Recovery from substance abuse is possible with the help of a treatment center. Quitting drinking or drugs under medical supervision allows you to detox in a safe place. You can then benefit from the therapies and support groups run by the center. But what happens next?
If you have yet to receive treatment for your substance use disorder, you may find it hard to imagine what your life may look like afterward. It is natural to feel like this. Addiction is a medical condition that takes away a person's ability to control their use of a substance. Living in this situation makes it very difficult to see beyond a life dominated by drink or drugs. This blog outlines what you can expect as you begin your new lifestyle in recovery.
Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorder (SUD) is a medical condition that affects someone's brain, making it much more difficult to manage cravings and the use of drugs. This condition can be overcome with professional help such as rehab.
Before you can get an idea of what life looks like after addiction, you first have to understand what happens to a person when they are in the grips of a substance use disorder. Someone who has a problem with alcohol or drugs may be dealing with two issues: dependency and addiction.
What Is Drug Dependency?
Generally speaking, when a person takes a substance such as crack cocaine for a long time, their body becomes used to its presence. Drugs and alcoholic drinks can have a powerful impact on physical and mental processes. Over a period of use, this impact becomes the body's normal state of affairs.
For this reason, when a person quits a substance they are dependent on, they experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal is a sign that the body has noticed the absence of the substance and is starting to adjust its processes.
Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the substance or substances that a person has been using. Symptoms are often uncomfortable and can sometimes be dangerous. The following is a list of some of the common withdrawal symptoms that appear when quitting opioids.
- Sleep difficulties
- Aching muscles
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal pain
When a person quits substance abuse at a detox facility, medical professionals will supervise the withdrawal process to ease the symptoms and deal with any health issues caused by high blood pressure or other problems.
During detox, the substance, and any by-products it has produced, leave the person's body. It is important to remember that after detox, your tolerance of the substance will decrease. It can be very dangerous to resume taking the substance at your former levels.
What Is Drug Addiction?
Addictions come in many forms, especially when substances are involved. However, you may be aware that people can be addicted to things that are not alcohol or drugs. For example, gambling addiction is a well-known impulse control disorder. Addiction is a mental illness that takes over a person's life so that their thoughts are dominated by doing the thing they are addicted to.
A person can be dependent on drugs or alcoholic drinks without being addicted to them. However, dependency and addiction often go hand in hand. For this reason, addiction treatment facilities offer therapies to help people to deal with the psychological aspects of their substance use disorder.
For people in recovery, learning to manage their mental health is an important part of their new life. They can do this because the therapies provided by treatment facilities help them to understand the causes of their addiction and their triggers for using. Working together with their therapist, a person in treatment will also come up with strategies to resist taking the substance in the future.
Your Life After Dependency and Addiction
Every person's experience of substance abuse and recovery is unique to them. Your path through detox will depend on factors including:
- What substances you have taken
- How long and how heavily you have used the substances
- Your age and state of health
Similarly, your journey through therapy will also depend on why you became addicted in the first place. Certain risk factors make people particularly vulnerable. If you are in one of the categories below, you may require therapy to deal with the impact of the risk factor on your life:
- Traumatic experiences caused you to develop a disorder such as PTSD, and you began taking drugs or drinking to cope with your symptoms.
- Other family members have substance use disorders, and you began using because you were exposed at an early age.
- You have an untreated mental illness and use a drug or alcohol to medicate the symptoms.
Government statistics from 2017 show that there is a significant overlap between mental illness and substance abuse. In that year, 37.9 percent of people with substance use disorders also had other mental illnesses.
A person who has another mental illness alongside substance misuse can receive dual diagnosis treatment at a treatment facility. For someone in this situation, learning about the treatment needed for their other mental illness is also a part of making a smart recovery.
What Is Addiction Therapy Like?
Across the country, substance abuse treatment programs vary depending on the specialisms of each facility's staff and the location of each center. The support that a person receives will also depend on their specific needs. Despite these variations, it is possible to give a general idea of what treatment options are available to a person with a drug or alcohol problem.
Inpatient or Outpatient Treatment
A residential stay at a treatment facility is often recommended for people with addictions to substances that present uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It is also often advised for people who have used a substance heavily or for a long time.
Inpatient treatment has many advantages. The person has access to medical staff 24/7 and the opportunity to begin the healing process in a place dedicated to recovery. A residential stay also allows a person to learn about healthy relationships and a healthy lifestyle away from any people or situations that may have encouraged their substance use. You can also learn new skills to help avoid or manage relapse.
After inpatient treatment, a person might move on to outpatient treatment as they start rebuilding their life. Others start their recovery journey with outpatient care from the very beginning.
In outpatient treatment, a person comes to the center during the day and returns home to sleep. Outpatient treatment can be a good option for people who have unavoidable career or family responsibilities.
At Cornerstone, we offer an intensive outpatient program that runs two sessions a day, seven days a week.
Learning about mental wellness and the psychology of substance misuse is an important part of every person's recovery. Many treatment centers offer talk therapy sessions, where the person can meet one-to-one with a professional therapist to develop the best tools to say goodbye to drug or alcohol addiction.
Some centers give you the option to continue seeing your therapist after the end of your treatment program.
Common talk therapies for addiction recovery include cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Researchers have also reported that cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective method to treat and help people with their long-term recovery after they leave rehab for drug abuse.
Group Therapy Sessions
A person in recovery may also have the chance to attend group therapy. In this form of therapy, a professional therapist helps a group of people on the same healing journey to learn from each other about overcoming addiction.
This is not the only chance that a person may get to receive therapy alongside others. Addiction treatment facilities often also provide couples therapy and family therapy.
Family therapy and couples therapy can play an important role in helping a person live a sober lifestyle. The loved ones of the person learn about their addiction, rebuilding relationships, and how they can support the recovery process.
This form of therapy is often a chance for partners and family members to think about healthy relationships in the home and about their own involvement with substance abuse.
In life after drug or alcohol rehab, people often benefit from joining support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. These groups are communities of individuals in recovery.
By attending regular meetings, a person can receive emotional support from others who have been in their shoes. Over time, a person may also benefit from being able to give support to other group members.
At Cornerstone, our clients can join our alumni program to gain peer support in a safe and healthy peer recovery community. The continuing care provided by alumni programs after leaving rehab can help you bounce back after a relapse, as well as give you the social support you need to cut ties with people who may be a bad influence.
How Can Friends and Family Members Help?
A big part of staying sober is the development of new routines and healthy behaviors. Rehab can kickstart this process, but friends and loved ones can help you go the distance.
Most people relapse at some point, but this is a normal part of recovery. Having the right people around you can help you stay positive and continue on your journey.
Creating new routines, such as regular exercise, can be much easier when done together. By trying out new hobbies, you will soon realize that life after addiction is a lot more varied and fun! Instead of life revolving around getting and using drugs, you will now have the time and energy to take part in many different types of activity.
Life at Home After Addiction Treatment
While every person's recovery from alcohol or drug abuse is unique, certain experiences are likely to be common to every individual. Going to a support group allows a person to talk to others who are going through the same thing.
- Addiction is a mental illness, and recovery involves a person having a daily awareness of their own mental health. This is a lifelong process.
- Maintaining sobriety is often helped by developing a healthy relationship with physical health, fitness, and nutrition.
- A person may have to work on areas of their life that the addiction affected. This could be school, career, or mending relationships.
- Recovery can also mean catching up on fun activities or new hobbies that addiction caused a person to miss out on.
Thinking About Life After Addiction?
Before seeking treatment, it can be difficult to imagine what your new life could even look like. What you can be sure of is that the support you receive will help to shape your experience. With a successful recovery, you will know yourself better, and you may even make new friends on the journey.
At Cornerstone, a drug and alcohol rehab center in Southern California, we can provide you with detox and therapy tailored to your needs. We also offer services to help you as you are moving forward with your life after early recovery. These include:
We have years of experience helping people get the support they need to enjoy life after addiction.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you flourish after addiction. (Please also see our list of health insurance providers on our website.)