How Can I Transition Back to School After Treatment?

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With the beginning of the school year making its annual return, those who have been navigating their recovery over the summer may be met with some new hurdles. Returning to one’s school can be a difficult transition. 

There can be several factors involved in reintegrating oneself into this sphere that can make this time incredibly stressful. This time may even create a great deal of anxiety for those being asked to balance their recovery goals alongside their academic responsibilities. However, there are ways to use school to one’s advantage in recovery. Acknowledging these hurdles and creating a plan to manage this transition is a testament to one’s dedication to their new, sober life. 

Expect Hurdles

The social dynamics that exist within a school atmosphere can be difficult to navigate, so it is important to be prepared for certain stresses during this transition. It is unfair to expect oneself to be able to cope with all of the change involved without proper preparation. The stress, anxiety, shame, and pressure that come along with this atmosphere can be challenging to process. 

The first step in making this transition is recognizing that there are obstacles that will need to be dealt with. Taking time to discuss one’s concerns, coping strategies, and escape plans is essential. 

This year in particular can be exceptionally difficult, as this may also be the first time that many classmates and friends are meeting each other for in-person classes. The prevalence of online learning due to the pandemic can complicate the transition to in-person classes. It is important to prepare to reintroduce oneself to classmates after such a long time with a new attitude and identity. 

Facing Former Friends

One of the most difficult hurdles of returning to school can be having to face friends, colleagues, and acquaintances again. There may be a number of stresses or questions about one’s transformation. Recovery is an incredible time of change. Not only has one ceased their use of addictive substances in treatment but they may have taken on some new hobbies or have new priorities, goals, and ambitions. This amount of change is something to be proud of. However, it is also something that needs to be maintained. 

Preparation is crucial to deny former friends if they are inviting a person to engage in addictive substances or destructive behaviors. Other peers may also have questions about one’s lifestyle changes. 

While acknowledging one’s past and how far they have come can be a great practice, They do not have to answer these questions if they are not ready to–nobody owes anyone else an explanation or justification of their changes. Rather, being prepared to cope with these situations can come in the form of denying the offering of addictive substances. Being ready to ignore or brush off comments on one’s changing activities can be helpful as well. 

Get Involved on Campus

Getting involved in extracurricular activities is a fantastic way to make the transition back into the educational sphere following treatment. Trying a new sport, pursuing new interests, or even taking a chance on a new after-school program can all be incredibly beneficial. 

Recovery is already a time of profound change, and embracing this notion can mean giving new clubs and activities a try. Not only can they open up an individual to different opportunities, but they also help to develop new relationships and create new communities that are not based on past behaviors.

Create an Escape Plan Early

Creating an escape plan for when one needs to remove themselves from a triggering situation can be essential for safeguarding one’s recovery. There may be topics or discussions that come up in class that may bring up past traumatic experiences or emotional triggers that can be difficult to deal with at the time. 

To protect oneself from these possible stressors, one can talk to a school counselor, professor, or instructor about needing to excuse oneself from the situation. These individuals will often work to come up with a reasonable solution if needed. Sharing information on one’s recovery may be difficult. Having a way to excuse oneself if needed in dangerous times can be an incredible safety net. 

Build Your Routine

Routine, consistency, and predictability are treasures throughout one’s continued recovery. However, building these plans can be difficult. Using one’s school schedule or classes as a base to build one’s day can help each person embrace a degree of consistency. This can also help to inform morning alarms, bedtimes, meals between classes, as well as scheduling time to study and complete assignments. 

This tentpole can be an invaluable resource for discovering how much one can cope with in a day. It can also demonstrate how much time one needs to dedicate to self-care and when they can schedule it for themselves. 

Pack Your Own Lunch

Nutrition is a crucial component of recovery. While there may be multiple options for meals available at school, packing one’s own lunch can be the best way to ensure that an individual is getting the proper nutrition. It is essential to get healthy meals in order to continue dealing with the stresses and trials of sobriety each and every day. 

Getting back to school can be a stressor in your journey to sobriety. However, it can also show how much change you have made on your recovery journey. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we understand the unique hurdles that can come with this time of year and are ready to help you find your best practices to continue your recovery and academic career. We are prepared to personalize your time with us, focusing on your needs and goals, all while backing each of your programs with a plethora of therapeutic opportunities. Art, music, yoga, meditation, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and more therapies are all available, and your time can be further customized to prepare for your unique needs ahead. Our home-like atmosphere is curated to make you feel comfortable, allowing you to focus wholly on yourself and your goals. For more information on how we can help you or a loved one, call (866) 388-6925 today.

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