Finishing rehab is a major achievement. An enormous milestone on your journey to a better life. But, what now? Will things go back to the way they were? The answer is, unsurprisingly, no – and that’s the best thing! The next step after recovery in Florida is choosing your new life. However, this time can also be confusing. Borderline scary, even. That is why, after treatment at one of the Palm Beach rehab centers, a lot of people need a bit more help. Which is exactly what this guide is for – to give you that nudge in the right direction.
#1: Have an Aftercare plan in place
Switching from recovery in Florida to an independent life is a big change. As such, a lot of people find it to be quite overwhelming. Furthermore, most find it necessary to continue therapy, albeit at a lower intensity. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have at least a basic plan. A good thing is that you’ll be encouraged to make (or choose) one while still in rehab. Even so, it doesn’t hurt to revise the options one more time.
Opt for an Outpatient Program
For the most part, you can consider Outpatient Programs as an “extended rehab.” They come in two forms:
- Intensive Outpatient Program Florida offers (or IOP) allows you to continue treatment, without the need to stay at the rehab facility;
- Outpatient Program Florida (OP) is pretty much the same, albeit with a bit more leeway.
Of course, in both cases, you will still have access to medical professionals and the therapies that you need. Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) is also available during this period.
The biggest upside of OP and IOP is the help you’ll receive with building up your new life. Aside from regular counseling, you’ll have assistance in virtually every new endeavor you undertake. Some recovery treatments in Florida even go as far as to offer legal counseling and help with job hunting. This makes Outpatient Programs one of, if not the best way to smoothly transition into normal life.
Find the support group
Group sessions are one of the top methods of treating SUDs. Since their inception, they’ve proven effective and beneficial. And, not only as a form of therapy. But, also as a way of helping a person reintegrate into society.
Feelings of loneliness and abandonment are common effects of addiction. Also, they’re the most hindering ones. Group therapies, whether 12-step or SMART programs, allow people to connect with others who were (or are) in a similar situation. Support groups help express emotions and say things that would be difficult for family and friends to understand.
This sense of belonging plays a major role in recovery. Acceptance is reassuring. Advice is inspirational. Peer support is invigorating. Now, put all these factors together. What you end up with is a way to ease the pressure and stress of the massive change.
Therefore, enrolling in a support group should be at the top of your priority list. If you live in the same city where you attended rehab, finding one will be a piece of cake. Most reputable recovery in Florida run some form of an Alumni Program. In it, (former) patients can get lasting help for as long as they may need it. All it takes is to check in with the people at the clinic. Et voila – you’re good to go!
However, if that’s not the case, don’t fret. Recovery in Florida is well connected with other similar facilities all around the US. Simply ask them to connect you with a support group in your town. Either way, options are there. All you need to do is ask.
#2 Develop a new routine
The disorder is a “trademark” of living with addiction. Often, old routines and behaviors are what deepens the problem. Therefore, once out of rehab, it is imperative not to return to them. And, that is only done by introducing order into your new life. Some of the best ways to do that are:
- Keep attending therapy and group meetings;
- Start exercising regularly;
- Eat healthy and balanced meals;
- Get enough sleep;
- Spend quality time with family and friends;
- Practice hobbies;
- Practice stress management strategies.
At the same time, be mindful of the old routines creeping up on you. If you notice that you’re slipping back into old habits or neglecting new ones, don’t ignore it. It is often a telltale sign of relapse. Instead, contact your sponsor or therapist, or hit a group session. In most cases, a bit of healthy pick-me-up is all it takes to get you back on track and prevent relapse.
#3 Work on your relationships
Addiction leaves a lot of anguish in its wake. It is not a disease of a single person. Rather, it affects their entire social circle. The good news is that despite all the pain, relationships can be mended. Granted, in most cases, it means you’re the one who has to make amends.
It may mean overcoming your guilt or shame. Taking major steps to show the willingness to make it work. It is something most find hard to do. But, it is healthy and beneficial for personal and social development. Not only you’ll restore what has been broken – you have every chance of making it stronger than it ever was! So, don’t be afraid to make that first step. More often than not you’ll be surprised at the people’s willingness to forgive and move on.
Cut out toxic relationships and focus on positive ones
The influence of those in a person’s immediate environment and peer pressure are among the top reasons for forming an addiction. Therefore, hanging around those same people can be a trigger for relapse. Needless to say, that’s something you want to avoid at all costs. This can mean distancing yourself from old friends and even family members.
However, the opposite is true, too. Being with people who view drugs unfavorably can influence you in a positive way. Of course, this can have a whole array of benefits. You can learn to have fun without drugs. To adopt healthy views on life. To find inspiration in places you never thought of. And, the biggest thing: you will develop a mindset that discourages drug use. In a way, it is an additional “failsafe” against relapse that can lead to full recovery.
#4 Work on creating a stable environment
According to the study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), stable housing is one of the biggest contributors to a steady recovery. The time after recovery in Florida can be confusing and turbulent. Having a place to call your own can go a long way to mitigating the pressure. This place should be your safe haven. Somewhere that lets you relax and unwind but, also, reflect and work on other goals from this list.
If it is a locale where you can have constant help and support – even better. Naturally, family and friends are a go-to option. After all, nothing beats being surrounded by people who know and love you. However, if that is not possible, sober living homes are an excellent alternative. At least for the first six months after rehab, which is when most relapses happen.
If need be – move
Memories and emotions are tied to places. As such, they can remind you of your time in the gutter. Now, you may find these feelings repulsive. Which is, actually, a good thing. It means that the very notion of using again is fading from your mind. However, if you’re still not at that level, they can also trigger the craving that leads to relapse. If you find that, wherever you go, you’re constantly reminded and driven to the past, you should consider changing your environment in full.
Moving symbolizes a new beginning. A new home is an empty canvas. Leaving your own imprint on it is beyond satisfying. A new neighborhood is a world of opportunity. Simply exploring it is inspiring. Discovering new locales and meeting new people is fulfilling and uplifting. All that new stuff can suppress the memories of the addiction. And, with that, cancel the triggers that could lead to relapse.
#5 Set short and long-term goals
One life-defining feature addiction takes away from a person is the sense of purpose. Fortunately, that’s something you can counter with ease. Regaining motivation is as easy as setting some short and long-term goals. However, setting goals, and achieving them are two different things. The latter often being the big challenge. Therefore, it’s best to take it one step at a time.
For starters, it doesn’t have to be anything major or extravagant. Or life-defining, for that matter. It is totally OK to start small. Clean one drawer. Not the entire room, not the house – just that one drawer. Hit the gym for half an hour. Try out a new hobby. Learn how to cook a new recipe. Options are endless and they’re all within your reach. So, reach out! All those seemingly minor things have the potential to build up to something amazing.
So, the next step – make some long-term goals. Make them as big as you want but, also, meaningful and realistic. It’s best to start with something that you can achieve within a year. Then, break that big goal into bite-sized pieces. Sort them by importance and tackle them in that order.
And, yes – it will go slow, at first. But, every small accomplishment will be a great incentive to keep pushing forward. And, not to mention, a massive boost in confidence and morale.
#6 Always be on the lookout for triggers and relapse signs
Relapse is a subtle and gradual process. In the beginning, it doesn’t even have to involve any contact with drugs. It can be a stray thought as you’re visiting an old locale. An elusive emotion at the sight of a familiar face. Triggers are different for every person. As such, it is essential to find yours and work on recognizing them the moment they happen.
However, while triggers are individual, relapse signs are not. They can vary in intensity but, in general, include:
- Reverting to old routines or thinking patterns;
- Considering unhealthy ways to deal with stress;
- Ignoring newly set goals and/or responsibilities;
- Seeking out and hanging around people and places that promote using.
If you notice these signs – don’t wait. Even if you just think you’re slipping, even for a split second – do not risk. Catch a support group meeting ASAP. Call or visit your sponsor or sober friend. Go for an extra therapy session. Anything, really, that will help you stay on the right path. The idea here is to stop the problem before it becomes a problem. And the only way to do that is through decisive action.
Recovery is a lifelong process
After your time at recovery in Florida, a whole world of opportunity will open up. And it is glorious! It is beautiful and thrilling, and so satisfying to explore and embrace. Still, active recovery does not end now. Addiction is a chronic disease. And that means that you’ll have to work on making it better. But, the good news is it only gets easier with time. Rehab was a time of learning and reflection. Now, it is time to put that knowledge to good use. It is the opportunity to reinvent yourself. To change your life in a meaningful way. To make out of it what you always wanted it to be. And, remember, even if you stumble or don’t know what to do next, that doesn’t mean you should give up. In moments of doubt, all you need to do is reach out to those willing to help.