Progress With Rehabilitation: A Winding Road
When most people think of progress in life, they think of a straight line. They consider the place they started at, where they want to go, and the distance and work it takes to get there. While this is the theory behind progress, it is almost never that simple. This view doesn’t take into account factors that occur in real life. Things like consistency, unforeseen circumstances and setbacks are all overlooked.
As a result, many people chase progress towards their goals and get discouraged when they see stagnation. They start to lose focus and end up losing sight of their goals. This is often what causes many people to drop out of the programs they take up to reach their goals. For example, it’s a big reason why many who start training for fat loss give up in the first few months.
This is the same with rehabilitation and sobriety. Most former addicts know how tough it is to quit drug use. If you’re a previous drug user, who is quitting the difficulty can vary depending on the drugs you’re using. Chemicals like opioids are often far tougher due to their physical impact on the body.
But, no matter what you’re recovering from, it will be difficult. This is why the overall chances of relapse are high. Around 70-75% of addicts can relapse within a year. As a result, it is important to strike a balance when rehabilitating from drug abuse to ensure consistency. Many can often take approaches that don’t focus on consistency or overlook inevitable setbacks. Creating the right long-term game plan can help your rehab success. It can also help you stay consistent in your sobriety.
How To Find Your Balance With Sobriety And Recovery
As mentioned above, the best plans for long-term sobriety and recovery focus on permanent change. There are a few things many of these plans have in common.
Involve those closest to you
Many of the successful long-term sobriety plans involve developing a network of people close to you. These individuals help you to build a new life away from drug use. They also offer support during troubled times or when temptation is present. Overall, those closest to you are who facilitate your new lifestyle and behavior. So, involving them and getting their regular input is a must.
Regularly consult with qualified rehab professionals
While creating and maintaining the above networks is key to successful sobriety, it is limited. This is because their knowledge and experience in dealing with drug addicts are usually non-existent. This can lead to advise that is unintentionally detrimental for sobriety. A qualified professional can not only ensure you’re making the right steps to stay sober, but also help guide and advise your inner circle. This way you can combine the knowledge and experience of the counselor with the input of your close network.
Accept that setbacks happen and that they highlight progress
This is one of the biggest viewpoints to focus on long-term success. A temporary relapse or once-off use of a drug can cause recovering users to panic. This can lead to the immediate excessive use of the drug or secondary issues like depression and demotivation. Both of these problems can be more detrimental to progress and cause a permanent relapse.
So, if you find yourself relapsing temporarily, or engaging in certain behavior, don’t panic. These are all further tests to experience and overcome. Everybody experiences them, and they are a part of progress to permanent sobriety. Reducing these occurrences before eliminating them over time is the key.
Identify and avoid excessive attitudes and intensity when tackling long-term sobriety
As mentioned above, the issue with the more simplistic view of progress is that it leads to excessive intensity. Many people try to implement multiple changes at once. This is instead of a much more gradual approach of mastering one change before adding another.
An excessive approach can lead to none of the attempted changes becoming permanent and a loss of motivation when a setback occurs. So instead, focus on 1-2 bi-weekly goals, with each done consistently before adding another.
This tip should also be applied when looking at the difficulty of a task. Mastering easier tasks to start off with can lead to greater change long-term than tackling the hardest.
Identify “triggers” and develop systems for dealing with them
Looking at setbacks specifically, it’s usually possible to identify a few key events or behaviors that lead to relapse. Recognizing these “triggers” allows you to prepare for them if they occur. It can also help you create a lifestyle that allows you to avoid them.
Systems and routines should also be developed with your network to deal with potentially new environments that could present triggers. This will allow you to prevent a lot more setbacks and improve motivation.
Prioritize lifestyle changes and make gradual adjustments
As hinted at above, another key element of successful sobriety programs is their focus on the process of getting clean, rather than the outcome. This is because the processes are often under your control, whereas the outcome isn’t always.
So, focusing on a lifestyle change can help you build further towards your desired goals of sobriety. This is opposed to just focusing on why you need to be sober, which can just lead to anxiety and depression. Both of these can not only lead to mental illness but also reduce your chances of permanent success.