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The potential dangers of returning to normal life following residential addiction treatment

attended rehab, you should be proud of your journey so far. As you’ll know, rehab helps you to break your dependence on alcohol or drugs, with therapy which deals with the root causes of your addiction. However, you may have also recognised that long-term sobriety is an ongoing process that takes continued commitment.

Rehab lets you focus on your personal goals and put together a recovery plan for the future. Your assigned therapists will have taught you the skills to put this plan into action after being discharged. ‘Work’ is the operative word here, as you’ll need to put in the effort every day to stay on the right path, which isn’t always straightforward.

A secondary care programme can help to make this transition to your new life of abstinence easier. It’ll reinforce what you’ve already learned in primary care treatment, while providing practical support and further therapy to work through any ongoing challenges. There’s also an emphasis on a community environment of sharing and empathy, to grow your confidence and feel less intimidated by what lies ahead.

Naturally, a range of temptations can present themselves as you return to daily life, after the insulated safety of being in your 28-day residential programme. You’re only human for being vulnerable to these tests of willpower. Here we explore some of the potential pitfalls to be aware of after primary addiction care.

Returning to work after addiction treatment

Going back to work can be daunting, as you deal with the pressure of your workload, meeting deadlines and performing your role well. Many people who struggle with their mental health put a lot of pressure on themselves at work. This can often lead to mounting anxiety around the responsibilities of your job.

A certain amount of pressure can be useful in helping us to get through our to-do list, but when this regularly turns into problem stress, it becomes counter-productive. This can be even more unhealthy if you’re working through addiction, as you’ll also be battling the urge to turn to substances to help you cope.

There may also be the social side of working life to contend with. Once you’re in recovery, you may have to reassess yodailur relationships with colleagues and work out how to enjoy their company outside of working hours. Anything in a drinking-focused setting will of course put your sobriety at risk, so you’ll need to suggest activities that won’t leave you open to these dangers.

If it’s difficult to gain support for doing anything other than going to pubs or bars, it may be worth considering which social circles are really worth your time and energy.

Resuming family life once you return home

The support of loved ones is invaluable as you start your new life after rehab. They can help to inspire confidence in your potential and assist with the practical elements of your day-to-day routine. However, the process of recovery can be difficult for everyone involved, which requires extra understanding on your part, alongside prioritising your own needs.

Just like you, those around you will have to get used to the requirements of your programme. They will need to become comfortable with their changing role in your life, their responsibilities towards your health and the new limitations of their own daily routine, particularly if they live with you.

You may feel guilt over the extra precautions your loved ones must take, and the new normality they have to adhere to. It could be difficult to enjoy family occasions if you feel self-conscious or that you are stopping others from having a good time, as anything involving alcohol is likely to be a no-go. You may feel like a burden on your family, which can take its toll on your newfound strength after rehab.

Managing your mental health in recovery

There are various influences that can lead to relapse in those who’ve had primary care treatment, depending on your environment. However, even if you do manage to avoid triggering situations and enjoy strong connections with those around you, it still takes work to preserve the healthier relationship you have with yourself.

Your initial addiction programme places a lot of emphasis on treating yourself with compassion, working through anything causing you pain and becoming physically healthier too. So it is important to continue the progress you have made here to sustain a lasting recovery.

If you have what you consider to be a bad day, you may find it more difficult to cope with your commitments and to avoid negative thoughts and triggers. This could spiral so that your emotional wellbeing is weakened, along with your ability to stay sober. A secondary care addiction programme will help you to build the life skills that help you to avoid relapse after primary care.

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