Drug and alcohol rehab is designed to facilitate your recovery. It begins with stopping the use of addictive substances, but it certainly does not end there.
For most people, fundamental life changes are necessary for recovery, and rehabilitation can help you learn the skills you need to be able to make those changes. Here are five important recovery skills you can learn during drug and alcohol rehab.
1. How to Identify and Avoid High-Risk Situations
Different internal and external cues can cause someone with a substance abuse disorder to crave drugs or even relapse. Triggers are different for different people, so it is important that you learn to identify what triggers and situations prompt cravings for you. In some cases, you can avoid these high-risk situations, but in other cases, you cannot and you have to develop positive ways of coping with them. But remember, simply being able to identify high-risk situations and knowing which ones you can avoid empowers you more than you may expect.
2. How to Relax
Relaxation skills can be severely out of the norm in people with substance abuse disorders. Many people use drugs or alcohol to escape, relax, and unwind, and it is essential that they learn to change the ways they alleviate tension. You are not too busy to relax, particularly if you come to drug and alcohol rehab from having spent considerable time obtaining and using drugs. Your counselor can help you learn relaxation techniques that work for you. They may be simple, like going for a walk, or they may be more complex, like meditation, but they are indispensable to successful recovery.
3. How to Cope with Challenges and Triggers
You cannot always avoid challenging situations or situations that trigger cravings; internal triggers can be difficult to avoid. Counseling and group therapy sessions can help you ask key questions to help you through challenging situations. Those questions typically include:
- How do I feel right now, not using drugs or alcohol?
- How do I want substances to make me feel?
- How do I actually feel after using substances?
Identifying these feelings and having a plan in place to cope with them can get you through difficult situations where you might be tempted to use. Signs that you are having difficulty coping include bottling up emotions, isolating yourself, avoiding AA meetings, or adopting unhealthy eating and sleeping patterns. This knowledge can let you know it is time to reach out.
4. How to Reach Out
It is not easy to reach out. By contrast, it can be all too easy to isolate yourself. Reaching out, whether to your counselor, your AA or NA sponsor, or a helpline, will not get easier until you practice doing it. By reaching out, you are making yourself vulnerable to an extent, but you already know that isolating yourself and hiding your emotions does not work. This does not mean you have to tell everyone about your substance abuse disorder, but the people who are close to you should know. Honesty goes against everything your addiction told you, because addiction requires extensive lying. Reaching out takes practice, and drug and alcohol rehab can teach you exactly how to do that.
5. How to Build Your Life Day by Day
If recovery from a substance abuse disorder only required that you stop using, life would be much simpler. But it actually requires creating a new life that facilitates not using substances. If you do not, you can expect addiction to catch up with you sooner rather than later. It is hard giving up your old life, even if your old life was terrible, because the unknown is frightening.
However, drug and alcohol rehab works with you and your needs to help you build a life that moves forward without substance abuse. You have to take it day by day, and sometimes even moment by moment, but the effort is worth it when you end up happier, healthier, and in a more supportive and positive lifestyle.
Drug and alcohol rehab does not “cure” you of your substance abuse disorder. It does, however, help you identify what triggers your drug abuse, how to avoid some triggers, and how to cope with the ones that cannot be avoided. If it sounds like hard work, it is! But the results can be profound and lasting, helping both you and the people you love. If you want to learn more about drug and alcohol rehab, we invite you to learn more about admissions.