Starting a new life after recovering from an addiction problem is as exciting as it is challenging. Personally, I found the first few months after I completed drug rehab at Narconon Fresh Start to be some of the brightest yet difficult months of my life. I knew how to stay clean and sober; the issue was making the right choices each day to continue down the right path. I knew if I drove over to the other side of town I would find my old using friends. I knew if I went into the restaurant I used to work at I would run into my dealers or using buddies. It was a conscious effort to steer clear of those places while I was still somewhat “vulnerable” to falling back into my old ways.
I reconnected with non-using friends I hadn’t seen in a while and made new friends while at college. While I didn’t advertise that I was a recovered addict, I made it clear to new acquaintances when it was necessary that I didn’t condone substance use and had struggled with it in my past. By doing this the would-be friends weeded themselves out of my life if they didn’t want to hang-out with a sober person and those who were interested in living a healthy, clean lifestyle stuck around.
It can be intimidating to begin a relationship with someone after completing drug rehabilitation. You may wonder if you need to share the details of your past of if you should keep them to yourself. It’s a personal choice which way to handle it. As a recovered addict who stated a relationship a few months after rehab I felt that I needed to share with my boyfriend at the time. He was grateful and commented that if I hadn’t talked to him about my past it would have felt like I was hiding something about myself or even lying to him about who I was. Years later we married and started a family; I’m glad that I told him about my past because he has been my rock over the ups and downs in life and supported me when I felt weak or tempted.
One of the biggest things about starting again after rehab is creating a new schedule for your day to day life. I found that while at Narconon Fresh Start I thrived on knowing what was going to be happening in the morning, what was for lunch that day, when I had free time and what was scheduled in the evening. While I didn’t plan out every minute of the day when I returned home, the first few months were very regimented. I made sure to make plans with friends in advance so that I had something to look forward to. I incorporated exercise into my daily routine and kept busy at home when I had free time by cleaning or reading. I know it might sound crazy, but I found that when I was feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, etc. cleaning made me feel better. I believe this is because it is an activity that improves my condition, creates positive changes I can see immediately and feels good once complete. These are a few of the ways that I successfully started over after rehab. Feel free to share with us your positive and healthy tips and techniques to help others stay sober = )