Managing Change When You Are In RecoveryEverything changes. Change is one of the few things in life that can be guaranteed. It is also one of the things in life that can cause the most stress. For those in recovery, especially for those new to recovery, change can be overwhelming. One of the things that you learned while in an addiction recovery center was how to face the challenges that come when you are no longer in the center and on your own. Your substance abuse counselor has probably given you countless tips on how to manage a crisis when you are on your own, but stress can make you forget or just panic. If you are facing problems in dealing with the changes that are occurring now that you are in recovery, you may find that the following tips can help you overcome this stress and resist the urge to relapse.
Resistance Is FutileResisting is the most stressful way to deal with change. Resisting change can lead to negative feelings. It can bring about depressing thoughts and cause you to feel resentment against the person or event that brought about the change. In the end, the change will still happen, so it is important to find a way to cope with these changes without reverting to old habits. – Give the Change A Chance: You may be surprised, but most things often change for the better. You may like the new things that the changes have brought. If you give change a chance, you may be pleasantly surprised. – Avoid Nostalgia: Yes, we always think that things were better in the “good old days.” But things are also great now. Since you have left a residential inpatient rehabilitation center , you have a fresh start on your new life in recovery. That is a change that has made you happy and much better than in the past. – Plan for Change: Are you feeling stressed out about a change that you know is coming? Making plans and preparing for that change can give you the control you need to overcome the situation. For example, if you know you are moving, take time to pack and prepare for your move. When you prepare for any type of change, that change comes about much easier. – Phase in the Change: If you know a specific type of change is coming, you may be able to adjust to the change in little steps. This can help you cope with the changes much easier, especially if it is a major life change.
When Things Still Feel HardIf the changes taking place in your life are still overwhelming, it is important that you take a few extra steps to help you manage these changes. The first and most important step is to talk to someone about how you feel. As you probably discovered in rehab, many people turn to substance abuse because they do not want to talk about what is bothering them and the substance allowed them to deal with these issues in their lives. By opening up and talking with someone or many people for that matter, about the stress the change is causing you, you may find the perfect solution to the problem. Part of SMART Recovery is learning how to accept things we cannot change. You learn how to build a support system so that you have the support you need to cope when these changes occur. What is wonderful about this process, turning to your support system for help, is that it builds relationships. It is a way of strengthening your bond with your family and your friends. By sharing your concerns and your fears about these changes with them, you are allowing them to be a positive influence on your life. You are including them in something very personal, and it will make them feel good about you and themselves. In the end, whether you are new to recovery or someone that has never faced an addiction, change is hard. Everyone would feel relief if things could stay the same, and we always knew what to expect. But at the same time, if nothing ever changed, how would we ever experience and enjoy new things?
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