A client’s biggest fear after going through an addiction treatment plan is to relapse. With all the chaos of being introduced back into their everyday lives, many former addicts are tempted to drink or use drugs simply because of being exposed to their old haunts and routines. It is one of the most difficult times during the recovery phase, and one where many addicts find themselves having to be stronger and more self reliant than ever. Without a team of devoted staff and safe, peaceful environment to shelter them from the burdens of their regular lives, addicts can dwell on the possibility of relapsing and returning to a life of drugs or alcohol. It’s something most addicts will face, but it is not insurmountable and can be overcome.
[Alt text] hands cover flowers symbolizing our body’s ability to naturally heal itself
Before leaving rehab, make sure a few things have been sorted out first:
- Do you have somewhere safe to go?
- Are there family members, friends, co-workers or a loved one to support you? If not, can you find a group like AA or NA, or any support group, to help you through post-recovery?
- Did you work with your addiction counselors to practice coping mechanisms?
- Are you prepared to leave rehab?
- Do you have the contact information for the treatment facility you sought help from in order for them to offer guidance to you in a time of need?
- Are you going to ease your way back into the healthy parts of your life? Avoiding stress, triggers and negativity?
Finding natural remedies and helpful, healthy practices may be something to consider when leaving rehab as well. Sleep is incredibly important to both former alcoholics and drug users, as our bodies tend to slip out of their circadian rhythms rather dramatically when we’ve become addicted to alcohol or drugs. Taking melatonin to replenish our stores of this all important chemical can greatly impact one’s chances of success.
More and more research is coming out every day pointing to the benefits of yoga, meditation and the emerging practice of mindfulness. These are useful techniques and practices to become familiar with for anyone recovering from addiction as they allow people to minimize cravings, reduce anxiety, combat withdrawal symptoms and increase motivation, all while reducing stress as well! In fact, a new study is even indicating that 8 weeks of meditation, yoga and mindfulness practice reduced cigarette use in 88 smokers. This is noteworthy because cigarette smoking is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, it’s even harder to quit than heroin!
[alt text] small dishes of fruits and herbs are organized by a recovering addict to help them during post recovery from their drug and alcohol addiction
Acupuncture is a bizarre practice, certainly, but a new study out of Yale Medical School has shown that acupuncture performed correctly (in the ear, no less) significantly reduced cocaine use in addicts. The study was conducted where some patients received the proper technique, while others received a bogus version, hinting that there could very well be some worthwhile benefits to the practice.
None of these remedies or practices are going to guarantee that a relapse doesn’t occur, but given how much strength, determination and effort went into an individual’s rehab, it seems that bolstering one’s “anti relapse” arsenal with as many useful tools as possible makes a great deal of sense. Triggering our body’s natural healing mechanisms and it’s ability to overcome illness is fundamental in recovering from addiction, and finding new ways to increase well-being, healthy habit forming and success are essential to addiction treatment.