Breaking free of addiction, many former addicts will tell you, is like struggling free from the jaws of a terrible beast. It is not an easy accomplishment. The teeth and claws of the monster dig themselves down into the deepest parts of your life — your mind and your soul.
Unfortunately, we never come out unscathed. The wounds that we inflicted in the battle with addiction, we carry along with us when we climb out of its lair and set foot on the path of sobriety.
The wounds of addiction heal over time. With the help of support groups, family and other loved ones, they act as easing balms over our pain. But it is possible for these wounds to open again if we are not careful, and the scent of blood will attract that old beast.
This is known as a “relapse.”
Recent studies suggest that 40 to 60 percent of people who seek help with an addiction end up relapsing. After five years of sobriety, that number falls to around 15 percent. These odds seem dismal, but they are not a death sentence. As long as you are still sober, you can utilize practices and make lifestyle changes in order to prevent relapse. You choose your own path.
Your recovery from addiction does not end after you leave the addiction treatment center. Maintaining an addiction-free lifestyle is a lifelong process. In your daily life, you will face temptations to return to your addiction, and following the road of sobriety means resisting those temptations, no matter how difficult it may be.
Support groups can play an important role in remaining sober after you leave rehab. While therapy is an important part of understanding the roots of your addiction and conquering it, following up with support groups can continue on the lessons you learned during therapy. These communities will aid against the sense of loneliness that many people feel when they’re stuck in a life full of drugs and alcohol.
For many recovering addicts, finding a support group is the most important step many have taken toward remaining sober. Isolation can be extremely damaging and has strong effects on addiction, but being in a support group will reduce that isolation. However, it is possible to still be isolated even while you are within a group! This is why it is important that you find the right one, to fit your post-rehab needs.
Your recovery from addiction doesn’t end after you leave rehab, but is a lifelong journey. The best addiction treatment center will give you support at every step of this healing journey.
Many addiction treatment programs offer a range of post-rehab programs and resources, designed to guide the patient through the challenges that occur early on during recovery, as well as preparing for life away from the rehab center.