Each step in the recovery process comes with its own challenges—from learning to rebuild your life, navigating new relationships (and old ones differently), understanding how to live on your own again after substance abuse treatment, and actively building up new skills and habits to keep yourself on a healthy path. Going through substance abuse treatment won’t be easy, but it’s necessary—and incredibly worth it. Though there will be challenges along the way, there are things you can do and keep in mind that will help during the whole recovery process. Here are our top three tips for doing substance abuse treatment the right way:
- Trust the professionals
The professionals around you during treatment are there to help you—so seek and take their advice. Trust the people who have studied substance abuse treatment and work with it every day. They’ve seen it all, and they are the most valuable resource you’ll have both during treatment, and after you’re done. Ask questions, be honest, and share your progress, frustrations, and hopes with them. The professionals available to you, with their knowledge and experience, are one of the keys to overcoming substance abuse, so take advantage of the time you have with them.
- Have a plan for after treatment
Life after substance abuse treatment comes with its own set of challenges, and it can easily turn into a discouraging and lonely time without taking proper steps and precautions. Take advantage of your time with professionals during treatment not just for treatment itself, but to learn ways to deal with life after treatment and understand what to expect when you’re on your own. Find ways that work for you for handling stress and difficult situations before leaving treatment, so you’ll remember them after you leave. Understand the challenges that lie ahead as well as you can, and make plans for how you’ll stay on track—whether it’s with new habits and coping mechanisms, relationships, family, counseling, or whatever works for you. And remember the hopes and dreams that you have for your life after treatment as well—the things you want to accomplish and the goals you set for yourself.
Plus, take advantage of aftercare programs if possible, such as any programs your treatment center may offer, counseling, 12-step programs, and more. These programs will offer support and assistance during the transition back to “normal life” and dealing with new situations that arise when you’re on your own.
- Take advantage of any family work that is offered
You’ll need as much good support as possible from the people in your life both during and after substance abuse treatment. And just like your own treatment, the best way for your family to learn about your recovery and their role in it is to learn from experts and professionals. If your family is supportive and helpful, that’s wonderful—but most people don’t know how they can and should help someone going through treatment, and that’s normal. Treatment is an adjustment for everyone, and your relationships change as you change, so it’s imperative that your family members understand what you’re going through and learn the ways they can best help and offer support when challenges arise.
Erica Franco Mortimer, MA, LPC, LCADC
Founder and CEO
Center for Healing
Erica is a licensed therapist with over twenty-years experience in mental health. Erica offers practical and straight forward advice to those struggling with addiction and their families. Having deep insight and understanding of addiction, Erica is able to offer guidance to those looking to regain control of their lives.