6 Tips for the First Year of Recovery

They say the first hour after being discharged from treatment is the most important hour. The patient wonders how to navigate their new life outside of a controlled setting. The recovering patients wonder how they will hone all they have learned while in treatment and use all of the learning out in the real world. It is no secret that the first year is the hardest in a patient’s life. This first year is all about risk management, and using proper coping skills to help them say ‘no’ to temptation. By utilizing the following six tips, the treatment patient will have a great chance at being successful in their addiction treatment recovery and get full sobriety over time.

1: Check into inpatient treatment

The first step on your road to recovery is to check into an inpatient treatment facility. Inpatient treatment should last at least four weeks. While in treatment, the patient will undergo medical tests and treatment, detoxification, and a psychiatric evaluation. During this time, the patient can build a foundation that will help them during their treatment. As long as treatment is done correctly, the chances of repeating inpatient treatment drop significantly.

2: Begin an aftercare treatment program immediately following inpatient discharge.

Before being discharged from inpatient treatment, the patient should have an aftercare plan. On the day of discharge, it is recommended that the patient goes to a 12-step meeting. Also, the patient should have appointments scheduled with their doctor and addiction specialists. Also included in a successful aftercare program are outpatient group sessions, which meet three to five times per week.

3: Consider transitioning to a Sober Living Environment

In order to maximize the patient’s success during their first year of sobriety, it is recommended that they spend a month in a Sober Living Environment. A Sober Living Environment, or SLE, helps the patient utilize their newly learned sobriety skills without distraction. Also, it is a great safety net in case of a relapse.

4: Participate in ninety 12 step programs during your first 90 days after discharge.

This is known as “ninety-in-ninety.” Going to these meetings are essential in a patient’s recovery. They will be around other recovering addicts, and will be able to receive help from their sponsor.

5: Formulate a relapse plan

Relapsing is a common fear amongst recovering addicts. It is important to not panic if a relapse should occur. Coming up with a plan on how to get back on the road to recovery can encourage the patient to continue with their recovery.

6: Routine drug testing

Being drug tested on a regular basis is not the doctor’s way of saying that they expect the patient to relapse. It is simply a means to monitor the patient’s clinical needs should relapse occur. Also, the doctor can prescribe medication if other areas of the patient’s health needs treatment.

By participating in group sessions, 12 step programs, and adhering to the advice of professionals, the patient can have a successful first year of recovery and sustain it for life.

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