There are many support options available after treatment and recovery from an addiction. There is never a full recovery from being addicted to a substance; relapses often occur and some revert back into the habit of abusing. Support after addiction should center on preventing a relapse. Even if a relapse occurs, if a recovering addict has support he or she may not fall back into the pattern of abuse.
Support options for recovering addicts include their social network of family and friends, participating in a support group such as one of the many 12 steps programs on an outpatient basis, staying occupied with new hobbies, accountability reporting, and counseling. It is important that the social network a recovering addict builds consists of sober people who are committed to helping the recovering addict even if a relapse occurs. Recovering addicts may want to consider moving into a sober living community. These are communities of people who are all recovering addicts who have made the commitment to remain sober and to support others who are struggling with this.
In addition to these support options, recovering addicts can achieve lifelong recovery by being aware of the signs of a possible relapse. Some signs that a relapse may occur are obsessive talking or behavior towards the substance, disinterest in family and family, disinterest in hobbies, and hanging out with old friends and pursuing former past times. Another way of preventing relapse is to regularly attend a substance abuse support group.
Going to support group meetings should be a priority of all former addicts. Participating in these meetings has been shown to highly correlate with successful lifelong recovery. Trying to go through the process of returning to regular life alone, without any support from the people who know what it is like, is a daunting task for anyone. Real life is stressful and it is vital for recovering addicts to learn how to deal with the stress of everyday life in constructive ways.
There are several strategies recovering addicts, and anyone else for that matter, can take to quickly and effectively relieve stress. Any exercise related activity can help relieve stress because exercise releases endorphins. Many also find meditating or receiving a massage an effective way of dealing with stress. Other common stress busters include playing with pets, listening to music, taking a hot bath or shower, picturing peaceful scenery, and talking to family or looking at family photos.
Learning ways of dealing with life without going back to using is at the very heart of the recovery process. In general, people do not start using without some reason. That reason could be to overcome painful memories, calm down after a stressful day at work, or even just to forget about the various problem situations that arise in life. These issues are still there after recovery, but if a recovering addict seeks support to handle the rigors of life, then he or she will be in a much better position to handle stress without abusing drugs.