Sober Living – Activities For Recovery And Independence

For clients who have spent time at a drug and alcohol inpatient treatment facility, going directly home may not be the best choice. To go directly from having a high level of support to being completely independent could put a newly-sober person at risk for a relapse. A much better choice for sober recovery is to take the process slowly and continue to get support from trained counselors on an outpatient basis for a time after leaving the facility.

At first, it may appear as though the person in recovery is spending time just having fun, since the sober social activity list includes a number of enjoyable outings. People in recovery need to keep their days full so that they don’t have any “down” time. If they get bored or have a lot of time to themselves, they may be tempted to start drinking or using drugs or alcohol.

Moving on After Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

A client who decides to move into a sober living house who is also unemployed may need assistance to find work. This is part of moving on after treatment and starting to live a normal life once again. A client can stay at a house and get ongoing support indefinitely, but the ultimate goal is to have the person move into his or her own living space eventually.

Recreation Part of Recovery Process

When clients are in treatment at residential recovery programs, they participate in recreational programs. Part of getting well includes learning how to be healthy, which means looking after all aspects of one’s health. Some clients may not be used to exercising regularly, and some of the activities on the sober activities list can include physical activity.

Other examples of sober living activities include the following:

  • Going to the movies
  • Visiting a museum
  • Going to dinner
  • Shopping
  • Going for a drive
  • Having a game night
  • Going to a concert

An addict actively involved in the cycle of using drugs and/or alcohol may well have forgotten how to have fun. Sharing enjoyable activities with other people can help to form connections with others, heal broken relationships, and create new friendships. Clients who have recently left a drug and alcohol treatment facility may be feeling a little unsure of themselves and participating in sober activities with others is a way for them to begin learning how to interact with others in a healthy way.

It may look as though these clients are just having fun, but getting out and socializing is an integral part in their recovery and staying sober. The alternative is for them to sit alone, get bored, and be tempted to start using again, which results in the familiar spiral downward.

There Is No Room For Blame In Treating Dual Diagnosis Clients

Dual diagnosis clients are hit with a double whammy when it comes to needing help. On the one hand, they are living with a mental health issue, and on the other, they need treatment for substance abuse issues. It can be difficult to determine whether a person started using drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and cope with an underlying mental illness or whether drug abuse may have triggered changes in brain chemistry that led to a mental health issue. No matter how the situation developed, trying to lay blame on a loved one who has two serious issues does nothing to deal with the problem and may discourage him or her from getting the specialized dual diagnosis treatment he or she needs.

Both Conditions Require Treatment

Friends and family members may have lost patience with a loved one who has a complicated health situation like a dual diagnosis. More than likely, they have been through many situations involving anger, frustration, shame, embarrassment, guilt, and other strong emotions over months or years. By educating themselves about mental health and addiction, they will understand the situation more clearly and realize the addiction and the mental health issue must be evaluated and treated separately if their loved one is going to get well.

Find the Right Kind of Help for a Dual Diagnosis Client

The best place to get help for a person who is living with a mental illness and an addiction is at a mental health residential treatment facility. Once he or she arrives, the first step will be to undergo detoxification (detox). The staff will need to get the effects of any chemicals of out the way to determine the true nature of the mental health issues that the client is experiencing. Having a proper diagnosis is a crucial part of the process when helping clients who have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder and who are struggling with addiction.

Once the staff understands the nature of the client’s mental health concern, they will be able to devise an individual treatment plan. The addiction is treated concurrently to the mental health issues using a combination of strategies, which may include individual and group counseling, attending 12-step program meetings, and engaging in various recreational activities to encourage healthy, sober living. Dual diagnosis treatment facilities do an excellent job of offering a holistic approach to meeting the needs of their clients to ensure that both aspects of their health concerns are dealt with appropriately.

What To Expect At Drug Rehab

The process may differ somewhat at other drug rehab, but Above It All Treatment Center uses this approach:

1. Physical Assessment: When you start drug rehab, a physician will each spend some time with you to assess your addiction and develop a detox plan. The detox plan will be based on the types of drugs you were using, so it is critical that you are honest with the physician about every drug you have taken recently.

2. Psychological Assessment: A psychiatrist, preferably one who specializes in addiction, will assess you for issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar, or other emotional or psychological issues. The first assessment is not considered a “final” one, because the fact you are still under the influence of drugs may color the picture significantly. For example, some people may feel depressed at this point, but once they are completely free of drugs, the depression lifts.

3. Detox: This part of drug rehab is often the one people fear most. However, Above It All Treatment Center Clinicians are very experienced in developing a treatment plan for detoxification that will be as comfortable as possible. They will often use medications to ease symptoms of withdrawal, such as Suboxone or Valium.

4. Therapy: The evidence shows that group peer therapy is still the most effective form of treatment for drug addiction. Although individual therapy is also important, there is no compelling evidence that more individual and less group therapy is effective. In fact, the opposite is true. By connecting with others who have your same impulses and compulsions, you develop strategies to remain free of drugs and alcohol.

5. Physical Fitness: Most drug rehabs today understand that they must address not just the physical addiction to drugs, but the health of the body, mind, and spirit. Physical exercise is an important part of the healing process. For one thing, exercise triggers endorphin’s; the body’s natural chemicals that make you feel good. It is critical that you develop ways to feel good without drugs or alcohol, and exercise is a healthy way to do that.

6. Nutritional Counseling: Diet can impact how you feel in recovery. Too many processed carbs make you feel sluggish. Too much sugar can mean mood swings. Nutrition is critical to maintaining an even keel in early recovery.

7. Alternative Approaches: Above It All Treatment Center offers alternative therapies as well while you are in treatment. Acupuncture has been shown to be a highly effective pain management treatment, and is very popular among recovering addicts who have chronic pain. Meditation, massage and yoga are some other modalities used in quality rehabs.

8. Aftercare Planning: What do you do when you leave the safety of the rehab? How do you avoid triggers – people places and things that might lead you back to drugs or alcohol? How do you develop a support network at home? What do you do if the impulse to use drugs becomes overwhelming? These questions should be addressed as part of your aftercare planning. The plan should include specific strategies and even people to contact when you return home.

9. Discharge: You have completed treatment and you are at least 30 days free of drugs and alcohol. Discharge day can be exhilarating, joyous, and terrifying. Follow your aftercare plan and the advice of your rehab therapist and avoid triggers to have the best chance of long-term recovery.