Going to rehab for drug or alcohol addiction is an important step toward reclaiming your life, freedom, and overall health. However, contrary to what many people believe, rehab isn’t a cure-all for addiction. These programs are instead designed to provide the skills, tools, and resources for safely and successfully negotiating the lifelong path that recovery is.
Addiction and addictive behaviors don’t simply go away after several months-long programs have ended. Sadly, relapse rates remain high for nearly all substance types throughout the first year of recovery. Although the risk of relapsing increasingly declines as time goes on, people have experienced relapse after five years of sobriety, 10 years of sobriety, and even longer. Looking for ways to increase your chances of lifelong sobriety is always a good idea. This remains true even if you’ve only been using a minimally addictive substance, and for a relatively short period of time. Everyone in rehab is encouraged to take a proactive approach to relapse prevention. In rehab, people are taught how to manage stress, limit stress, and deal with it without using it.
The longer that you spend in structured, professional addiction treatment, the more skills and tools you’ll have upon exiting. Statistically, spending at least three months in an inpatient program provides the greatest chances of long-term success. People who attend needs-specific and sufficiently intensive outpatient programs can experience comparable levels of success, especially when outpatient programs are paired with sober living homes or halfway houses, or other forms of secondary support.
Lifestyle Changes and Targeted Mitigation Strategies
To succeed long-term in addiction recovery, most people have to make a large number of permanent changes to their lifestyles. These include:
- Avoiding harmful or essentially toxic relationships
- Avoiding high-risk environments in which substances are accessible
- Avoiding activities that cause overwhelming stress
Confidence in addiction recovery can cause people to test themselves in ways that are patently dangerous. For instance, if you complete an alcohol rehab program, it’s definitely best to avoid hanging out in bars with friends or attending parties where people are drinking heavily.
There may come a time when you can do these things without using them, but the longer that you avoid unnecessary temptations and triggers, the safer your recovery will be. Most professionals in the addiction treatment industry advise against ever subjecting yourself to these “tests” at all. When leaving addiction treatment, you should always have a plan for continued support. People who are successful in recovery often follow inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment with:
- Relapse prevention programs
- Short-duration outpatient programs
- Support groups
- Sober living
- Sober meetings
- Ongoing counseling services
The risk of relapse can be especially high for people with co-occurring disorders like:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Major depressive disorder
If you’ve been diagnosed with or believe that you may have any of these issues, seeking treatment for them is critical to your success. Dual diagnosis treatment addresses co-occurring disorders so that recovering addicts aren’t constantly being tempted to self-treat their emotional angst by using. To maintain the benefits of dual diagnosis treatment, it is also important to continue actively managing co-occurring disorders. When medications or other interventions are advised, discontinuing these treatments opens the door to relapse.
There are also certain barriers to long-term addiction recovery that should always be addressed as well. Many people who suffer from addiction have experienced extraordinary financial, legal, and professional challenges as a result of their drug or alcohol abuse. Both addiction treatment programs and many forms of post-treatment support offer planning assistance for preventing or mitigating homelessness, joblessness, and excessive financial stress. To find the best resources for keeping your addiction recovery on track, call us today at 833-610-1174. Our counselors are always standing by.