Where substance abuse and addiction is concerned, one of the hardest things for both addicts and their families can be completing a successful rehabilitation process. The rehabilitation process consists of four basic steps:

  • Intake: you enter a facility to begin treatment;
  • Detox: you are safely weaned off of the addictive substance(s);
  • Rehabilitation: you learn from your past to build a new, substance-free future; and
  • Recovery: the ongoing process you live in daily after leaving the facility.

For more information on the basics of rehab, visit this link. If you are keen to learn about potential pitfalls that await a recovering addict outside of rehab, we’ve lined up six of the biggest hurdles for you today.


Leaving your support system

The people, therapists, and support groups you interact with as part of your recovery are important to your success. It is easy for some people to decide that they “are doing fine”, and skip a meeting or miss a check-in call or not show up for a coffee date. The trouble is, giving up on contact with the outside world – especially the parts of it that are involved in helping you pick a path through the chaos to a substance-abuse-free lifestyle – is shooting yourself in the foot on a grand scale. Go to the meetings; keep the appointments; show up at work; maintain the designated contacts; and do it as if your life depends upon it, because it might.

Catching up with old friends (and their habits)

While various parts of the recovery process encourage you to make amends with those you may’ve wronged and generally tie up loose ends, one thing you must not do is subject yourself to the negative influence of those you engaged in substance abuse with: you owe them nothing. These people are likely to subject you to the temptations and stresses that led to your substance abuse, and what’s more, you can’t “save” them from themselves by hanging out in their environment. Keep your distance, and build new relationships with positive forces instead.

Caving to the cravings

It is not a sign of weakness to crave a substance you became dependent on; in fact, it’s common. The important thing is to remember that giving in to that desire will only lead to a landslide of other problems. So maintain your support network and use it to work through your cravings.

Demanding perfection

You are human, and all people are naturally imperfect. Spending time being guided by experts in detoxification and rehabilitation doesn’t mean you now have access to some lofty realm of perfection where there’re no negative thoughts or temptations. Instead you are prepared for slips and falls, and armed with the tools to cope with setbacks and keep moving forward.

Adopting new negative behaviors

You may have heard the phrase “he just has an addictive personality” and there is some truth to it. For many, substance abuse is about escapism and once you’re in recovery for one addiction, it is possible that you would end up using another addiction to “escape” from the problems you face in life. This could be anything from switching to a different substance, to becoming an exercise junkie. The important thing is to realize that addictive behaviors all involve negative, obsessive action that can ruin your life.

Stagnating during the process

Being a recovering addict is a lot like being a shark, you have to keep moving forward or you could drown. For many this is simply a matter of creating goals that are just challenging enough to be interesting, but still realistic. Progressive goals that literally pull you through the process of recovery can be as simple as having an ultimate goal of owning a business as a baker, and breaking that goal down into steps until you get to back to the start, day one, where you learn how to make a simple loaf of bread. Scalable goals like this encourage you to keep moving forward, making incremental changes and progress for a better life.

While the road to sobriety is different for everyone, over time experts have established that avoiding these pitfalls can help bolster your successful recovery from substance abuse. 

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