Rehab is designed to treat the root causes of your addiction and challenge and change the maladaptive thinking processes that drive compulsive behaviours. Rehab can definitely be a life changing and lifesaving process. During the rehab process you will undergo intensive therapy to unearth and treat the root causes of your particular addiction. With the alcohol or drugs safely removed from your system with a medical detox, you will look better and feel better and be able to think more clearly. However, it is important to remember that addiction is an incurable illness of the mind and once arrested you will need to use all of your recovery tools, learned whilst in rehab, and apply them to your daily life to maintain remaining well and abstinent.
On leaving rehab treatment it is normal to feel a mixture of fear and excitement. Fear due to the fact that you will have learned the seriousness of the illness of addiction and excitement due to returning back home to your family and loved ones. You may leave under the illusion that you are now permanently fixed; this complacency and overconfidence is often what leads to relapse.
Before your admission to rehab you were probably in a place where you could not imagine life without your addiction, yet realised you could no longer live a life with it. Dealing with life on life’s terms is not easy, especially for the newly sober and clean addict. You will have to face up to the reality of the damage caused by your addiction. Sometimes this means that jobs cannot be returned to and a permanent break up with your partner or spouse. Over time, by continuing to maintain your recovery through the principles of recovery, everything will work out as it should; this will take time and patience and may not fit in with your wishes or expectations. Try to keep in mind the bigger picture and keep your head focused one day at a time on your recovery.
On leaving rehab, it is important that you continue to access local support and any aftercare that is available through the rehab treatment you completed. This will help you to adjust to sober and clean living and help you get through life’s challenges for the first year of your recovery. It is dangerous to leave rehab with the expectations that all is well and family will re-embrace you now you are clean and sober. Trust takes time and hard work with family members and loved ones; there are amends to be made and bridges to be built. The best way of doing this is by continuing in your commitment to your recovery, accessing ongoing support and above all staying clean and sober with a change in your perspective and thinking.
On leaving the rehab environment, it is likely that you will have associations with dealers and old using/drinking friends. We cannot stress enough that this needs to change! Maintaining contact with these individuals, especially in the early days of recovery, is likely to lead to temptation and relapse. As a newly clean and sober individual, it is important to surround yourself with those that support you in maintaining your abstinence based recovery. Support groups such as 12 step, aftercare and counselling are particularly helpful and highly recommended. Acceptance is key to changing your life; as an individual that suffers with a life threatening incurable condition you must put your recovery first, above all else. Attending ongoing support, aftercare and recovery self-help groups assists greatly with this process. Do not be fooled into thinking you are cured and will never returned to drink or drugs again; this thinking is fatal and often leads to relapse. With addiction it is vital to stay actively engaged in recovery. Addiction is a “chronic relapsing brain disease”. Permanent recovery IS possible, IF you are willing to go to any lengths to maintain it.
After completing a detoxification and inpatient rehab programme, a recovering addict or alcoholic will return to everyday life. Challenges and events will have the potential to trigger the early recovering addict into relapse; this is why it is so important to stay engaged in recovery and make use of all of the support available to you.
Research shows that the majority of relapses occur within the first six months of leaving rehab treatment. By applying the tools gained in rehab and staying engaged in recovery and aftercare, you have a much better chance of successfully maintaining your recovery; without the need or want to return to destructive behaviours, alcohol or drugs.
On leaving rehab it is important to follow up with a discharge plan of continued support and care. The rehab you attend will help you with this. By following an action plan of discharge treatment you will find it far easier to reintegrate back into community living and society.
There are various treatment options and follow on care that are available on leaving the rehab treatment environment, which is temptation fee and safe. The real world is very different and it is vital that you continue to engage in practices that serve your ongoing recovery and help you to adjust to living a clean and sober life. Treatment options after rehab include:
Addiction has a ripple effect that is very damaging to those close to the addict. Family are likely to be very wary and frightened; they will either mollycoddle the individual, thinking they can protect them from relapse, or keep a distance, due to the fear of the individual returning to their old behaviours and addiction once more. Children and close family members in particular can be gravely affected by an addict’s behaviour prior to treatment. Some rehabs that we work with provide a Family Recovery Programme; as the family too will need healing in order to move forward from the past. Where this is not available, there are numerous self-help groups including Co-dependency Anonymous, Alateen and Alanon In some instances we recommend that the family also undergo Counselling and individual therapy. With children, it is vital that they receive the correct professional help and support through their local GP practice. Children, in particular find difficulty in identifying and expressing emotions and are often the most damaged by a parent in active addiction. Time, trust, ongoing recovery and professional support can rectify this.