Getting sober is one of the most difficult things a person will ever have to go through. It’s marked by withdrawal symptoms and painful life changes that often involve cutting people and places out entirely. There is no one “right way” to go through recovery. People need to take their own avenue toward a healthier life without drugs and alcohol. But once they’re sober, they now must face living with their newfound sobriety, which is a totally different challenge.
Life after drug or alcohol rehab is frightening. No matter how much preparation you’ve gone through, the possibilities that lie in the unknown can feel overwhelming. This feeling is heightened by the knowledge that in your recovery you will experience things you can’t always anticipate. These experiences often throw people off balance and knock them back into unhealthy behaviors.
Below we’ve highlighted some of the milestones you will face and the challenges that may come with them so you can be prepared for living sober in 2018.
Being Proactive About Your Health
After years of neglecting your body and mind’s best interests, suddenly being proactive about your health is a real 180-degree turn. Fortunately, focusing on things like a healthy diet and plenty of exercise can actually aid your recovery process and help keep you sober. Some people even find it helpful to replace their addiction with a new “healthy obsession” such as cooking or running.
However, it’s important to not let your healthy obsession get out of control. If you already have an addiction-prone personality, you can easily wake up one morning to realize that what you eat and exercise now control your life. Remember that diet and exercise should be tools used to build a better life, not a prison used to hold yourself accountable.
According to Treehouse Rehab, “Rebuilding a life after addiction isn’t easy. Addressing the physical and psychological issues that caused your substance abuse in the first place is an around-the-clock battle in many cases. Combined with the pressure of providing for your needs and those of your family, it can feel like too much to bear. To minimize stress and frustration that could threaten your sobriety, you must be patient, both with the process and with yourself.” Keep the following in mind when searching for employment:
- Use the connections you have. When it comes to finding a new job, it’s all about who you know. Think about the people you can reach out to. Chances are your recovery process introduced you to an entirely new network of counselors, sponsors, and sober friends that are more than willing to lend a hand in getting you back on your feet.
- A professional resume is crucial. Your resume needs to be clean, concise, accurate, and informative. Consider using a template and filling it out with your history and information.
- Don’t give up. Finding a new job can take a long time. Chances are, you will have a few “almost got it” moments before landing the right gig. Keep trying, and eventually you’ll find the right fit.
Drug and alcohol addiction doesn’t just affect your life; it affects the lives of your friends and family, as well. When you are coming out of rehab, you will likely find many of your previous relationships are damaged. Some of the people you used to have in your life may not trust your sobriety. Rather than letting their views knock you back into old behaviors, you have to work toward repairing your relationships in the only way you can—through action:
- Apologize and be honest with the ones you love. You can’t regain trust unless you are forthright about how you lost it in the first place.
- Show—don’t tell—them how you’ve changed. Addicts have a history of telling grandiose stories only to let those they love down. You have to walk the walk to let them know you’ve changed.
- Be patient. Fixing a relationship that’s been broken by addiction takes time. Think about it. It only takes a moment for a bone to break, but it takes months for it to heal. You can apply that same logic to mending the bonds in your own life.
Becoming sober and living sober are two different things. You may think that living life post-rehab is the easy part, but it comes with many unique challenges, and you can fall back into unhealthy habits if you are not careful. When it comes to living a healthy life, finding employment, and rebuilding relationships, it takes self-awareness and patience to get it right.