Addiction is a complex issue that affects many people. Although a lot has been said about it, there are still lesser-known issues that pop up.
Although life after getting sober is better for so many addicts — it's why they sought help in the first place — recovery and post-rehabilitation still have challenges.
Here are some things addicts are likely to experience, and potential solutions for each.
Addicts are used to a routine of substance abuse plus X, but when they take the drugs or alcohol out of the equation, they’re often unsatisfied with what’s left. This is why it’s important to fill time with new things that are productive and lead toward fulfillment and away from triggers that could result in a relapse.
Although one might feel bored, there are plenty of ways to fill time. Ideas include taking up a new hobby, learning how to cook and clean, practicing self-care and learning to be a functioning adult. A recovering addict will find a way through the lackadaisical periods but has to keep trying, even when things get tough.
Many recovering addicts eventually experience some type of guilt for all the things they did while using. Emotional debts and harmful activities can come back to haunt addicts, especially because, ideally, their lives are in a place where they can see more clearly.
The old addict might have treated people closest to them abominably, and even burned some bridges. No matter how bad things ended, the best solution is to own up to what's been done and offer sincere apologies.
3. Loss of interest in old hobbies
This doesn’t mean, after recovery, every part of an old life will suddenly become undesirable, but it could mean some of the things enjoyed before were only enjoyable because an addict was drunk or high. In a sober state and in the light of day, going clubbing might hold no interest because it was being intoxicated that made it enjoyable in the first place. If an addict starts thinking, “What was so great about this anyway?” while taking part in old activities, it might be time to ditch that old hobby and search for something that makes the newly sober person tick.
4. Feeling lonely or isolated
This especially happens when people go back to their old lives and realize many, if not all, of their friends are abusing drugs or alcohol. It’s important to note that post-rehab recovery is a new experience that isn’t substance abuse and isn’t treatment but something else. Addicts in recovery should identify they're no longer in detox or experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and that’s a good thing. Then, they can reach out to family and a support system. Calling a sponsor or counselor and talking about newfound emotions will help.
5. Difficulty sleeping
Night sweats, nightmares or cravings are common right after rehab and recovery but may continue intermittently for years. Feelings of panic or helplessness are also common, but it’s important to employ techniques to get through these vulnerable stages, particularly in the first 30 days after rehab. Calling someone who it is comfortable to talk to could have a calming effect. The same could be said for getting out of bed and reading or listening to music. During the day, it's a good idea to throw energy into a new hobby that occupies the mind and provides a positive outlet. Most of all, continuing to make full use of support networks, especially family support, is essential.
6. Employment difficulties
Starting a job is challenging because of past convictions, terminations or simply because a recovering addict isn't sure what direction a career should go. Many also lack good career experience. No matter what the situation, work is an important step back to normalcy and permanent sobriety. Addicts should make simple goals in life and at a job as they gain confidence and the ability to do more.
Although the road to recovery might never end, it gets easier over time. Taking advantage of each twist and turn to learn something new about themselves while avoiding triggers and building strengths will help addicts overcome addiction, but it takes consistent efforts.
Pacific Bay Recovery understands the challenge of watching a friend, family member or loved one struggle with addiction. We are here to help.
Visit http://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/ for information or to request a consultation.