Congratulations! If you or a loved one has just completed a treatment program for a mental health or substance abuse issue – well done. We truly believe that you have successfully completed the first step towards a new, happy and healthy life free from alcohol and drugs.
However, even though you or your loved one has completed their program, the early recovery stage is the next challenge. Early recovery (classified as the first 90 days without your drug or alcohol habit) is the second and most challenging stage of addiction recovery. But there are simple steps that can help you overcome this new challenge, such as structuring your day and living a healthy, active lifestyle.
The transition can be particularly difficult, as during primary treatment, your sole focus was on yourself, your therapy and your peers. However, once primary treatment is completed and you enter early recovery, there are other factors to juggle. You will be returning to work, figuring out relationships, communicating with your family and coping with other obligations. These responsibilities (and the related stress and anxiety) can unfortunately be common triggers for drug and alcohol relapse.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can set yourself up for a successful and healthy early recovery period free from relapse. It will require some hard work and changes to your schedule, routines, thinking patterns and social life. But with the right aftercare treatment program, you’ll be taking proactive steps to ensure your success.
Here are some tips for how you can continue on your path to a fulfilling and healthy life.
Structure your time wisely
If you completed a residential recovery program, you’ve probably become used to having your days planned for you. This means you had limited input into the structure of your day. When you head back into the ‘real world’, having this responsibility put back on to you can often be quite daunting.
It’s essential to plan your time during early recovery so you can keep yourself on track and avoid an idle mind. Map out your days at the beginning of the week. Factor in your wake up time, when you’re going to eat, when you’re going to be working, when you’re going to exercise, your therapy sessions, spending time with family and friends and meditating and sleeping.
Having a clear schedule takes the burden of stress off your brain, and will allow you to put your energy into your recovery.
Set realistic goals for yourself
Setting realistic goals is very important during early recovery, as it will keep you focussed and determined to work towards these precious milestones. At Palladium Private, we work with our clients during their follow-up counselling sessions to decide what goals they’d like to achieve, writing them down and figuring out tangible steps to ensure they’re reached.
To choose your goals, find out what makes you happy and complete. It might be a career goal, a fitness and health goal or a smaller goal like organising your living place. Visualise the life you would like to have and take steps towards it. Your goals should be specific and measurable, so you can be sure when you’ve reached them.
Also be sure to set realistic goals. Small and attainable goals are a great place to start to boost your confidence. You could start by writing down some goals on sticky post-it notes and positioning them around your house so you can see them everyday (maybe on your mirror or in your kitchen above the sink).
Take proper care of your body and mind
In the early recovery stage, it’s vital that you’re doing everything you can to look after your body and mind. This gives you the best possible chance of success. We focus on yoga and mindfulness in our Palladium Private residential programs, as they are amazing ways of clearing your mind and reducing anxiety and stress. Remember to take some time out each day to look inside yourself and see how you’re feeling. You’ll likely come out with a more focused, happy and clear mindset.
You’re much more inclined to have a positive attitude after a night of restful sleep, so be sure to get between seven and eight hours a night. It can be tempting to replace old bad habits with new bad habits during early recovery, such as eating a poor diet. However, diet has a significant impact on our mood, so be sure to be eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Don’t forget to stay hydrated as well.
Make sure you have the right support
It’s important to remember that although early recovery is challenging, you don’t have to go it alone. A quality aftercare program should include good continuing care options, so that you can ease back into regular life receiving the aftercare treatment and specialist support that you need.
Our Palladium Private aftercare program makes sure you’re taken care of by offering qualified psychologist sessions for up to three months after you’ve left our retreat, as well as a comprehensive online aftercare program that will ensure your new healthy habits stick. Our online program includes mindfulness podcasts, yoga sessions, gym sessions, recipes and resources for your support team to ensure you stay on track.
Contact Palladium Private today for a free evaluation and to learn how we can help.