It has taken you so long to finally accept that you needed change in your life. You’ve been to how many addiction counselling services? How often have you told others, “I’m really done!”? This time though, you can feel the difference inside. You know that you want it, and you want it so badly that you are finally willing to do whatever it takes to get clean and stay that way. And now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is.
The most dangerous time in recovery is probably the first month. Your old habits aren’t really old yet. These are habits you are changing in the moment, and that means it won’t take much to get you back on the wrong track. So, what do you need to do to make it stick?
The simplest thing to do is also the hardest. Change the people in your life to the best of your ability. That means that if you have a family member that is using, a close friend that you always got high with, or just a bunch of “druggies” that always had a spot for you on their couch, stay away. You can’t win if you’re pointing the arrow the wrong way. Stay away from things you associated with getting high. Even if you think you’re strong enough, there are psychological and physiological responses that cause reactions to certain events, and being in the wrong place can elicit undesirable responses that may send you right back into use. That is the last place you want to be, of course. You’re trying to stay clean, and you want the deck of cards stacked in your direction.
If you’re successful in your efforts to detox, then you probably started going to meetings. Some people have reasons for not going to meetings; some reasons are even legitimate (obligations, or not wanting to face shame or shyness). But more often than not, the reasons are mere excuses. Don’t fall victim to your own excuses. Fight them. The purpose of a meeting is two-fold:
The first is that you hear others who have walked in your shoes talk about what worked for them and what led them to relapse and then back out. By understanding the pitfalls, you have a better chance to avoid them.
The second reason people go to meetings is that others have experienced the same problem they have. When you have the support of others, telling you the things you don’t want to hear (helping you see reality, stopping you from being your own victim), then you have the ability to see everything for what it really is; the struggle is battling the impulses that will return you to a life of chaos and confusion.
Recovery doesn’t have to be followed by relapse. That’s a choice you can make, and making a choice, not to relapse is clearly a better choice. This is the time to find hobbies, to find work, to re-define yourself. We tend to forget the beautiful person that lives inside our bodies when we use drugs and alcohol. The more we use it, the easier it is to blame the world for our problems and not face them. When you made the decision to recover, you also decided that you didn’t want to be a victim any longer.