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What is the Most Crucial Behavior After Addiction Rehab Program to Sustain the Recovery?

When a person asks what the single most important thing is to their successful addiction recovery after rehab, I smile. It is not that I am smiling for the reason that I know the answer or even because it is a dumb question. Not at all; I am smiling because it is a great question, but there is no single answer. If we could limit the answer to a single most crucial addictive behavior, I suppose the answer would be to not use it again. There, that was pretty easy.

If only it were that simple. Addiction would be “cured” in a matter of weeks. All we would have to do is get the addict into an addiction rehab program and then prohibit, by whatever means possible, their future use of drugs and alcohol. But it is not that easy. It is not until the addict wants to stop that they do, and when that decision is made, it is a lot easier than most people think. All they need is space – space between themselves and the drugs or alcohol. Again, easier said than done.

In rehab, addicts are taught a program, generally a 12-Step program, and spend lots of time talking about their addictions. Understanding the foundation of your need to use is huge because once you have a clearer understanding of why you are doing something, it is easier to stop doing it. Rehabs do not stop with the program, though. They teach a variety of “tools” to addicts, and when the addict wants to use them, they are there for the addict to grab from their “toolbox” and put it to use. Anytime, anywhere.

There are many good support groups such as the following:

  • Alcoholic Anonymous or Al-Anon (AA)
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA)
  • Overeaters Anonymous (OA)
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
  • Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA)

These are just a few to name. All of these groups will offer not only a continuation of the teachings but the companionship of others walking in the same shoes. This is probably the most important thing you can do to keep yourself on track. When you have others to whom you are accountable, you tend to follow through with your intentions. At a typical meeting, you might make a declaration that you have been clean for a week. You might even follow up by saying that you are looking forward to getting your first-year chip. That is a declaration, and once you say it, others will hold you accountable. More importantly, you will hold yourself accountable. And when you are accountable to yourself and another person, your chances of success are significantly higher.

While attending meetings alone is not enough to keep you on track, it is a good start. While there, listen, talk, and ask. If you are engaged, you will grow in your recovery much faster and more successfully than if you sit in the back of the room and just pass the time. You just need to make it count, and you can do it if you give it a try with a conscious effort.

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