Rebuilding Your Life after Meth Addiction

Recovery from meth addiction is no easy task. Continually working towards a life without drugs exemplifies incredible resilience and drive. The rehab experience is a crucial tenet of any road towards recovery, but it is not the only one.

Following rehab, there are still steps to ensure that the work achieved so far is maintained going forward. When formal rehab ends and we start adjusting to everyday life outside of a treatment centre, how do we continue to harness this energy?

What are the best strategies for staying clean in the outside world when we have work, general life and personal stresses that can potentially ‘deplete [our] psychological resources?’

Staying clean after rehab is absolutely a possibility. Armed with self-knowledge and a vigour to keep thriving for health and happiness, you can take the steps necessary to rebuild your life after addiction.

Meth Addiction: The Statistics

A report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime warns that ‘methamphetamine continues to dominate the synthetic drug market.’ In 2016 alone, 159 tonnes of methamphetamine was seized across 74 countries.

This indicates that there are very large quantities of crystal meth on the market, which subsequently leads to an increased ease of access for the average individual. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that methamphetamines are the second most used drug across the globe.

The prevalence of meth on the market poses a multifaceted risk; not only does it fuel addiction, it can also catalyse it in the first place. This also means, unfortunately, that the ease of access to meth could be a potential factor in relapsing.

Relapsing in addiction occurs when an individual begins to use a drug that they had previously stopped using during their recovery. This is where relapse prevention strategies come in. Relapse prevention strategies acknowledge that relapse is a possibility but do not accept it ‘as an almost inevitable part of the recovery process.’

The best approach is the knowledge that relapse could happen – but that doesn’t mean it will. It is also important to remember that you have power in your situation, and you can input strategies to manage difficult feelings without relapsing effectively.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

During treatment for meth addiction, you will have already begun to build a working knowledge of how addiction works generally, as well as the role addiction may have had in your life previously. Leaving treatment can be very daunting, but it is important to remember that leaving rehab does not mean leaving your tools behind. Instead, leaving rehab can be seen as a step forward with a plethora of tools for the future.
But what do the different elements of meth rehab teach us, and how can we carry these lessons with us into the future?
The key components of addiction treatment include:

Detoxing from Meth

One of the earliest stages of recovery is the meth detox phase. Detoxes are essential in the treatment of physically addictive drugs (such as meth) as they help to regulate your body and also curb cravings that can lead to the risk of future use.
But what about detox can we take forward to help maintain recovery after rehab?
Generally speaking, detox is not a pleasant experience. It comes with a range of negative effects on both body and mind while the system withdraws. These are known as withdrawal symptoms; the most common include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Pain or aches in the muscles
  • Sweating and/or shivering
  • Tachycardia (increased heartbeat)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling agitated
  • Issues with homeostasis (regulating body temperature)

When detoxing from meth, withdrawal symptoms can last for up to three weeks.

Going through detox, for many people, is a sign of personal strength. It is indicative of our resilience, of our resistance to hardship, and a testament to the difficulties we can endure.

Reassessing detox as a victory allows you to feel proud of your success so far, which can ultimately empower you to continue. This is largely due to the role of hope. Individuals with hope in their abilities to move forward are shown to be more likely to handle triggers without resorting to substances.

So, when moving forward after detox, remind yourself of your strength – both bodily and mentally – as a reminder that whilst you may go through difficult experiences, you can come out the other side.

It can also, on some level, be a reminder of a negative experience that you may not want to repeat; withdrawing is difficult physically, and for many people the thought of going though it again can have some preventative quality.

Rehab for Meth

During meth rehab at UKAT, you have the opportunity to engage with a multitude of therapies facilitated by industry experts. Ranging from cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to music therapy, our approach to therapy combines the needs of the body, the soul and the mind.
During your time with us, you may engage with the following therapies:

These therapies will allow you to explore your experiences from a range of different angles. Our threefold approach to wellbeing (bodily, mental and spiritual health) aims to encourage skills that can be taken into the future, such as:

  • Increased emotional intelligence
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Increased self-control
  • Establishing boundaries
  • Identifying positive forms of self-care
  • Increased self-respect
  • An ability to reflect on the consequences of our actions
  • Techniques to deal with traumatic experiences
  • Techniques to balance symptoms of mental health conditions
  • Understanding the difference between safe and unsafe behaviours
  • Providing you with the confidence to seek help when it is needed

The Importance of Aftercare

Research into the clinical practice of addiction support indicates that continuing care after formal rehab improves the overall efficacy of treatment.

Whilst the downside of aftercare is that it does require the continued effort of the individual in recovery (this is known as ‘active recovery’) it has been linked with improved treatment outcomes.

Aftercare in the form of mindfulness practice, regular check-ins with clinicians, contact over the telephone and support for physical health have all been identified as valuable forms of self-care.

At UKAT, we offer free aftercare for twelve months. There are various options for this type of support. You will be able to discuss which options may suit you best with your treatment team. Options available include:

This means that leaving rehab does not mean you are severing your ties to support; this support can continue to help you stay on the right track.

The Key Benefits of Rehab

Every person who comes to rehab will take something different away from the experience. Rehab treatment is a deeply individual experience that has the power to shape lives in astounding ways.

There are, generally speaking, a range of common benefits people state following rehab. These include:

  • Prevents addiction from worsening
  • Provides education on addiction and mental health
  • Feeling more in control
  • Feeling more confident
  • Building a support network through contact with peers
  • Improvement of physical and mental health

Going forward with these benefits, you are in a very good position to maintain long-term sobriety. But what active steps can you take to rebuild your life after meth addiction?

Staying Clean: Methods of Maintaining Recovery Long-Term

Being in active recovery can be a daunting thing to think about. But it can also be empowering; the sense of a new beginning, with newfound control and tools acting as anchors whilst also allowing you the confidence to think about the future.
Here are some practical methods to help you maintain your recovery.

Stay Connected

Addiction has been associated with isolation. This suggests that individuals who feel lonely may be more likely to develop a dependency, but also that addiction itself leads us to withdraw from our social circles.

Loneliness has been identified as ‘a cognitive variable related to worse physical and mental health and has a direct relationship to depression and alcohol abuse.‘ Following rehab, you have a chance to reignite your social life. You can choose to reestablish old friendships as well as sever connections that may be unhealthy.
You can work on establishing a mutually beneficial support network during this time. Surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you – and helping others to be better, too – is one great way to tackle the risk of loneliness creeping in.

Identify Triggers

In rehab, you have the time to think carefully about what may have led to addiction. You may have asked yourself: what makes me upset? What are the situations that make me feel I have lost control? What factors may have contributed to my use of meth?
Following these reflections, you can take several steps. You can:

  • Avoid triggers where possible (this can include people or places that may be associated with your historic use of meth)
  • Identify a clear course of action when triggers cannot be avoided (this can include knowing who to contact, where to go, and what things you can do in the moment of confronting a trigger)

Practice Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness activities have been associated with reduced stress, improvement in energy levels and concentration and even improved physical health.
You can practise mindfulness as part of your daily routine, or introduce exercises when emotions are running particularly high.
Examples of mindfulness practice include:

  • Guided meditation
  • Breathing exercises
  • Body scanning
  • Colouring, drawing and crafting
  • Mindful eating
  • Mindful moving
  • Observation exercises (focusing on what you can see, hear, smell, taste and touch in the current moment)

Research suggests combining mindfulness techniques with active psychological treatment can be ‘the most effective [form of] intervention’ due to its associations with long-term sobriety and general wellness.

Write Yourself a Letter

When we set ourselves a difficult goal, it can sometimes take time to remember what we are working towards. When we’re halfway up the mountain, it can be hard to recognise that continuing upwards is better than heading back down. But then we get to the top, and the reasoning behind our goals becomes clear again.
Addiction can sometimes be like a mountain. To remind yourself of why you are trying to leave meth behind, it can be helpful to write yourself a letter. In this letter, you can detail why meth has caused issues in your life and begin to imagine what things may be like without it. This is a way of establishing that recovery is a goal worth working towards.
This letter can act as a glimpse of the mountain when we feel far from the peak.

Learn about Cravings

Cravings are potentially the biggest risk for anyone recovering from addiction.
This is because they can feel very intense and overwhelming. However, if you can stop and recognise cravings now, you can challenge them more successfully.
You can do this by learning about cravings. What do meth cravings look like? Once you know this information, you may feel more able to ride the wave of cravings.
We also know that cravings typically only persist in short bursts, for around 15 to 30 minutes. If you can identify your cravings and avoid them – through distraction, for example – then you can mitigate the likelihood of cravings turning to use. Once you have proven that you can resist cravings, you are more likely to do so again.

Think About Personal Goals and Development

Addiction is all-encompassing. It can take a lot of energy to cope with the drain it has on our bodies and minds. That means that sometimes addiction works to the detriment of other areas of our lives; our work, our hobbies, our education or social life.
Once you shed the weight of addiction, you can begin to think about implementing goals you may like to achieve.

  • Is there a particular qualification you might like to work towards?
  • Would you like to take steps towards a new career?
  • Are there any hobbies you would like to engage with, or new life experiences you would like to have?
  • Are there people in your life you would like to spend more time with?

These kinds of goals are all associated with feelings of fulfilment, which ultimately lead to better mental health.

Relapse Risk

Rehab has a typical success rate of between 40 and 60%. [33] This may mean that in the future, there is a chance relapse may lead to you feeling the need to return to treatment. But this is not a personal failure; life is difficult and dynamic. We only sometimes know what is around the corner. Sometimes, situations can take us off guard. But that does not mean you cannot reap the benefits of rehab again.

Start Your Journey to Recovery From Meth Addiction

If you are concerned about how to stop taking crystal meth, there are options available to help you curb your addiction. Our compassionate team will talk you through the different types of intervention we offer to help you decide what form of support would best suit you.
Contact us today and make a referral to begin treatment at one of our specialist rehab centres.


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