Once you have completed a program, be proud of your accomplishment. It is the first step towards a life of sobriety.
That being said, your program is not over. You have identified that your lifestyle has to change and now you will move forward with the skills you have learned to identify any potential stumbling blocks. Let’s be honest, you will encounter barriers. But you now have the power to overcome them.
Here are some points on what to be on the lookout for:
Change the “Crowd” you used to be a part of...
You may have to block out some old acquaintances you associated with when you were using. Notice I didn’t say friends; your friends were around before and are around after your program. Don’t fall back into the same routine of going out with the people you did prior to your realization of having a problem.
Change the Environment you were in...
Going to the same places you did before will not be a good idea. It will up triggers and may tempt you into thinking, “Well, I can have one!”
Do different things with different people in different places. Change it up. You just changed your environment, met different people and did different things in program. Now you have the skill set and knowledge to change your past routine.
Hold yourself accountable. You have the power to make the choice you know is right. If you need help, ask for it from a sponsor or trusting friend that understands.
Where can my support come from?
It’s tough to say, but sometimes family members and loved ones may not be the best people to talk to when it comes to what you are dealing with. They love you but more than likely will not understand what you are going through.
Find friends in new activities, support groups, start meeting with a counselor or stay in touch with the people whom you have just spent time with in your program.
You probably have re-invented yourself or found the person you were before the addiction grabbed a hold of you and identified new interests and hobbies. Follow through with these new/old interests and make yourself the person you want to be. There is no doubt once these activities fall into place, you will find friends that you can relate to and you lifestyle with move in a positive direction.
All these suggestions are simple to see but can be difficult to achieve. Don’t be hesitant to ask for support. We all need help at some point. You have already taken those steps by completing a program, keep moving forward!!
John - Lead Addictions Counselor