As alumni of addiction recovery treatment programs, we sometimes have a tendency once we’ve completed treatment to disconnect from the program that helped us to achieve sobriety. We often don’t want to stay connected for various reasons, many of which have a lot to do with our inexperience with sobriety. Sometimes we assume that because we know so much about addiction, we know just as much about recovery. We find, though, that there is much for us to learn. As we continue to heal, we see the importance firsthand of staying connected with the people and resources that can help us to maintain our sobriety.
For some of us more recent alumni, we’re quick to think that if we got sober, we can easily stay sober. We want to believe that the hard work is done. We’re tired of exerting ourselves, and the recovery programs we’ve committed to can be exhausting and can demand so much of us. We’re tempted to return to our former lives and all the activities we used to enjoy. We don’t realize that our old lifestyles, and everything that was a part of them, can challenge our sobriety by increasing our anxiety, by adding to our stress, and by triggering us in old and familiar ways. We can, therefore, find ourselves tempted to give in to our drugs of choice, and for many of us, relapse is imminent.
We find over time that we failed to give ourselves the preparation we needed to handle all of these difficulties. We didn’t learn as much as possible about our mental, emotional, behavioral, and situational triggers. We didn’t develop the coping skills necessary to help us navigate these challenges. We didn’t fully overhaul our routines and lifestyles to support our sobriety. The more we can stay connected to our treatment program, even after we’ve finished treatment, the more we can benefit from everything they have to offer. We can continue to work with a therapist who has already gotten to know us well. We can continue to attend support group meetings and stay connected with sponsors and recovery coaches. We can receive after-care services such as assistance finding housing and employment opportunities. We can learn relapse prevention skills such as mindfulness and meditation.
There is no shame in needing help, at any point during the recovery process. We shouldn’t feel bad about ourselves, or inadequate, or lacking in any way if we continue to need help after we’ve first achieved sobriety. The opportunity to stay connected to our treatment program as alumni is a wonderful thing.
Riverside Recovery is committed to helping you get back to the life you love. Our treatment programs include multiple forms of therapy, family workshops, and mindfulness-based relapse prevention education. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.