Graduating from a drug or alcohol recovery program is definitely something to celebrate.
However, the journey does not end there for most addicts. Becoming clean or sober is one thing, however, staying that way after a history of substance abuse is another matter altogether.
It can be very hard for an addict to stay away from drugs and alcohol for an extended period as eventually, a relapse can happen. This is why so many addicts still need to learn effective relapse prevention coping skills and seek addiction and depression help, as some effects of relapse can become very harsh on their body if they have not used in a very long time.
No matter how long the time frame the addict has been away from the substance, there is always a small chance that an event or trigger could spark a relapse. They are used to having an intimate relationship with the substance they were abusing, which makes it a very easy and comfortable transition for them to fall right back into that dark routine they became so accustomed too.
How to avoid these pitfalls
There are a few ways that graduates of a rehab program can attempt to stay substance-free for the rest of their lives. One way is for them to fill the void the drug was filling for them with something completely different.
This could range from finding a new social group to hang out with that shares similar interests as you, or maybe meeting the person of their dreams and falling in love, maybe a new sport to keep them active and busy, maybe the new job they were waiting for hired them or they got a promotion, or even something as simple as picking up a new hobby.
There are definitely a lot of ways that people looking to stay away from the substances of their past can choose to go about it.
A great activity to pick up is yoga. There are so many benefits of yoga for men and women that it really is a smart choice when it comes to relapse prevention.
The dangers of a relapse
As we all know, alcohol and drug abuse is a dangerous thing to be involved with. These substances can take years off a healthy life expectancy and can even end life in the blink of an eye.
One incidence of an overdose or the wrong substance entering the body can cause it to not function and shut down at any given moment. This is why it is so crucial for someone that has chosen to become sober to try their best to keep it that way.
Once a relapse happens, it is an all too common occurrence for the user to slump back into their old habits and become addicted and reliant on the substance very quickly.
Furthermore, the second time someone comes into contact with the vicious cycle of substance abuse, it can be much harder to tear them away from it and keep them sober as they have experienced becoming reliant on it again and becoming comfortable with that.
Fighting to stay sober is a key part of the recovery process, which many do not take as seriously as they should. One friendly harmless drink to a previous alcoholic may not be that friendly and harmless in a few month’s time.
Hits close to home
As a student at college, you may always feel surrounded by the alcohol culture whether you like it or not. Every weekend there are parties and every weekend there are drunk people roaming the streets waiting to make some stupid comment or fall flat on their face from intoxication.
One of my best friends freshman year had many issues with alcohol dependency as the first semester went on and he became more and more accustomed to the drinking culture and how acceptable it is as. You can go out any night of the week and blend in, as there are always people out at the bars no matter what night you go out on.
As my friend became more absorbed with his drinking life, he stopped going to class and became a prisoner of his own thoughts. Every day he needed a drink to survive, without it, withdrawals would hit him hard and he needed a drink to get him back to a stable place.
Before long, he would be flat out intoxicated again.
It was a very sad time for our social group to see one of our close friends consumed like this by alcohol. We had all heard about the dangers of alcohol before stepping on campus but it didn’t hit home how real it was until it was right in front of us.
Eventually, when he went home for the summer, his parents and loved ones got him the attention he needed at a recovery program and they were able to get him back on the right path in life. Even years after we graduated he hasn’t touched a drink, but sometimes it is a constant battle for him not to go back.
I am just glad he has a great support group around him that make him strive to stay sober every day.