If you’re preparing to leave an addiction treatment center, then you might be nervous about what’s to come. You might be wondering how you can stay sober without the extensive support you have now. You might be questioning your commitment to sobriety, given that the amount of support you have at home isn’t going to be as intense.
Steps to Ensure Your Sobriety
However, there are certainly things that you can do to support yourself. There are always steps you can take to ensure your sobriety. And that’s why the first thing you should do once you know you’re going home is to make a list of all the ways that will support yourself. Making that list is a form of planning. It’s a way of gathering your resources before returning to a vulnerable environment. If you still have the opportunity to meet with a therapist or drug counselor while still in treatment, it might be a good idea to make this list with him or her. Having a mental health professional at your side while you plan and prepare can be useful. He or she might be able to think of ideas that you might not be able to alone.
The list you want to prepare should include all the people you might have to avoid for the first 6 months of your sobriety, all the places you need to avoid, all the movies you can’t watch and the songs you shouldn’t listen to. People, places, movies, and songs are strong memory triggers. Essentially, you’re trying to remove any triggers that stimulate memories, cravings, or desires to use. Making a list of what to avoid for awhile can facilitate your safety.
Supporting Your Sobriety
Next, make another list. Write down all the things you want to include in your life in order to support your sobriety. This could be people, such as supportive friends and family members, therapists, psychiatrists, and anyone you trust. It could be a sponsor, a relationship partner, or a long-time friend. Talking things through can be an essential part of staying sober. By talking it out you won’t feel as tempted if challenging thoughts come to you. Talking about your inner experiences can help take the charge off those that are hard to handle and deflate its power over you. Through talking you can see that a craving, for instance, is there for a reason, triggered by a feeling perhaps, and then you can be mindful of that pattern in the future. Furthermore, you might recognize that having a craving is nothing to feel bad about. It’s simply a way that your body and mind are attempting to cope.
This list of what to include in your life might also be of places you want to go to when you’re feeling challenged, such as the beach, home, mountains, the office, etc. What are the locations that will be nurturing and nourishing? Next make a list of the activities that are going to support you. Reading, going to a drinking-free and drug-free movie, exercise, or spending time with someone you love can take your mind off a craving, if you’re feeling it. These activities can also be the things to do more frequently to avoid using or drinking.
Make a list of the things you want around you in your life. These could be things like:
- Photos of family and friends whom you love
- Lotion or massage oils that you appreciate feeling on your skin
- A personal journal so that you can write out your experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
- Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or other comfort foods
- Your favorite quotes that inspire you
- Magazine articles that encourage you and keep you moving toward your goal.
- A drum or an instrument so that you can play music
- Relaxation CD’s to keep yourself feeling calm and relaxed
- A workout CD so that you can exercise while you’re away
- Poetry that warms your heart and invokes insight
- Hot cocoa mix to stay warm and cozy if it gets cold where you’re headed
- Spiritual books to boost your spiritual practice and give strength to your sobriety as you travel
- Fuzzy socks to stay cozy
- Herbal tea to stay warm and to treat yourself to what you enjoy.
In addition to all of the above, your preparation list could include phone numbers of those that are important in your life so that you know who to call in an emergency.
Making plans and preparing for your sobriety is the smartest thing you can do when you’re completing your addiction treatment.