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Helpful Strategies for Life After Rehab
odd as it may sound, entering rehab may be the easiest part of the
rehabilitation process. Exiting rehab can be the hardest because that is when
the supports and safe/controlled environment is behind you and you are at risk
of re-entering the very environment that enabled your habit.
friends, old hang-outs and old ways of doing things tend to be comfortable, even
if unhealthy. New and uncharted territory in the absence of external control can
be scary and lonely Ė a similar set of emotions that may have contributed to
your issues in the first place.
you are exiting rehab, some of the strategies to help manage include;
activities to engage in. This is the time to consider a new interest or
getting back to something that was previously enjoyed yet not a part of the
scene that was associated with your drug use. Keeping busy in a pleasurable
activity, be it a sport, music, art or hobby helps you feel good about
developing the skills associated with the activity and gives you something
to engage in to take the place of the activity associated with drug use.
to school. It is not uncommon for a persons education to slide during the
period of drug use. It is also not uncommon for people to feel embarrassed
about a return to their former educational facility if there was previously
a decline in attendance or absence. If the thought of returning to the same
educational facility feels difficult it is reasonable to consider another
facility. You may also find that you need some degree of support to enable
your academic participation. It may be extra help with your studies or
special consideration to accommodate a learning issue. Please know that most
educational facilities, be they high school, college or university have
services available to support student success. Do look into the services
available at your facility and take full advantage of any help that may be
offered. The objective is your success.
volunteering. Volunteering opens up a whole new range of activities to
engage in. It is usually the case that those who volunteer are also well
appreciated for their support to the organization or people served by your
time. Volunteering can lead to new skill development and a good sense of
self for giving back to the needs of other organizations or people.
amends. Where there has been issues with family member and where possible,
seek to make amends. Old wounds can hang over your head and fester and
contribute to issues that undermined well being in the first place, making
drug use a desirable alternative. To the degree you can take responsibility
for yourself and make amends, it opens the door to those around you doing
similarly. This repairs relationships which in turn can contribute to your
emotional well being and support.
the drug buddies and associated activities. A return to the familiar friends
and activities is only a step away from a return to drugs. We all want to
fit in and if drugs were a part of your group culture, you will not fully
fit within the group fully sober. There will be a pressure, directly or
indirectly or self-perceived to use drugs to feel part of your old community
of friends. Donít trick yourself into thinking you can handle it or that
your return may be of benefit to someone else there. If you want to be a
benefit to a former friend from your previous group, then lead by example
and let them find you after their course of rehab. You will then be
available to see them, on the other side so to speak, and not within the
support. With the supports and controls of rehab behind you, you may also
consider the wisdom of a support group and even a sponsor.
clean thinking and taking a better path is challenging work. Life will feel odd
and awkward until such time as you settle in to new ways of doing things with
new people in new activities. Once the new becomes familiar, you distance
yourself from your ways of doing things that were associated with drug use.
you think any of the above strategies are inappropriate or simply not for you,
you may want to consider your readiness to re-enter the world. Rehab is more
than reduction or abstinence of substance use/abuse. It is about creating a new
and more wholesome life and attitude.
you use the strategies above, you just may be more ready than you realize and
you increase your chances of success for a healthier life with healthier
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an
expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development,
parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the
TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead and the parenting columnist for the
Hamilton Spectator. His book, Marriage Rescue is due out in spring 2013. Gary
maintains a private practice in Dundas Ontario, providing a range of services
for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North
Direnfeld, MSW, RSW
Gary Direnfeld is a social worker in private practice. Courts in Ontario,
Canada, consider Gary an expert on child development, parent-child
relations, marital and family therapy, custody and access recommendations,
social work and an expert for the purpose of giving a critique on a
Section 112 (social work) report.
Gary for your next conference and for expert opinion on family matters.
Services include counselling, mediation, assessment, assessment critiques
information on Direnfeld's book, Raising Kids Without Raising Cane,
complaints and reivews