A Guide To Life In IOP Rehab
Outpatient rehab programs are immensely appealing for a number of reasons—they enable you to remain in a home environment, they can be more economical than inpatient rehab, they give you the ability to continue working, attend school, or take care of your family, and they allow you to stay close to your loved ones during drug and/or alcohol rehabilitation.
But, as the old adage goes, if there’s anything constant in life, it’s change. Meaning, while you may be focused on your recovery, the rest of the world will be going at its own pace—and facing the usual changes that come with living.
To avoid being swept away by the feeling of chaos that can arrive with change—from getting sober, and from the people around you—consider these coping tactics. They will enable you to develop the skills you need to meet challenges head-on in and out of outpatient rehab.
Focus on the Present
Change can provoke a lot of questions, some of them uncomfortable, others daunting. Playing a game of what if and what will happen might increase your risk of picking up again, largely because the uncertainty of the future tends to be stressful. At the same time, the past may pull you back into its clutches—especially if you spend a substantial amount of time fixating on the mistakes you made while using. The only thing you have control over is your response to the present moment.
If you feel challenged by change, whether it comes from not having a glass of wine after work or disabling your Facebook page to avoid the temptation of engaging with friends who encourage addictive behavior, try immersing yourself in what’s going on right here, right now. This can be found in paying closer attention to sensory details (the sound of birds outside your window, for example, or truly tasting your cup of coffee), taking a series of deep breaths to clear your mind, or grounding yourself in meditation or physical activity.
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Develop Your Self-Worth
Self-confidence isn’t about having a certain swagger or a bloated ego. Rather, genuine self-confidence is possessing a strong foundation—one that will reinforce your resilience and determination and empower you to handle life’s changes. To foster a stronger sense of self-worth, surround yourself with people who not only support your sobriety but also inspire you to try fun, healthy alternatives to using after rehab.
A number of people with alcohol addiction or opiate addiction find like-minded, sober friends at the gym, in yoga classes, on hiking trails, and in support groups. Strengthen your spirit by strengthening your body, whether that means adopting an organic, plant-based diet or swimming. Set small goals and work towards the achieving them—the feeling of competence you’ll gain will boost your overall confidence. And congratulate yourself for what you’re currently doing. Going through an outpatient rehab program requires no small amount of inner heroism, and this should not be forgotten or underestimated.
It’s one thing when loved ones and stranger give you unsolicited advice on life, love, and recovery, which often includes clichés that can feel trite, even inauthentic. But reading about hope, courage, and change is another experience entirely when you’re the one who’s doing the seeking. Look for memes that support alcohol and/or drug recovery. Read one of Anne Lamott’s hilarious and heartwarming books on her struggles and successes in sobriety. Copy down quotes that resonate. The point is, you might feel a bit corny reciting clichés that could seem pedestrian to others—even to yourself—but these sayings have become clichés for a reason. Whether it’s a reminder to take one day at a time, reading a passage from a moving essay, or reciting the serenity prayer, know that comfort can be found in words.
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