As addicts, we know that the road to sobriety can be a hard one. The thought of living our lives without the false safety of drugs or alcohol to numb us can actually be scary at first. We're used to putting our emotions aside and using substances to blanket everything that we feel we can't deal with. And thinking about life without substances can be frightening. Recovery seems like something we have to be in for the long haul and we may not be prepared to exert the energy to keep up with that.
However, the reality is that we do need to be prepared to look at recovery as a long-term commitment. As addicts, we can't just wake up one day and simply forget that we have an addictive personality, that we have burdens that we carry, that we have a problem with self-medicating.
Addiction is real and it is a struggle. If it were that easy, we would all be sober already. While we all long for freedom—freedom from ourselves and freedom from our addictions—this freedom can seem unattainable when we are hooked in deep.
However, it is absolutely possible. Freedom is out there for the taking if we could only begin the journey.
The First Step
For many of us, the first step to sobriety starts with rehab. Rehab allows us space to dry out, take a breath and slow down for a moment. It lets us put a stop to all the running that we do during our addiction. We need that space to focus on ourselves and how we got there, but most importantly, it helps us see how we can help ourselves find the freedom from addiction that we need.
Granted, rehab is only a temporary stop for us on the way to recovery, and we can't stay there forever. We also must learn how to transition back to our daily lives, and that can be just as scary if we aren't prepared to go back out there.
The truth is, we aren't always going to be prepared emotionally. Thoughts about addiction may hound us every day when we're back home, and we may have to enter the same dysfunctional environment that we left. But being prepared with the right tools to help us stay sober can help us slowly work our way through that transition.
The Importance of an Aftercare Plan
For most of us, we aren't just going to leave rehab suddenly all better and with no more work to do. No, rehab doesn't magically cure us of our addiction. We cannot just re-enter life as if nothing ever happened. Creating a treatment plan after rehab will best allow us to ease back into our new lifestyle, armed with the tools we need to stay sober. That can look differently for many different people.
For some, it means going to outpatient therapy, group therapy and/or meetings. For others, it means taking supervised medications to combat specific mental illnesses or chemical imbalances. Still, for others, their after treatment plan may include daily prayer, meditation, or a general shift in attitude. Every individual is different, but the end result we seek is the same—to stay sober.
If you need somewhere to start, you can ask your doctor for help in creating a treatment plan, friends and family, or our supportive SR forum community. Asking for help when we need it is part of living a new life after rehab.
Freedom from addiction is a long road to travel, but we can start it with a single step. Just knowing that we've made the choice to stay sober from that moment on, can empower us and give us the fuel we need to work towards that freedom.