Getting clean is just the beginning of your journey, when you participate in a drug treatment program. Once caregivers have helped you to get clean, the real work will begin and it’s going to require an open frame of mind. Just as you might return to school to advance in your career, participating in a drug treatment program is a learning experience designed to improve your life. If you can’t change the way you approach situations and deal with conflict, you’ll likely end up right back in the same troubling situation.
Most people think addiction treatment is simply learning how to resist temptation. While that’s certainly one aspect of treatment, there are many more things you’ll have to learn. Therapy and other aspects of treatment will attempt to teach you many different things, from coping with your triggers to finding constructive ways of dealing with stress. Generally, there are five main skills that are taught to patients in most addiction treatment programs.
- Learn to avoid triggers
- Learn relaxation techniques
- Learn coping skills
- Learn how to ask for help
- Learn to rebuild your life
Learn to Avoid Triggers
This skill is first, because it’s among the most important things you’ll learn in your treatment program. You’ll carry this skill with you, upon your graduation from the program, and use it on a daily basis. Everywhere you go, you’ll run into triggers that will stir your cravings for drugs or alcohol. A trigger can be external, such as visiting a favorite bar, or internal, such as an extreme emotional state. We often come upon triggers unexpectedly and, while it may be possible to avoid some triggers, this won’t always be the case.
This is why drug treatment programs place a great deal of importance on identifying your personal triggers. You may drink alcohol, when you feel lonely, or you may use drugs, when you’re around certain people. Whatever the specific situation, you’ll have to learn how to identify these factors and how to interact without resorting to substance use.
Learn Relaxation Techniques
Stressful situations affect everyone differently, but, for those with a history of addiction, it can be one of the strongest triggers they face. It’s only natural for people to want to look for ways to reduce or eliminate stress from their lives, but, for recovering addicts, this can mean turning to alcohol or drugs. The biggest concern for someone graduating from a drug treatment program is that stress will drive them back to their old habits.
This is why most drug treatment facilities now offer classes that teach various relaxation methods. Part of each day can be spent learning meditation, yoga, or other techniques that help relieve stress naturally. By the time you complete your treatment program, you’ll be able to incorporate these practices into your daily life on your own. These practices will help you strengthen your mind and help you feel healthier, so your personal triggers won’t be as compelling.
Learn Coping Skills
While learning how to relax can go a long way toward helping you resist your triggers, you’ll still need to learn coping skills. You’ll encounter situations in which your triggers will be unavoidable and you won’t always be strong enough to resist the temptation. That’s where coping skills come in. By training your mind to think rationally in these situations, you’ll have a better chance to resist your triggers.
There are a variety of coping skills you’ll learn, as you go through a rehab program. One common coping skill is to ask yourself questions that force you to examine your feelings realistically. Common questions you should ask yourself may include the following:
- How do I feel right now without using drugs or alcohol?
- How do I want the alcohol or drug to make me feel?
- How will the drug or alcohol really make me feel?
By examining these feelings, you’ll be better prepared to resist the temptation to use. As you look inward and take stock of your feelings, you’ll find that you feel better without using the substance. Additionally, you’ll realize that using will make you feel worse, or won’t give you the feelings you really crave.
Learn How to Ask for Help
Sometimes, people have difficulty coping, even after they have attempted to employ these skills. That doesn’t mean you’re failing at your recovery. It just means that you need more help than your skills can provide and it’s time to reach out to a mentor, caregiver, or another supportive person. You’ll know it’s time to ask for help, when you find yourself isolating yourself, avoiding support meetings, or starting to binge on unhealthy foods.
It’s not always easy to reach out for help, because it means opening up and making yourself feel vulnerable. As you’ll learn in treatment, taking this type of risk is important and necessary to your continued recovery. The fact that you’ve started on a destructive path already shows that you’re unable to handle this challenge on your own. In the end, asking for the help you need will help you grow stronger.
Learn to Rebuild Your Life
Once you graduate from your treatment program, returning to your life, as it was, will only put you in immediate danger of a relapse. You’ll face the same triggers and associate with the same people, leading you right into the temptation of using. To avoid this type of danger, you’ll have to learn new ways of living and you’ll have to prepare for your return to society.
While in rehab, you’ll consider your future living arrangements and your job prospects. Will you make a career change? Perhaps, you’ll like the idea of moving to a different part of town. Also, you might choose to participate in team sports, look for organizations that offer spiritual counseling, or join a gardening class. The idea is to build the life you want to live, so you can stay healthy and happy.
As you enter drug treatment, you’ll find there is much to learn. Your ability to open your mind to new possibilities and to adopt different thought patterns will help you and increase your chances of a successful recovery. Change is often difficult to accept, but, if you do want to live a healthier and happier life, you’ll have to learn how to embrace change. Call us today at 866-754-9113.