A number of reasons explain why it is difficult to maintain long-term addiction recovery. The first and most important is that addiction is a chronic and progressive brain disease. Much like asthma or diabetes, it cannot be cured and requires lifetime treatment. Overconfidence is one of the biggest enemies of anyone who has recently completed rehab and is new to recovery. Many feel they’ve defeated addiction following rehabilitation and fail to continue implementing the same strategies that made them successful during treatment.
People in recovery also frequently struggle with feelings of boredom, loneliness, anger, fear, depression and anxiety, which can lead to relapse. These emotions are usually due to the drastic change in his or her lifestyle following treatment. Addicts must often change their friends, hobbies, hangouts and much more in order to be successful in recovery. This period of transition creates extra vulnerability.
In order stay on the right path, individuals need to keep taking their recovery seriously, even following graduation from rehab. This means applying the same tactics that worked during rehab in the real world. Here are 10 tips for you to follow if you’re a recovering addict:
Take it One Day at a Time: You can’t make it to a year of sobriety without getting past the six month mark. Concentrate on making it past today without drinking or using drugs. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking about how you will make it for the next three months. Focus on just today, and eventually one day will become one week, one week will become one month, one month will become one year, and one year will become a lifetime.
Take Care of Yourself: It’s a proven fact that the better a person feels, the less likely they are to abuse drugs or alcohol. Proper nutrition and regular exercise improves a person’s mood and makes them feel better overall. This is why it’s essential for recovering addicts to commit themselves to maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, while also exercising routinely.
People in recovery, especially men, often use their recovery as an excuse to indulge in food.  This means that instead of continuing to undo the damage to physical health caused through substance abuse, they are potentially compounding this issue through poor nutrition and exercise.
Develop Hobbies: One of the most important things individuals in recovery need to learn is how to have fun without using drugs or alcohol. For years and perhaps even decades, these individuals linked enjoyment to substance abuse. Now sober, recovering addicts may find it difficult to fill their time with enjoyable activities and hobbies.
This is why finding one or multiple hobbies is essential for long-term success. A hobby, like painting, doing puzzles or any other relaxing pastime, can provide pleasure and improve mental wellbeing. It can also prevent boredom, which is often a precursor to relapse.
Don’t Ignore Aftercare: You deserve a lot of credit for completing addiction treatment, but now is not the time to start getting cocky. Whether your rehab facility offers aftercare services or not, you should also consider participating in local recovery support groups, possibly attending AA meetings, joining online forums and connecting yourself with as many other individuals in recovery as possible. Having strength in numbers is important during recovery, and aftercare programs will give you the extra support you need.