07 September 2020

A guide to remaining in recovery after cocaine rehab


Stepping out after rehab can be an exhilarating yet uncertain time. Armed with a new perspective and a clear head, people often feel optimistic about the future.

However, it is not uncommon to also have concerns. For some, finishing a treatment and aftercare programme may feel like attempting the tightrope without a net, but there are ways to manage your recovery to make sure you do not fall. Seeking treatment for cocaine addiction is the first step to recovery, but understanding relapse prevention is also an important part of your journey. Imagine today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Common influences

Cocaine is a party drug, therefore regular use can often be as much about wanting to be social as it is about getting high. Home Office statistics report that in 2017/18, approximately 875,000 people snorted powdered cocaine across England and Wales; however, this number is likely to be a fraction of the real number of people available and willing to report. Busy offices, kitchens and bars are also hotspots for cocaine, as many people end up relying on that ‘boost’ to keep up with peers in high-pressure environments. Team this with increasing mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety nationwide, and cocaine dependency becomes a rabbit hole which many fall down.

The following guide is to start you off on your recovery journey after cocaine rehab. Everyone’s journey is different, so keeping on track will involve ongoing reflection to find a way which works for you.

Come up with a plan

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Ensuring long-term recovery is all about coming up with a plan for staying in remission; this should be a relapse prevention plan which is achievable, realistic and makes best use of the aftercare options available. No one is expected to go it alone, and for some, continuous therapy may be an essential part of the recovery journey.

Identifying your support network, whether it be friends, family or use of a helpline or other professional service, can encourage you when you need help. For some, support groups as opposed to individual therapy may provide the much-needed peer support to help prevent relapse. What is important is to recognise that the road may not always be smooth, so, finding the right map can help to guide you through uncertain territory and give you the confidence to tackle any setbacks.

Define your motivation and frame it in positive terms

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Research has shown that finding meaning and purpose in life is a vital recovery approach for maintaining ongoing sobriety after rehab. Think of this in terms of discovering your passion or finding the motivation to work towards or maintain something that is greater than yourself. Motivation refers to a cause that is personal to you; for some, this may involve religious or spiritual beliefs; for others, taking care of children, family members, educational or work aspirations.

It is important to remind yourself of why you are on this recovery journey, think about what is important to you, and then frame aspirations in positive terms. For example, setting a goal of ‘living a healthy life’, paints a picture of the future and helps to define how you will manage recovery. This is opposed to setting a goal of ‘don’t take cocaine’ which despite being relevant, does not give any indication of how you will stay sober or what you will do instead.

Understand your triggers and plan an exit strategy

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As part of your rehab treatment programme, taking part in therapy should have helped you to understand why you started taking cocaine in the first place and what factors are likely to trigger cravings. This can help you to plan an exit strategy for when triggers occur, to make sure you don’t get knocked off course.

Triggers may be emotional cues, such as feeling left out or rejected, which can be discussed in therapy and resolved through alternative action, such as attending a support group. Triggers can also be environmental, such as returning to high pressure work environments or social circles where cocaine use is still popular.

Managing these triggers may involve creating a new healthier life for yourself with peer support from others who are also staying sober. Coming out of rehab, many discover hidden talents or passion for activities they had never considered before. It may be helpful to have a look at what is going on in your local area and plan a get together with friends who are a good influence on your health.

Look after your mental health

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Physical dependence increases the risk of mental illness as people experience a deficit of chemicals in the brain following withdrawal. This vulnerability then helps social or environmental triggers to lead to poor mental health. For example, following rehab, some people may feel anxious going into social situations without their previous ‘crutch’, or they may feel depressed due to ongoing life stresses. Some people also experience cognitive deficits, such as memory loss or difficulty concentrating, which can decrease confidence and lead to low mood.

The road to recovery may be bumpy, so, establishing strong support networks and finding ways to manage your mental health day-to-day is important. This should involve healthy diet and exercise as well as new hobbies and interests. The recovery journey is about creating a rich and meaningful life which helps to nourish and support you as you travel along it. Finding things which make you feel healthy and happy in your body and mind is essential for long term abstinence.

Creating a new, sober version of your life may seem daunting, but it can introduce you to a whole world you didn’t know was there before. Remember that you have the power to create the life you want, and there is always plenty of support to help you along the way.

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If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment programme but experience a relapse within 30 days of leaving, we will welcome you back for complimentary 30 days of treatment.*

* Click here to learn more or contact UKAT directly for rehab availability.

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Our brand promise

If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment programme but experience a relapse within 30 days of leaving, we will welcome you back for complimentary 30 days of treatment.*

* Click here to learn more or contact UKAT directly for rehab availability.

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