If you’re working with a therapist, rehab center, or recovery group, they have undoubtedly given you coping mechanisms, worksheets on boundaries, and literature about healthy choices. These are the resources we must turn to when trying to remap the internal GPS system that dictates our behaviors. But it’s not just about reading the literature or sitting in a room with other addicts. It’s about following through with the words on the paper. The challenge isn’t simply listening. It’s following through by changing the behaviors that lead us to treatment in the first place.
How to Follow Through
Following through starts with accountability. Having a strong support network is key to getting clean and staying that way. Bringing your family/roommates, friends, and other people you hang with into your recovery is a great way to stay accountable. Sometimes this isn’t possible, and that’s okay. Schedule regular follow-ups with a therapist or counselor, attend group meetings and find sober/clean activity groups in your area to bring new people into your life. If you take the time to set up check-ins with your champions and communicate your needs, your future self will be set up for success when a difficult moment arrives. Next, look at your surroundings. Maybe home and group are two safe places for you, but where else are you spending your time? Are you hanging out with new groups of friends that are focused, motivated, and driven? Or are you falling back into groups where you used to use or drink? Cultivating your environment is a solid way to ensure you follow through with your recovery. We undoubtedly take on the behaviors of the people we are around most. Even if we feel we are strong and won’t use/drink again, why put yourself in a precarious situation with potential consequences? When we make the choice to get clean and sober, it’s time to go all in. Lastly, practice makes perfect. The more time you take to process your feelings and, in turn, make good choices, the easier the process becomes. Think about the steps you had to take to make it this far in life. You had to learn a language, drive a car, learn a job, learn subjects in school, and so much more. Those skillsets didn’t happen overnight without error. In a more basic sense, you had to crawl, before you could stand before you could walk. We stumble, fall, but eventually, with a lot of practice, we learn to run. The same holds true for addiction. We may stumble and fall, but if we have the right supports in place, if we have the right environment and the right people to pick us back up and cheer us on, getting back up becomes easy. And eventually, we aren’t afraid of scraping our knees any longer. Eventually, we become our own champion of health, wellness, and joy.
The Road to Successful Life-Long Recovery
Have you ever been so close to a fire that your body literally forces you to take a step back? When we are too close, the intense heat and bright glow can become overpowering. We have a very real chance of getting burned. If we keep stepping back, if we keep walking away from the fire, we feel it less intensely, and eventually, we won’t feel it at all. We may see the smoke off in the distance as a reminder, but the heat and bright light are gone. Every time we choose sobriety, we take a step away from the fire. The more steps we take, the less the fire affects us. Over time, we don’t have to fear the fire because all we see is the smoke in the distance. Walking away from the fire isn’t easy. It’s warm, it’s comforting, and it feels life-giving. The same can be true for addiction. It’s what we know, and for a short time, it can make us feel better. But we also know the truth of the fire, the truth of addiction. Ultimately, we are always one step away from getting burned. With that said, it’s okay to mess up. It’s okay to make a mistake. But if we consistently work hard to keep our addiction in check, following through with the steps in our recovery plan, saying no and walking away from the fire become second nature.
Sometimes we fall and can’t get back up on our own, and that’s okay! If you or an adolescent you know has relapsed, call Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center today at (662) 478-9463. Our staff can help you detox and create a network of support to ensure you stay on the right path. Call now to learn about your options and get clean, once and for all.