I’ve Completed Treatment, Now What?
By Daniel Wittler
There are two major moments when going to an inpatient rehab center, arriving and discharging. Upon arriving to detox it usually has been an emotional day not only for you but your loved ones. There is also crippling fear and anxiety, which is entirely normal. While we get acclimated to residential treatment, there is a comfort found in that once we start feeling better. The day you discharge from treatment can be similar as the day you entered detox, however. While I encourage all to stay as long as they can, because the longer you stay the more beneficial, whenever the day arrives we find ourselves filled with fear and anxiety all over again. You may find yourself asking, what do I do now?
Once leaving treatment we are asked to do several simple but hard to achieve tasks. The most important one in my opinion being to find a support network. A group of fellow alcoholics/addicts that have been where you have been and found a way out. I put it that way because I found myself finding people I related to, telling them what I was dealing with followed by them telling me what they did to deal with that situation or guiding me to someone who had been in a similar situation and dealt with it. Finding people with similar experiences is a whole different story than getting plain common sense advice from someone. We all inherently know what we should do in life but hearing it from someone who has been in the same situation adds so much depth and weight to it that I respond to it much better. This is why we have fellowships in recovery and they need to be taken advantage of.
Once finding a support network, the next simple but very hard step is to be honest with them. Not only did I lie to everyone in my life extensively while in active addiction, I lied to myself more than anyone. Telling myself everything is okay, that it could be worse, rationalizing/justifying my poor decision making, the list can go on and on. Once we get out of treatment there needs to be an honest look at ourselves so that we can tell our support network or sponsor how we are feeling genuinely each day. That means telling people when you are having that bad day for no reason, or if you treated someone poorly or did something dishonest. We need to tell someone, the beauty of it is that you get to choose who to tell. You get to choose someone you relate to and trust and has what you want in life. Strive for transparency in your relationship with your sponsor. Be an open book with him/her, it simply is not worth it to hold or hide stuff inside of us. It can manifest in the ugliest of ways, once we make that connection ourselves in recovery there is huge growth. The realization that there are benefits to giving your support network full disclosure about your life can lead to freedom.
Go to that recovery meeting. Go to the diner. Meet with your sponsor. Introduce yourself to someone. Go to the gym. Be a man/woman of your word. Just stay active and accountable. If there is one thing addicts/alcoholics love, it’s being comfortable. Taking the right actions in early recovery is anything but comfortable. It means I need to do things I have never done before and on top of that do them sober. Making the connection that walking through fear and discomfort creates major growth is a huge stepping stone to take in early recovery. It feels good after doing something we were afraid of or just plain old felt like not doing but did it anyways. Once we reap the rewards of walking through discomfort and seeing how fulfilling it is to fight our fears, that’s when we really start to take off in recovery.
Be Kind to Yourself
Addicts/alcoholics are their own worst enemy. A lot of our thoughts are made up of us putting ourselves down. The mind is a very powerful thing and having a lot of negative thoughts throughout the day can really ruin the day. As mentioned before, tell someone! Talk to somebody about the awful things your mind is telling you, something about getting that type of stuff in the universe works wonders. Also work on taking time throughout the day to write down what you are grateful for or some positive affirmations. We are not wired to be organically positive people, especially in early recovery when we have been through a lot of negative during the past months/years. Continue to do what you know is right, give it your best and when you do that, remind yourself at the end of the day you gave it your all that day, and you are heading in the right direction, and that is good enough.
Bio: Daniel Wittler is a writer in recovery from South Florida as well as an outreach coordinator at Stodzy Internet Marketing. He is passionate in sharing the message that absolutely anyone can get sober provided they are ready to change.