Aftercare Services in Recovery

Aftercare Services in Recovery

Aftercare Services in Recovery

Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Some people will attend an inpatient treatment center and figure “Hey, I’m cured; I can go back to living my life.” Unfortunately, this is not the case for most addicts, which is why most treatment centers recommend some kind of aftercare service when you get out.

Here are the most common aftercare services in recovery:

Aftercare Services in Recovery: Outpatient Treatment

Most inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centers offer some kind of outpatient treatment as well. Usually, outpatient treatment is used as one of the aftercare services in recovery, rather than primary treatment. Once you have completed a 30 to 90 day program (in some cases longer), you leave the treatment center and return several times a week to continue treatment. Outpatient aftercare services in recovery are a good follow up to inpatient treatment because it keeps a person in recovery accountable and helps them deal with things that come up once they are living on their own. For many alcoholics and addicts, the most dangerous time is right after they leave inpatient treatment. The risk for relapse is very high. Outpatient services at a drug and alcohol treatment center can improve the chances that an alcoholic or addict will stay clean and sober in the long term.

Aftercare Services in Recovery: Sober Houses

Sober living homes offer a concentrated, drug free environment so that individuals who have finished inpatient drug treatment programs can further establish and strengthen their sobriety. This is one of the aftercare services in recovery that is highly recommended, because people who go to sober houses have a better chance of long-term recovery. Sober houses provide an opportunity to cement the coping skills, communication techniques, and healthy lifestyles that are initiated during residential treatment. In addition, sober houses provide an environment where people in recovery can form a strong support system. In a sober living home, you will be surrounded by other people who are trying to establish a drug and alcohol free lifestyle. Most sober living homes are designed to keep you accountable by establishing guidelines that include regular drug tests, compulsory attendance at twelve step groups, and requirements to find a job and contribute to rent.

Aftercare Services in Recovery: 12 Step Groups

Twelve step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are possibly the oldest and most well-established of the aftercare services in recovery. Since its inception, Alcoholics Anonymous and groups like it have helped millions of people recover from addiction to drugs and alcohol. The groups offer support, camaraderie, and accountability to people struggling with addiction. Most fellowships recommend that you attend 90 meetings during the first 90 days of sobriety. They also counsel that you should get a sponsor, join a home group, and work the 12 steps of recovery. Twelve step groups frequently host fellowship events which are fun activities within a sober environment. This can be invaluable to a recovering alcoholic or drug addict.

How To Address Self Harm in Recovery

How to address Self Harm in Recovery

Addressing self-harm in recovery is not an easy task but if you are ready to get help for cutting or self-harm there are ways to get help. In recovery we are trying to leave negative and self-destructive behaviors behind and part of that means leaving self-harm behind. We have worth today and we handle life with grace and dignity so it is important to address self-harm in recovery.

If you are ready to address self-harm in recovery the first step is to confide in someone about it! It can be really scary to talk to another person about something that you have tried so hard to hide but it is also going to be an amazing relief to let someone know what has been going on with you. It is important that you find someone you trust in order to address self-harm in recovery; whether that is a sponsor, therapist, or family member make sure that you can feel somewhat comfortable being honest and open. Make sure when you address self-harm in your recovery with another person that you focus on your feelings not the actual self-harm, communicate in the way you feel comfortable, and that you give the person time to process what you tell them. Talking about self-harm can be stressful and can bring up emotions; don’t get discouraged.

The next step in addressing self-harm in recovery is to figure out why you are cutting. In recovery we leave addiction and alcoholism behind but that doesn’t mean we leave all of our negative behaviors behind. Figure out why you cut and you can begin to find a solution. Begin to learn new coping skills for dealing with emotional pain such as loneliness, sadness, anger, and emptiness. Maybe re-work your steps with the sole purpose of working on your self-harm. Also, learn what your self-harm triggers are. Do you self-harm when you are overwhelmed, bored, ashamed, guilty, or angry? Get in touch with your feelings if you cannot identify your triggers or why you cut. Meditation and prayer can help with this. Paying attention to your feelings and accepting them rather than numbing them is part of a healthy recovery.

And last but definitely not least in order to address self-harm in recovery you must learn and utilize your new coping skills. There are so many outlets in the world for us where we can release negative energy. Find your niche. Find the thing that makes you feel the best and replace that with numbing and self-harm behavior. For instance you can paint, draw, journal, listen to music, and write poetry if you cut to express your pain and emotions. You could also try taking a hot bath or shower, cuddle with your dog or cat, and give yourself a massage for self-harm that you act out in to calm and soothe yourself. For any time that you engage in self-harm to feel numb try calling a friend instead, take a cold shower, go online to a self-help website, call your sponsor, or go to a meeting. If you want to self-harm to release anger try exercising intensely, dancing, punching a cushion, ripping something like paper, or play an instrument.

Addressing self-harm in recovery is imperative to staying sober and living a healthy, happy and full life. It won’t be easy but it can be done. Realize your worth and realize that all emotions are neither positive nor negative, they just are!


Working Through Abandonment Issues in Your Recovery

Working Through Abandonment Issues in Your Recovery

Abandonment happens when an important relationship ends without shared grieving and without mutual agreement for the relationship to end. An example of abandonment would be someone you love leaving you with little or no warning. If you have abandonment in your past it can definitely bring up feelings you may have buried deep down once you begin your recovery. So how do you begin working through abandonment issues in your recovery?

Feelings of abandonment are often triggered when someone is rejected by someone they love. Other triggers include social situations such as not being invited to an event by a friend. These triggers leave someone feeling inadequate, lonely, rejected, and betrayed. The first step in working through abandonment issues in your recovery is to recognize your triggers.

For someone who is struggling with abandonment issues they may have feelings of fear and insecurity. They often can end up creating a self-fulfilling prophecy which means they are so afraid of being abandoned that it ends up happening again because they are subconsciously attracting someone into their life who will abandon them. Having abandonment issues can affect a person’s ability to have a happy and healthy relationship. Fear is at the root of abandonment issues in your recovery and if you are working a strong program a fourth step and lots of prayer can help with this fear.

According to psychotherapist Sue Anderson there are 5 stages of abandonment. The first being feelings of shock, panic and despair the second being feelings of yearning, obsessing and longing, the third is looking for ways to blame yourself for them leaving, putting the person on a pedestal etc. The fourth stage is the rage stage where unhealthy thoughts of revenge or retaliation are common. It is important to work through abandonment issues in your recovery by allowing yourself to go through the five stages of abandonment. These stages are normal and the reactions are normal because they lead up to the fifth stage of abandonment.

The fifth stage is lifting. Life begins to take up more space in your mind and the person who left you less and less. You may become more open to the possibility of love again. In order to work through abandonment issues completely and totally most people have to come to terms with the original cause of the feelings which usually happen in childhood. A shift in perspective and thinking has to occur and the old patterns of thinking which now gone leave room for new beliefs are and thinking to come in. Self-love and getting a relationship with a higher power is another great way to work though abandonment issues in recovery and also are recommended by a therapist Laura Frisbie. A higher power will never abandon you. In fact C.S. Lewis says “we should never put all our happiness into something we can lose” and you can’t lose a higher power.

Working the 12 steps and building new relationships with individuals such as your sponsor are great tools the program offers and recovery offers to work through abandonment issues.


How to cope with the stigma of being an addict

Stigma of Addiction

How to cope with the stigma of being an addict

Most people don’t realize that there are prices an addict has to pay in their life even after they get sober and stop using the drugs and alcohol. The stigma of being an addict will follow someone with tainted past for a long time. In fact, stigma is one of the most difficult aspects of addiction because it makes it harder for individuals and families to deal with their problems and get the help they need. Society has imposed the stigma of being an addict because of the belief that addiction is a character flaw or weakness that can’t be cured. This stigma of being an addict is deep rooted even in the light of addiction being a treatable disease and those who have recovered and live wonderful lives.

Here are some ways you can cope with the stigma of being an addict:

  1. Communicate.

Communication is very important in order to maintain a positive social support network and break down the social stigma. If you have recently gone to drug and alcohol treatment or dealt with addiction you may start to find that people in your social circles are treating you differently. Your friends, family members, or coworkers may see you as fragile or may avoid you altogether. Don’t let this upset you because chances are they just don’t know how to communicate with you and are worried they may upset you and don’t have the knowledge about your addiction to be comfortable. Talk with your family and friends and help to educate them so they have a better understanding of your addiction and what you are going through. Make sure to do this in ways you are comfortable with.

  1. Recognize the time and place

It is definitely important to discuss your addiction with people close to you but it is also important to only speak about it in areas where you are comfortable and where others will be comfortable talking about it. It is important to remember that in some circumstances it is best to keep the information about your addiction to yourself-not because you are ashamed for it because it will be better for your well-being. Some people just won’t understand.

  1. Acknowledge your own potential

This is a great way to cope with the stigma of being an addict. Your potential is only as limited as you perceive it to be. Having an addiction does not have to keep you from doing absolutely anything you want to do with your life. The world has tons to offer you and you have tons to offer the world. The stigma of being an addict does not change this and cannot remain in the face of what you want to do. Don’t allow the stigma of being an addict to shape you or how you feel about yourself and definitely don’t let sell yourself short because of your addiction. You are a good person who has a disease.

  1. Use stress reduction techniques

A lot of the times, coming in contact with someone who still holds on to the stigma of what addicts are and who they are can be stressful for you. Using stress-reduction techniques can help combat some of anxiety that can come up when you are dealing with less than understanding individuals. These stress-reduction techniques, such as breathing, meditating, prayer, etc. can help you to stay focused and cope with the stigma of being an addict.

Learning how to cope with the stigma of being an addict is something that comes with time. Slowly, but surely; it will get easier and eventually you will feel as if you aren’t dealing with any kind of stigma at all. Those who believe in the stigma against addicts are merely people who just don’t have the knowledge about addiction or the understanding so you just keep doing what you are doing and the rest of the world can keep their thoughts to themselves.