By Sandy Baker
You’ve done it.
You’ve overcome the odds and worked through detox and inpatient treatment. Now, you’re on your way home. Are you ready? Do you have the confidence you need to avoid relapse and rebuild relationships? These are some of the thoughts that may routinely rise in your mind as you prepare to discharge from rehab.
First, recognize the good. At this point, you are medically stable and clean. There are no drugs or alcohol in your system. You may still have some lingering thoughts and plenty of worries. Yet, you are making the move forward. Planning for your discharge needs to be your priority now.
Step Away from Your Old Life
When you work through your inpatient treatment, you’ll work with counselors who have the goal of helping you to get sober and remain that way. To do that, they must consider what’s happening at home and whether your current home life is stable enough for your future needs. It’s a key component in the process of getting well, but your current life isn’t likely to be ideal.
You’ll need to leave some things behind. Friends that use drugs, family members that treat you poorly, and high-stress situations that position you for failure need to be worked out of your daily life. You’ll make key decisions here about the people you allow into your life. Old habits and places you tend to hang out need to change.
Empower Yourself with Support
Focus on the good that’s happening in your life, but create a plan for overcoming the negative. For example, you’ll need to have a relapse action plan. This should be a simple but practical process you work through to get help when you need it. Your counselors can help you to establish this.
Your plan should allow you to act quickly as soon as negative thoughts begin to take place. For example:
- Know who to call if you feel like you are going to use drugs. This may include your sponsor or a therapist.
- If you are struggling with cravings or feelings of depression, have a phone number in your pocket to call for someone who can support you.
- Have a plan ready to get out of a bad situation. For example, keep some money in your Uber account so you can quickly get a ride out of any location.
Relapse Prevention Plans Help You Avoid These Situations
There’s no guarantee you will never find yourself in a situation where you need to call your sponsor or support team. Yet, there are some effective manners that can help you avoid being in those less-than-desirable situations. A relapse prevention plan should be in place at the time of discharge, too. It helps you to create a positive lifestyle to avoid the triggers in your life. It may include:
- Yoga and meditation programs to help you remain focused and centered
- Physical fitness training to help you build your confidence in your health
- Process groups to help you to deal with what’s happening emotionally in real time
- Dietary planning to help fuel your recovery from the inside
- Alternative treatments that fit your goals such as biofeedback and biosound
- Educational programs that help you to deal with thoughts, consequences, and physical limitations
Your counselor will help you to work on an action plan like this. When you leave inpatient therapy, you have not completed your recovery. Rather, you’ve gotten back to square one. Now, you need to work, step-by-step towards recovery through ongoing treatment and care.
What If Your Home Life Isn’t Ideal?
Some men and women leaving rehab may worry about their existing circumstances. Be open and honest with your counselor about them. If you don’t feel safe at home or you are worried about being far enough removed from those in your life that lead you down the path of abuse, it’s important to not go back. That sounds simple, but other solutions may be available to you.
For example, you may benefit from transitional housing. This can help you to reestablish yourself with a job and ongoing counseling away from everyone you know. It comes with built-in support groups and people who are in the same position. Discuss these options openly with your counselor to learn how they can help you. Recovery-oriented support is available for many people.
Discharging home can be a big step on your journey to recovery. It can also be one you take with confidence if you have worked closely with your team to develop an action plan for your success. If you’re not too sure about that, talk to your team about additional support. You may find there’s more help available than you realize.