While an alcoholic or drug abuser goes through rehab treatment they have the opportunity to focus on themselves and repair the issues that have led them down the path of addiction. It is a time when they can temporarily block out anything else in their life that could derail their progress in becoming sober. Once a person leaves rehab, however, they are still continuing the ongoing process of recovery but will also have to deal with many "outside issues" that can be very stressful. Working hard in rehab and learning special coping skills can help prevent an addict from relapsing as they face all the other issues in their life outside of a rehab facility.
Coping with Stress
As an addict returns to their normal life they will once again have to deal with the daily stress that might have led them to drink or use drugs in the past. Going to work and dealing with complaints, reprimands or problem solving can lead to stress. Relationship problems or arguments can be another kind of emotional stress that is hard to handle. Any one of these potential stressors can become a trigger for an addict to start drinking or using drugs again. Instead of turning to substances for relief, the addict must learn new coping strategies to keep stress in control.
A good strategy for every person in recovery is to have a life line or a supportive friend you can call when things get rough. It is important to have a network of people including friends and family who are a positive influence and are there to give you help and advice. Talking with trusted friends can be a healthy outlet for stress because it gives the person a chance to vent their feelings and get an outside perspective. An addict should also develop a list of stress lowering activities that they can turn to when they need it like exercising, playing music, reading or whatever will make them feel relaxed. These are more positive ways of relieving stress that can act as a substitute in times when they would normally turn to alcohol or drugs as an escape.
Maintaining Healthy Relationships
Many of the other issues that people must face after they return from treatment are dealing with relationships that could have been damaged due to their drug use. People could still be angry about things that happened in the past or they may struggle to build up trust for the addict. These are issues that an addict must handle directly while they are in recovery. While suffering from addiction people might let problems slide and fail to resolve them. In recovery, the addict must manage relationships day to day in a more healthy way and build up positive connections with people they have previously hurt. This means talking through problems and coming up with compromises or solutions that keep the relationship well balanced.
Using Aftercare Programs
Sometimes the best way to deal with issues outside of rehab is to stay connected with counselors and support groups who can provide necessary guidance. With any issue that an addict faces, they can discuss it with therapists in their aftercare program or bring to their support group. Continuing to attend twelve step meetings can be a life-saving help to people who have recently completed rehab. These kinds of meetings offer help any time they are struggling and an opportunity to reconnect with their goals of staying sober. Support groups offer the positive motivation that can help addicts deal with everyday stress and outside issues that could potentially jeopardize their sobriety.