Overcoming alcoholism isn’t easy. To many people, drinking is a pastime, and booze is a constant presence in their lives. Hence, becoming sober is something not a lot of people may understand unless they were former alcoholics themselves.
For that reason, your life after completing an alcohol detox treatment will have many ups and downs. You’ll face many temptations, especially during this period when holiday parties are rampant. You may also face judgment from people who had been affected by your alcoholism. But there will be moments of joy, too. Leaving rehab means you can finally reunite with your loved ones. You can also get your life back together and start taking the right path this time around.
But the path ahead may be rocky. It would be hard to find your way if you don’t have a sense of direction. To gain that, set small, achievable goals. It will help you keep track of your progress and make your ultimate goal clear, which is to stay sober for good.
Here are some goals to set just in time for the new year:
- Maintain Sobriety
To leave rehab is to expose yourself to your triggers. If you’re not firm on maintaining your sobriety, you may crumble easily and give in. To ensure that you’d stay sober, know your triggers first and foremost.
Triggers are different for each recovering alcoholic. But alcoholic beverages are always one of them. So avoid places and people who might expose you to booze. Continue your follow-up treatment if it’s recommended by your therapist. Outpatient treatments usually are a part of a rehab program.
Your follow-up treatment will help you put everything you’ve learned in rehab into practice. You’ll learn healthy coping skills, such as avoiding alcohol, developing an alcohol- or drug-free lifestyle, and creating healthy relationships. You may also learn better ways to manage your money, stress, and mental health.
So keep up with your follow-up treatment, and if you’re not getting it, don’t hesitate to consult your therapist. They’ll be more than happy to help you. Your loved ones will also appreciate your eagerness to maintain your sobriety.
- Manage Your Mental Health
You don’t need to be in a doctor’s office to address your mental health issues. You can do it anywhere and anytime. Managing your mental health will allow you to respond healthily to your triggers. It’ll also teach you how to manage your anger and stress.
Co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are common among alcoholics, especially those aged 18 to 25. But mental illness doesn’t choose an age. Just because you’re considered less likely to be depressed or anxious doesn’t mean you should forego therapy or counseling.
Stay in touch with your counselor, even when you’re not experiencing poor mental health symptoms. Keeping your counselor updated with your life will allow them to help you if they notice some unhealthy patterns in your behavior, for example. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness, take the medications prescribed for you, and surround yourself with supportive people. Poor mental health can tempt you to relapse, so don’t allow yourself to hit rock bottom.
- Create New Routines
A routine will add structure to your life. It helps in creating a sense of stability and balance. But of course, your routine shouldn’t involve anything that will expose you to your triggers. For example, avoid going to the places you used to hang out in when you were still drinking. Instead, find a new fun place, like a museum, a park, or anywhere without parties, booze, or drinkers.
Include physical activity and mental health activities in your day. To ensure that you stay far from your triggers, you may need to change your routes from work to home or from the rehab facility and back. Consider moving out of the town where your alcoholism began. Living in a new place motivates you more in changing your routines.
- Find a New Job
Finding a new job can be challenging for former alcoholics. The stigma they face can derail their job-hunting journey. Seek help from organizations like America in Recovery, National H.I.R.E. Network, and Springwire Voice Mail Service. They’ll bring you closer to employers willing to hire recovering addicts and alcoholics.
- Build Independence
Strive to build independence when you’ve achieved everything above. But ensure that you’re capable of resisting relapse temptations on your own. Find a new, sober hobby, build healthy relationships, and work on something you love with a passion. When you’ve filled your life with those things, you can build independence and make your loved ones — and most of all, yourself — proud.
With these ideas, you can look forward to a year that’s rewarding and unforgettable.