountain to climb for you. A good example of this is getting a job – how to cope with job interviews, how to explain the long periods of employment and how to explain the many jobs you may have been fired from. You may even have a criminal record and many companies ask you whether you have a criminal record.
These things can be incredibly tricky to navigate through.
Go For Counseling
Yes it may seem like an overkill but a counselor and a sponsor are not the same thing. For starters a counselor is a trained professional that has helped many other people overcome obstacles in life.
Chances are high that you have some underlying issues that you need to work through, especially if you have not gone for addiction treatment. If you want the best possible chances of staying clean and rocking your recovery then having regular counseling sessions is highly recommended.
As per Desert Palms that offers addiction treatment in California – addiction is treatment is tough but you will learn about the process of addiction and the reasons why you keep using. You will learn healthy coping techniques and stand a much better chance of long term recovery.
Stay Out Of Romantic Relationships
One of the fastest ways to relapse is to get into a romantic relationship too soon. In early recovery addicts are not able to cope with emotional highs and lows very well at all.
In addition to that addicts are often looking for something outside themselves to make themselves feel better. Take away the drugs, alcohol and other crutches an addict usually makes use of and a relationship may be one of the first things an addict tries to make themselves feel better.
It is important to learn healthy coping mechanisms and to keep things as stable as possible for at least the first year of recovery.
There are often jokes in movies about first getting a plant and if after 6 months that survives get a pet. After a year if our plant and pet are still alive and if you are still clean then you are ready for a relationship. It may be done in a joking way but stick to this.
Recognize Your Triggers
Through meetings, chatting to your sponsor and sessions with your counselor you will start to recognize your triggers. When you can recognize your triggers you can start to deal with them in a different way and not revert to your usual and destructive ways of coping.
Being in recovery is about learning healthy coping mechanisms and then implementing those instead of using.
Plan For Festivities
Your first birthday, Christmas, Valentines, New Years Eve, Easter and many other special occasions will be times that will most likely be uncomfortable and trying for you. Make sure to have a plan in place for each of these occasions.
This is also where being part of a recovery community such as the 12 step program really comes in handy. There will be sober events and meetings held at these times to support you and help you get through them sober.
If it is your own birthday make sure to chat to your sponsor and counselor to ensure that this is a safe time.
People, Places and Things
Hanging out in your local pub to get a lemonade is not the best idea – trust me on this I tried it and it always ended up badly for me. Likewise hanging out with your using friends will always lead to trouble.
Being in recovery means a new way of life and letting go of the people, places and things associated with your using and your old way of life. Yes this is tough to do but it is essential if you want to make it with your recovery.
Take Up New Hobbies
Your life up until you got clean was filled with destructive habits and things that did not benefit you. Chances are that you did not participate much in any healthy hobbies. Now is the time to take up something new. It is all very well cutting out the bad things in your life but you need to fill those gaps with something new.
Taking up hiking, reading or crafting will give you a healthy way to spend your time.