Addiction to prescription painkillers is both widespread and hard to overcome. With nearly 2 million Americans estimated to be addicted to painkillers, you are far from alone in your addiction. You've already gone through the psychologically and physically challenging experience of rehab, and you should feel very proud of yourself. Now is the time to focus on how to maintain your newfound sobriety after exiting rehab. Here are five ways to do so:
Find Outpatient Chemical Dependency Care
Going from the safe, supportive environment of rehab back to the "real world" can feel very harsh and jarring. This is a very vulnerable time where you are prone to relapse. It is therefore very important that you find outpatient aftercare in order to maintain some structure and remain focused on recovery. Your rehab center may offer aftercare services or be able to refer you to the appropriate resources.
Find a Good Therapist
You most likely already went through a painful withdrawal experience during rehab, after which you no longer felt a strong physical craving for painkillers. Unfortunately, once the physical aspect of your addiction is conquered, you may find that you still feel some symptoms of psychological addiction. For example, you may have triggering events (an argument with your spouse, money worries, or anything else that provokes anxiety) that cause you to miss the euphoric and anxiety-squashing effects of painkillers, even though you are no longer physically addicted.
Your best bet is to find a qualified therapist you have a strong rapport with. They will help you discover healthy ways to cope with depression and anxiety, without resorting to painkillers. They will also help you process any underlying trauma or psychological issues that led to your addiction in the first place.
Eat a Well-balanced Diet
Now that the opiates are out of your system, it is time to fully nourish your body and give it the fuel it needs to thrive. Eating a nutrient-dense, well-balanced diet will give you the energy you need to stay strong in recovery and will help boost your mood as well. There is no need to latch onto an overly restrictive or complicated diet.
Instead, just work on adding plenty of fruits and veggies to your diet, while also reducing the amount of processed or sugary foods you consume. If you've never had a healthy diet before and don't know where to start, it may be a good idea to consult with a nutritionist.
Form a Support System
It's important to have a solid support system around you during your recovery. This might include emotionally stable, positive friends and family members, an addiction sponsor, and fellow attendees of local support groups, such as NA. Many people look at recovery as a time to make a fresh new start, especially if their old friend group involves a lot of addiction and temptation. You can try making new friends by volunteering, taking a class, or joining groups for any of your favorite hobbies.
Get Lots of Physical Exercise
While recreational painkiller abuse is incredibly destructive, it is also easy to understand why so many people become addicted. After all, when you first start taking painkillers they make you feel great by releasing "feel good" hormones like dopamine in your brain. An important part of recovery is to do other things that feel physically great (without side effects or risk of addiction) so that you don't miss painkillers as much.
Physical exercise is a crucial component to this aspect of recovery. Getting exercise at least a few times a week will not only boost your health, but also fill your body with endorphins, which are powerful mood-boosters. Choose whatever exercise feels best to you, whether it's going on long hikes in the mountains, taking yoga classes, or working up a sweat on the treadmill at the local rec center.
Remaining sober is difficult, but by following these tips and staying the course, you are on your way to a rewarding, healthy life and long-term sobriety from your prescription pain medication addiction. For more information on addiction recovery, have a peek at this site.