Letting Go of the Past to Prevent Relapse

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Once you’ve gone through a detox period and initial therapy to stabilize your substance abuse problem, you may think the worst is over. And while that may be true, there’s still a long road ahead in recovery to help keep you from relapsing. Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but understand that detoxification is only the first step in creating a new, healthy life. Recovery is often painful because we have to give up old friends and old habits that can sabotage our success.

Move to a New Neighborhood

If you are returning to your old neighborhood, you may want to rethink that strategy. You already know who uses, who deals, and where you can get the very substances you used in the past. It’s just too easy to relapse on your old stomping grounds. As sad as it may be, it may be time to move to another location so that when your cravings hit, there is a layer of protection in not knowing who to go to or where to use again.

Moving may mean leaving behind some family and friends who support your recovery, but if you stay, the first time a craving hits, you will likely relapse. Moving to a new city where you have no drug contacts is critical to a successful recovery. Wherever you relocate, make sure you aren’t within driving distance of a known dealer and immediately find as many support groups and meetings as you can.

Let Go of Friends Who Aren’t in Recovery

You know you have to do it, but that doesn’t make it any easier. Some of your relationships may have started before you began using substances. Some are connections you made within the drug and alcohol abuse world. 

Once you are clean, you may see the latter in a whole different light. Maybe all you had in common was your love of drugs and alcohol. You may have shared some good times together and it’s easy to focus only on the good and forget the bad–forget about the terrible things you had to do to get money for drugs or alcohol, the way you used friends and family, the risks you took, and maybe you even had to spend some time in jail.

Some friendships may have formed before your drug or alcohol abuse and you either pulled them in or the other way around. If they are not clean right now, you have to cut off ties with them to maintain your sobriety. You can explain to them that they are still your friend, but until they agree to get some help, you won’t enable their behavior or allow them to make you relapse.

Let Go of Romantic Partners Who Are Still Using

If letting go of friends seems tough, try letting go of romantic partners. Can’t you go back to that nice inpatient rehab where everyone was in recovery and therapy? Yes, that would be a lot easier but that’s not reality, is it? 

If you have a partner who isn’t in recovery and is still using, this is one of the hardest decisions you have to make. Maybe you’re scared for them. Maybe you still want to be part of their life and protect them. But the best way to help them and help yourself is to firmly insist they go into treatment now–you don’t want to enable them and “love them to death.” And you certainly don’t want to relapse. Let them know that the two of you can decide if and how your relationship continues once you both are clean.

Repairing and Forming Healthy Relationships With Family

You may be one of the lucky ones whose family has been supportive all through your substance abuse problem and subsequent detoxification and recovery. On the other hand, you may have burned bridges within your family through theft, asking for money, or criminal behavior in the past. Either way, this is an important obstacle in your sobriety. When you seek a new place to live that doesn’t have the drug connections from your past, you may have to move away from supportive family and friends as well. Keeping your connections with those who help you stay sober is crucial and you can do it through phone calls, emails, and visits.

If some of your family is still angry, a little distance can give them a cooling-off period and allow you to show them how much you’ve changed. Tough as it may be, a little distance can be a good thing. Some relationships need time and distance to heal.

Stepping back into your life after rehab can be one of the most challenging tasks you’ll ever face. No medication can help you transition back into life like there is during detoxification. Your integration back into reality is usually a matter of letting go of the things that used to be important in your life–friends, lovers, and dealers who used to be in your social circle. You may feel like an outcast of society and they were a crutch that you leaned on. Now you have to learn to lean on yourself. At Everlast Recovery Center, we understand the challenges after you go through detoxification and inpatient services. We provide rehab in a home-like atmosphere with homestyle meals but eventually, you’ll have to go back to your previous life. We provide support after your inpatient stay through aftercare. Our center in Riverside, California, assists those with substance abuse to mental illness. Let us help you get your life back. Call 866-DETOX-25

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