If you are in the recovery phase you deserve a pat on the back. You have taken the most important step in escaping the substance abuse trap.
However, the story doesn't end there. You have to ensure you make the right decisions in the future so you stay sober, and never give into addiction again.
These are some of the strategies that will help you start a new life after addiction recovery:
Choose your Friends Wisely
Limit contact with those friends who don't support you in your recovery phase. Surround yourself with caring and understanding people.
A good friend is one who doesn't aggravate your cravings and who reminds you of your commitment to stay away from all addictive substances. They help you to maintain your motivation when you're having rough days.
Ask yourself the following questions to recognize whether it is right to continue a friendship, or if you should just quietly allow the relationship to lapse:
- Is your friend becoming an obstacle in overcoming the addiction?
- Are you feeling pressurized in his or her presence?
- Does your friend even care about your growth?
Sometimes, your friends will not understand your issues because they have not experienced them. You don't need to be rude or abrupt.
Give your friend the opportunity to understand where you are coming from by explaining your current status. Be direct when you express your intentions.
Tell your friend you want to improve your living standard. If they refuse to understand, or keep on pushing you, you have to be strong and move forward by breaking off the friendship.
If a person doesn't want you to excel in life, then he or she doesn't deserve your attention. It is always better to be alone rather than in the presence of a demotivating circle.
Have the Courage to Accept Your Mistakes
If your actions during your addiction phase upset others, do your best to repair the damage. What has happened has happened.
You can't change the past, but you can reshape the present, and go on to have better relationships in the future. If you damaged a relationship during your addiction, and you want to try to repair it, the best course of action is to approach the person you feel you have hurt, and accept your mistake.
Everyone makes mistakes. You are not alone. What makes you different? You have to show you have the strength to put aside your ego and acknowledge the mistakes you made in your relationship with the affected person.
If you find it impossible to talk to that person directly, try writing about you feelings, your emotions. This will demonstrate that you have taken the first step towards fixing that broken relationship.
Build a Successful Career Path
Finding a new job, when you have an addiction history, might, at first, seem difficult and force you to take a step back and temporarily join the army of the unemployed.
Fortunately, there are some organizations that can help you regain your confidence by living an independent life. Some of those organizations are listed below.
Explore as many options as you can. Make a positive shift in life. Don't limit yourself. You have the freedom to take on exciting new challenges.
Take everything slowly and in small chunks. Live your life to the fullest, and never allow anyone to disturb your positive flow. Speak with your family and friends and share your life goals.
Career One Stop, sponsored by the US Department of Labor, can help you by identifying the workforce services in your neighborhood, or across the country.
American Job Center (AJC), provides employment and training related services for workers, youths, and businesses. At the time of writing, there are nearly 2,500 AJCs nationwide waiting to help you to find the right job and training for you.
The United States Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration, runs apprentice programs to help build successful career pathways. Apart from getting a guaranteed paycheck, you will also receive hands-on career training, and national industry certification from recognized partners.
Be an Inspiration
A well as working on your own self-recovery, you also have a golden opportunity to educate people about the dark side of addiction. You won't find it difficult to share your thoughts and feelings, because you have personally gone through it, you have experienced the pain.
How will it feel to have a mother bless you for preventing her child from falling in the addiction trap?
How will it feel to know that you are the reason for someone's recovery?
It will feel great. The act of inspiring others makes you confident from within. When you realize you have the potential to help others recover their lives, your own self-struggle will seem insignificant.
Take time to do some volunteer work. Meet addicts and make them realize there is always hope. Don't let them repeat the same mistake.
You won't achieve positive results every day. Some days, you'll be down. You will experience times when you feel weak, your resolve might waiver and you feel tempted to go back to your addictive habits.
Like there are various medical alert systems with simple push button to call for help, there are some mobile apps whose support network feature connects you with your sponsor at the push of a button. You should also be aware that it won't only be the rough times when you will get those old cravings and urges.
They can also come back to tempt you when everything is going right in your recovery phase. This can happen because it is only human to relate substance abuse with good times, even during recovery. You have to remember, it takes time to overcome the mood swings.
An eight-year study, of nearly 1200 addicts, found that extended abstinence is directly proportional to long term recovery. Have a look at the following conclusions from the research:
- One-third of participants, who were abstinent for less than a year, remained abstinent
- The chances of relapse will be less than half for those participants who achieve a year of sobriety.
- The chances of relapse will be less than 15 percent for those who make it to five years of sobriety.
Join a 12-step program, or find yourself a sponsor to make sure you have a support system in place to help you through those anxious moments.
Note: If a particular course of action works out perfectly for someone else, it doesn't mean it will also help you to overcome your recovery issues. Always consult the addiction professionals to make sure you get the right kind of support.
Need help with substance abuse or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.
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