Wish List for What You Should Do After Treatment
By Lyndon J. Aguiar, PhD
As I look at the trends of folks who do well or not do well after they leave treatment, I am struck by the obvious differences in the paths taken. For optimal success after residential treatment for addiction, people in recovery must often make radical changes in their habits, relationships, environment and life in general. Think about what helped you most in treatment. It is often the readiness and willingness to change; the improved communication via openness and honesty; the structure and routines of the treatment day; the encouragement and support; the changes in thoughts, beliefs, and movement towards your true values; the beginning of hope. How can you continue this trend after leaving treatment?
Wish List for Recovery:
- Follow through on your scheduled aftercare appointments – with your counselor/therapist, psychiatrist or family doctor. Be honest with what has really gone on with you.
- Identify and practice new hobbies, interests, outlets, and activities. It’s important to activate new neural pathways. Consider music, art, social events, educational classes, etc.
- Avoid isolation by attending meetings, developing new supports, exploring spiritual outlets.
- Remain active. Go to the gym, walk daily, practice yoga, swim, hike, play golf, shoot hoops, etc.
- Pay attention to your emotions and what your body is telling you. Practice stress management. Let out your emotions in healthy way (talk to a friend, journal, cry)
- Continue to be open to self-discovery and be mindful of all-or-nothing thinking. Work on self-compassion and forgiveness.
- Continue to maintain communication with recovery supports, healthy relationships and family members.
- Continue to identify your strengths and discover new ones by getting out of your comfort zone in reasonable ways.
- Ask for help whenever you feel overwhelmed, lost, helpless, and apathetic.
- Show gratitude and appreciation often. Help others, but balance it with self-care.
Follow the above, and your chances for long-term success are very high!