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Substance Abuse: Staying Alcohol- or Drug-Free After Treatment

Topic Overview

Treatment helps you quit alcohol or drugs, but your recovery doesn't end there. After you're done with treatment, it's important to focus on quitting for good.

After treatment, you may choose to continue with counseling or group therapy. These meetings can help you stay committed to an alcohol- or drug-free lifestyle. It's also important to be around friends and family who support your recovery.

Slipping back into drinking or drug use after treatment doesn't mean you failed. Relapses are a normal part of the recovery process. But it's important to get back on the right path as soon as possible. This may mean getting treatment again.

Here are some ideas to help you stay away from alcohol or drugs.

Find things to do. You may be tempted to drink or use drugs because you have nothing else to do. If you find something you can do, you may be less likely to go back to alcohol or drugs.

  • Find a full-time or part-time job you enjoy.
  • Do volunteer work or take classes that interest you.
  • Join a club, begin exercising, or play sports.

Identify your beliefs. Alcohol or drug abuse and dependence can cause a spiritual crisis. You may begin to question your own beliefs and values, including those about your spirituality or faith.

  • Talk to a family member, friend, or spiritual advisor.
  • Consider spiritual study, prayer, or meditation.

Get help if you need it. Take action if you find yourself thinking about drinking or doing drugs again or are having problems with work or relationships.

  • Join a group that gives you support, such as a spiritual community.
  • Spend time with loved ones who support your recovery.
  • Get counseling for mental health problems.
  • Get marital counseling if needed.
  • Go to Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meetings.
  • Spend time with an Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous sponsor or others in these programs.

Having friends and family members who drink or use drugs can be a source of temptation. A counselor can help you find ways to avoid this temptation, which may include keeping alcohol and drugs out of your house or spending time with friends who don't drink or use drugs.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Monti, PhD - Alcohol and Addiction
Last Revised January 18, 2012

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