Life After Opioid Rehab – 9 Steps for Opioid Recovery
Once you’ve made the substantial first step of opioid sobriety (through opioid addiction treatment), you’ll now need to keep going in opioid recovery. That’ll mean changing a few things in your life, so you can maintain that sobriety after rehab. We’ve listed nine steps for you to read and learn—they might increase your chance of long-term success in opioid recovery.
1. Avoid People Who Pressure You
Anyone who currently abuses opioids likely won’t understand how important your newfound sobriety is to you. They might pressure others into opioid use because they don’t want to do it alone, or simply because they don’t care about sobriety. You should probably remove this extreme negativity from your post-opioid rehab life. Of course, distance from your past loved ones might be painful, but if those loved ones don’t support your opioid recovery, do they still care for your life?
If you don’t want to avoid these people but still want to be successful with recovery, you can explain to them how significant sobriety is in your life; explain that being around opioids can risk your relapse. Explaining it honestly might help them come to understand and support your recovery (perhaps even making them question their own opioid use).
2. Create an Opioid-Free Environment
Before returning home from opioid rehab, you’ll need a plan to remove any opioid-related things from your home. It might be best if a friend or family member does this without you present. But if you live alone and don’t have someone available to help, then you should remove all opioid-related things when you choose opioid recovery. This can help you forget resist your urges to use opioids—if you have no access to opioids, you might have more success in resisting them.
3. Learn Your Opioid Triggers and How to Avoid Them
“Triggers” are specific parts of your daily routine or past memories which lead you to use opioids. When you’ve used opioids in the past, you likely had a certain place, feeling, or action present, which may cause a long-lasting association. You experience one of these triggers, and the association brings on an urge to use opioids.
To help learn your triggers, take time to write down what you do during a normal day. Then, remember where you most often used opioids in the past: where’s the overlap? Those will likely be your personal triggers. Once you’ve spotted them, think about ways to avoid them ahead of time. This may mean changing your daily routine, so that you don’t have to make the (more-difficult) abstinence in the moment that triggers you. For example, if you find that having too much free time is one of your triggers, try to keep your day busy. That’ll keep you away from the chance to use opioids.
4. Join Recovery Support Groups
For anyone going through opioid addiction recovery, there are different groups you can join (some like Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery). These groups intend to provide you with a place to share your recovery struggles and triumphs. Not to mention, your ongoing opioid recovery will need help from those also on the same journey. NA meetings in particular encourage “sponsorship,” where you can pair with a more experienced group member for growth in your recovery.
5. Help Others with Opioid Addiction
One more major component of opioid addiction recovery is identifying your personal flaws that have enabled opioid use in the past, and you can improve this self-awareness by helping someone else through the same process. Sharing personal support with someone else in recovery can help you both stay on your recovery path. You might find it fulfilling to know that your journey can help someone in need find their purpose in life. Plus, helping someone else with the right amount of effort can also reduce your free time, if that enables your urges to use opioids. You will find it very fulfilling to know that your journey can help someone in need find their purpose in life.
6. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
During addiction treatment, your body undergoes a purge to eliminate the opioids. This process, called detoxification, continues after rehab (when opioids’ negative effects can still hinder the brain and other vital organs). Because of these lingering impacts, you need to take care of your body and help it re-stabilize. Both proper nutrition and regular exercise can repair the damage which opioids have caused.
Another aspect of a healthy lifestyle is mental health. It’s just as important as diet and exercise, because it keeps the mind strong (which is half the battle of addiction recovery). Therapists and psychologists can often meet with you, to give you advice and medication if necessary. In the long term, maintaining your mental health will anchor your recovery and reduce the chances of opioid relapse.
7. Create a Strong Support System
Having people that support your opioid recovery can help you in your new life. Your “support system” can include family members, close friends, and others. But choose your support system carefully. You likely shouldn’t chose anyone who would pressure you to use opioids, or trigger your opioid use urges. A strong support system will ensure that you stay in your opioid recovery, and it can help you through challenges.
8. Make Long-Term Goals
Setting goals for yourself gives you something to strive for, and achieving them can give you a feeling of satisfaction. Both destinations and feelings of satisfaction can strengthen your opioid recovery mentally. Your opioid goals can be anything: milestones of number of days sober, creating a healthy lifestyle, helping others, rekindling broken friendships, and other things which will give you something to shoot for in the near future of your recovery.
To choose your goals (and to later check them off), you could write them down somewhere where you’ll spot them each day. It acts as a constant reminder of why you’ve chosen opioid recovery; and in time, it’ll help you point to your recovery achievements. In fact, a journal might be one great way to compile your goals and track how well you meet them. Not to mention that a journal can enable other things for your recovery: writing down and ordering your thoughts and feelings, listing the things which bring you daily gratitude, and all others. Whatever you put down in the journal might be a daily lift to your recovery: naming something might help you move beyond it.
9. Find New Hobbies
When you eliminate opioids from your daily life, you can spend your time on new hobbies. These new pursuits will help decrease the amount of free time you have (less time to desire opioid). Some healthy hobbies can include crafting, reading, painting or drawing, different community clubs, and volunteer work. New hobbies will give you new activity every day, along with new chances to learn what you enjoy.
What Now for Your Opioid Recovery
Whatever you choose from these nine steps, Buprenorphine Doctors can help you support your opioid recovery. Visit our resources to learn more about Suboxone doctors and opioid recovery clinics near you. Staying sober after opioid rehab is possible, and we are here to support you in your ongoing recovery.