One of the positive things about outpatient treatment is that it gives you the opportunity to immediately begin to apply the principles you are learning in rehab to your everyday life. As you encounter challenges or stressful situations, you will have the support of your therapeutic team and your peers in treatment.
Unfortunately, many struggle in early recovery with feeling like all they can do is sit on the couch and actively not drink or get high, but do this for too long, and boredom can become a trigger for relapse. The good news is that there are a number of things you can do that are active that allow you to incorporate your new perspective on life into your daily activities and avoid relapse at the same time.
- Exercise. One big goal of recovery is to begin to live a healthy life overall, and while cutting out drugs and alcohol when addiction is part of your life is a necessary and significant first step, it’s not the only step. The American Heart Association recommends that we all get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise; this can be accomplished by working out for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Additionally, weight-bearing exercises are recommended, three to six days per week. Not only does working out fill up part of your daily schedule, but it also helps you to sleep better, improves your mood, and gives you a self-esteem boost.
- Take a class. Too much downtime on your hands? Look to the community college for ideas. Pick a course that will help you to build your job skills, explore a career option you are interested in, or give you time to engage in a hobby you enjoy. Not only will this give you something positive to do with your time off, but it can give you something to focus on as well and introduce you to new people.
- Volunteer. If you are ready to get out of the house, you can do so in a positive way by giving back to your community. Help out a homeless shelter, give your time at a food bank, or work on social justice activism that is meaningful to you.
- Notice what is stressful to you. As you go through your day, sign up for classes, spend time with yourself and your family, and acclimate to life without drug and alcohol use, you will begin to notice that certain things are irritating, angering, frustrating, or otherwise stressful for you. These are not small things, and it is important to take notice of the issues that are continuous and address them proactively.
- Talk about it. Outpatient treatment is there to assist you in managing whatever comes your way as you begin the process of transitioning into a clean and sober lifestyle. Take advantage of your regular interactions with substance abuse treatment professionals and get their help in managing any issues that arise.