Recovery from substance abuse and addiction is a lifelong process and can come in many forms. But still many people continue to think that residential treatments and detox programs are the most important part of addiction recovery. And while these often mark key moments of a person’s recovery journey, they are only the beginning.
Rebuilding a healthy life doesn’t happen right away. If the situation is severe, a person may require medically-assisted inpatient detox. After this, they will likely transition to a full-time residential program with a range of out-patient therapies. From there, aftercare programs provide the ongoing support for long-term sobriety.
The reality is that life is messy—both with and without the added element of addiction recovery. But by embracing the recovery process as growth and rebuilding, the journey can be one of joy and wholeness.
For many people in recovery, the first aspect of rebuilding is their perspective of life. Each person is different and their experience in addiction recovery is unique.
There are a number of aftercare programs that provide ongoing support as you re-enter daily life. These may include:
But above all else, it’s important to place yourself in an atmosphere that will support your sobriety and recovery. Some of these environments may be unexpected. For example, one recent study has shown the positive effect that music can have on addiction patterns. The way that music fosters “psychosocial integration and social cohesion” can help those who struggle with addiction rebuild social connection to themselves and others.
If you continue to be open to perspectives on life, you may find new ways and methods to continue healing.
A common tendency with those in addiction is to self-isolate. This destructive pattern can overflow into the recovery process, too, and be expressed as trying to do everything on your own. But there are many resources available to help.
For more long-term and immersive help, it may be worthwhile to investigate the sober living homes in your area. Such facilities are often associated with a larger organization, but many of them still have independent owners and may allow residence for a year or sometimes more.
In the early stages of recovery, many people don’t have access to a safe place to go. Or if they do, their living space may not provide a healthy environment to support sobriety. So, sober living homes facilitate an environment based on recovery and shared values. Other benefits of sober living homes include:
Even if a sober living house isn’t for you, this is just an example of making sure that you have a solid network of people and resources that can support you on your journey.
Addiction impacts everyone in a person’s life. Not only does it disrupt day-to-day life and its routines, it can cause long-term destructive effects. One of the causes of this destruction is the erratic behavior of addicts that often leads to fear and mistrust in their relationships. Many times, addiction leads to lying and manipulation of others in order to get what they need to support their habit.
Despite these damaging behaviors, some close relationships may inadvertently promote addiction when trying to calm the situation. Other loved ones might fight back and assume a “tough love” stance. In either case, family stress and turmoil increases.
These dynamics will likely remain even after a period of residential treatment. Because of this, one’s relationships will need to undergo just as much attention and care as the person suffering from addiction. Family therapy, couple’s therapy, and daily trust-building are just a few of the ways one can begin to restore the relationships that are damaged in the wake of addiction.
In line with rebuilding family relationships, it’s important to put each of these processes in a realistic framework with realistic expectations. Individuals fresh out of treatment may feel excited and focused on the future. They themselves may feel ready to return to relationships and wipe the slate clean. But family members and loved ones may need more time to rebuild trust and work through the anger of past experiences.
The repetition of lying and manipulative behavior from the past—although it may indeed be in the past—forms a certain set of expectations and creates lasting impressions. Even though you may be ready to start fresh, your loved ones may still be feeling the effects of manipulation, cheating, or whatever it took to feed the addiction. Only small steps and showing your family each day that you’re focused on healthy living will begin to turn the tide.
Part of navigating a realistic recovery process is understanding that rebuilding relationships takes time, so it’s key to celebrate small victories.
A large factor in learning to trust yourself and others is to practice healthy communication skills.Communication depends on the participation of both people. This includes active listening and honest sharing of thoughts and feelings. Without this, the rebuilding process will have a weak foundation and will certainly not last.
Being honest about the recovery process will also help your loved ones come alongside you in your healing. Although it may be difficult to be vulnerable and to share the hard things you’ve experienced, this practice of sharing the burden will help you learn to trust those around you in a healthy way.
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