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Plan of action for after drug addiction treatment.

The goal of drug addiction treatment is to help the addict into a stable and contented recovery.
Recovery from addiction is so much more than just stopping drugs.  It involves improving the way you engage with life to enhance your overall experience of life.
Without changing a number of areas it’s only time until relapse happens again. That why changing your behavior is such a key aspect of recovery from a chemical dependency.
Albert Einstein once remarked that “insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results”.  So if we keep behaving in the same ways we can’t really expect anything to change. It isn’t so much the world that needs changing, as ourselves that need changing when we first clean up.
It is only through changing our behaviour that we can expect our lives to improve.
Addiction is known as a chronically relapsing illness.  This means that addicts are at risk of relapsing into addiction for a very long time after treatment.  In fact, the common belief is that drug addiction is never entirely cured and remains with the addict for the rest of her life.
This implies that the recovery process must continue for the rest of the drug addict’s life.  Obviously she can’t remain in treatment forever, so how can this be accomplished?
While still in drug addiction rehab your counsellor will start developing a discharge or aftercare plan.  A comprehensive discharge plan will include a relapse prevention strategy as well as examining how the addict will reintegrate back into their community of origin.
A relapse prevention plan is a formula for avoiding relapse in the future.  This sustainable recovery strategy will encourage the addicted patient to examine the triggers that led to drug use in the past.
Such triggers could include experiencing stress, depression, loss, or other unpleasant emotions.  Likewise certain situations and places could be associated with drug use – driving through an old neighbourhood, spending time with certain friends, etc.
By stating these triggers the addict can develop concrete strategies for dealing with them.
Drug addiction counsellors often claim that relapse is a process that terminates with drug using rather than relapse being an event.  In other words the relapse process begins when the addict stops their recovery process and the actual event when they use drugs is the result of this discontinuation.
You could think of this part of a relapse prevention plan as an “early warning system” for these triggers.  The drug addicted patient can identify that there is something wrong with their recovery and modify behaviour accordingly in order to prevent picking up drugs and relapsing into drug addiction.
Drug addicted people always have unhealthy relationships with a group of people with whom they use.  We should avoid using the term “friend” to describe such people as the relationships are usually based on drug use rather than any healthy commonality.
When the drug addict stops using they will probably find that they have little in common with their erstwhile companions.  Returning to the social circles in which drug use is common will expose the recovering addict to unhealthy peer pressure as well as making drugs more readily available.  It is therefore a very good idea to discontinue any relationships associated with active drug addiction.
Finally the addict should disassociate himself from the paraphernalia attached to drug addiction.  Items such as bongs, pipes, and special lighters should be discarded.  Additionally items which bear images related to the drug culture should also be discarded.  These could include T-shirts with marijuana leaves on them, or other such cultural items and associations.
In summary we can state that avoiding the people, places, and things associated with drug addiction is a good way to avoid relapse. By changing our playgrounds, playmates and playthings we develop new, healthier groups of recovery related friends and activities.
Perhaps the best plan of action for leaving a drug addiction treatment centre is to enter a stepdown facility or “sober house”.  In South African drug rehab terminology these are sometimes referred to as “Secondary Care” & “Tertiary Care” rehabs.
These addiction centres specifically focus their treatment programs on reintegrating the patient back into society.  By staying in such a clinic the patient will be able to look for work and start exploring life in society in new recovery orientated ways with sufficient support from people who understand the difficulties in making such changes.
If you would like help in finding recovery from drug addiction but don’t know where to turn then please don’t delay in contacting one of our treatment coordinators.
They will help you choose between the rehab options open to you and provide you with independent advice in finding the best treatment center for you.

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