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Life After Treatment

Adjusting to a New Normal

Honesty is a tangible skill that you can directly nurture and develop. Its most notable attribute involves taking full responsibility for one’s actions. The ability to be honest with yourself is the hallmark to a purposeful recovery. This includes the realization that once you leave a drug rehab or alcohol treatment centre, you may be bombarded with the same urges and temptations that led to treatment in the first place.

Whether it be the people who populated your past or the places you frequented that consequently led you toward recovery, recognizing any and all triggers is of utmost importance. A detailed plan is of great significance here. Some of the best plans are those that remain flexible, lack rigidity, but are laden with intention and meaning. A plan tailored to your individuality is paramount.

post addiction treatment

Life In Treatment

Life within a residential treatment centre can resemble a dormitory. A place where you are surrounded by peers with similar goals and desired outcomes, in conjunction with professionals whose primary job is to help you heal. It is an exceedingly nurturing environment where focus is concentrated on personal success.

It seems almost easy here, considering everyone plays on the same team. There is a tangible comradery that is often difficult to replicate. The community that organically takes shape here is special. The sometimes underrated ‘sense of belonging’ is important to manage and prepare for. Returning home may reveal individuals in your life that have no stake in your recovery, and just want their old “drinking buddy” back.  

life after addiction treatment

Life After Addiction Treatment

When I contemplate all the amazing people that pass through the Sunshine Coast Health Centre, I often think, ‘We get the best out of the guys here, we get to experience a side of them that their families wished they could have again – the unadulterated version of the person they have always loved’. I am grateful that I can be a part of that, but I am tentative when thinking what their future holds outside of the centre.

The transition from living in a residential treatment centre to resuming life back at home can be a delicate process, laden with obstacles. It’s the first real test of everything that has been learned. There may be mixed feelings that follow. This is where the Sunshine Coast Health Centre excels. The centre continues to provide support and resources for post-treatment care, even after one leaves. Connections are active and maintained.

life after drug and alcohol rehabilitation
Screenshot of the Alumni Portal on the SCHC website

Staying Connected: the Alumni Portal

When clients leave, they are sent off with as many tools as reasonably offered in the time that they are with us. There is always a link preserved between clients who have left the centre, primarily through the Alumni Services. They are paired with a coach in the area where they reside, but can also meet with any of our available coaches virtually.

There is also a 24-hour phone line that clients are given. They are encouraged to call or text at any time for support or just to check in. A dedicated alumni portal on our website gives access to information about coaching sessions, meetings, forums, and other important resources. It is an indispensable lifeline.

Alumni are also encouraged to “revisit” the centre to reconnect with staff and current clients during an alumni refresher weekend, with complimentary accommodation at SCHC provided. We only ask that alumni remain sober for a minimum of 3 months prior to their visit. Clients that pass through here are always remembered; it is an ongoing mutual relationship. We not only want them to succeed while they’re here, we want them to thrive always.

What People Expect From You When You Go Home

There may be many expectations from family and friends once you arrive home.  Many of them may be unrealistic. Everyone has their own idea as to what drug rehab and alcohol treatment centres are able to do. They may even have preconceived notions of how someone is supposed to act when returning home. Some see it as a place where one goes to get “cured”. Those expectations are difficult to grapple with. Disappointment may ensue when loved ones and friends realize that that’s not the case. These are important discussions to have before leaving treatment. 

The last thing anyone wants is to revert back to living old patterns when the inevitable stresses of everyday life come caving in. Again, this is where honesty plays a central role in the adjustment period between parties. Over-communication instills confidence in the maintenance phase of sobriety.

There is a considerable amount of shame that often accompanies someone’s return. Recognizing deep rooted shame can be a powerful determinant in whether reintegration back to home life is viable. Trauma and shame are a concurrent theme when getting past harmful behaviours. These are central concepts that clients are actively encouraged to communicate.

In order to address the consequences that have ensued (ie. alcohol and/or drug use disorders), the underlying matters at play must be acknowledged. With the correct mindset, you will begin to realize that there is nothing you can do to control how others treat you. Calculating for the worst can ease the undesirable coping mechanisms from arising.

family and friends after drug and alcohol rehabilitation

What to Expect From a Loved One Returning From Rehabilitation

For families and friends, it is prudent to acknowledge the strides that your loved one has made by going to treatment. The person that left will most likely be different than the one that returned, but not that different. For everyone involved, living life post treatment may entail a tightrope walk all must now navigate. It’s easy to become frustrated as a family member or friend observing.

Continuing to make life conducive to a newfound mentality induces a shedding of former biases. On the other hand, you may have a considerable amount of baggage that was not completely addressed while they were gone. They may have returned with newly acquired knowledge and therapy, but you may have been left “holding down the fort” and not quite knowing what to expect. The one that stayed behind has their own set of issues to acknowledge. 

There is an ample amount of healing that needs to happen. We offer free-of-charge family services with a registered counsellor to all family and close friends of our current and past clients. To find out how to access these family services, check out our Family Services webpage or call us at 1.866.487.9010.

Honesty and Communication 

We come back and end on the subject of honesty again. Strong communication and unabated honesty will be the knot you tie together. The more you do it, the tighter and stronger the knot. When the addiction was ruling your lives, both of you may have checked out and gone through the motions, ignored harmful issues, and blown up in anger when it became too much. Those coping mechanisms must be re-written. That is only something that you can do together. There is no silver bullet. 

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