Having a support community is essential for successful recovery. Throwing yourself headfirst into a sober fellowship is the answer to this age old dilemma. Not only does involving yourself in a sober community provide an individual with a sense of belonging, it also gives them a sense of accountability which is hard to find elsewhere. Two of the elements that we have seen repeatedly strengthen someone’s sobriety are exactly that – belonging and accountability.

Early recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism can be difficult, especially for those entering recovery or treatment for the first time.  So much is entirely new and foreign, so it can be a challenge to know how to proceed.  Here are 5 things you can do to help get the most out of your recovery and safeguard yourself from relapse.

1. Find Meetings You Get Something Out Of and Like to Attend

  • Most metropolitan areas have multitudes of meetings… different formats, variety of attendees, etc.  Go where you find the most similarities with other group members.
  • Attend at least 6 meetings per week – give yourself a chance to acclimate.  Focus on the similarities you hear in the group - not the differences.
  • If 12-Step meetings aren’t for you, try SMART Recovery or Rational Recovery which are great alternatives to 12-step programs.

2. Get Phone Numbers of Fellow Recovering Addicts and Use Them

  • Set a goal of getting 3 phone numbers at each meeting you attend.
  • Find people you have a natural connection with and who you feel comfortable talking to.
  • Use the numbers – “Dial them, don’t file them.”  Call before you’re backed into a corner.

3. Find a Sponsor -  Now!

  • Recovery can be confusing and difficult to navigate.  Find someone who can help guide you through the process.
  • Positive healthy action will keep you sober.  A sponsor can get you started working the steps.
  • Again -  find someone you connect with and someone who has what you want.
  • As a rule of thumb, a sponsor should have at least 1 year of continuous sobriety and have worked all of the 12 steps.

4. Don’t Get Arrogant About Your Recovery

  • Some people feel they have “aced” recovery in the early stages, keep an open mind. There is no graduation in recovery - it is a lifelong journey.
  • An arrogant attitude can undermine the recovery process.
  • Thoughts or cravings of drug use or drinking and using can take you by surprise.  Be vigilant and have a strategy for dealing with them before they occur.  A key to this is developing healthy coping mechanisms.

5. Take It Easy – “One Day at a Time”

  • Early recovery can be tough.  Often the recovering alcoholic/addict is overcome with feelings and emotions they have numbed for so long with alcohol and drugs.
  • Be gentle with yourself – allow yourself to feel your feelings then let them pass (and they will pass!)
  • Thinking of never drinking or using again for your entire life can be a trap.  Just don’t use, just for today.
  • Stay present and in the moment…. Many find much to celebrate in early recovery.  Be there for those moments.

Having trouble knowing where to start? Questions on how to manage your early recovery?  New Hope Recovery Center is a full-service treatment center offering treatment programs with a holistic approach that meet your needs.  If you are interested in our services or just have questions about your recovery, please contact us at (773) 883 – 3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written By: New Hope Recovery Center

Chicago Rehab Road to Recovery Stay SoberSo you've finished treatment…now what? This is a common question people ask themselves after finishing drug and alcohol rehab.  Statistics show that the days, and even hours, after leaving treatment are incredibly crucial to long term sobriety.  Addiction treatment centers provide a safe, structured environment where someone is removed from their triggers and the pressures of everyday life.  Leaving the safety net of rehab can be intimidating and even frightening to some individuals although it doesn’t have to be.  There are many things newly sober people can do following treatment to ensure they maintain the sobriety achieved in treatment.


Here are 5 tips for maintaining sobriety:

1.       12 step meetings: Statistics show individuals who continue going to 12 step meetings after treatment are more likely to stay sober than those who don’t attend. Many counselors and therapists recommend going to 12 step meetings immediately following discharge from treatment.  Going to meetings, as well as working with a sponsor, are two of the most important aspects of sobriety after leaving treatment.

2.       Making the most of your time:  Many individuals aren’t in a hurry to return to work or school  after finishing treatment but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to have a completely open schedule.  Many people report boredom as being one of their biggest triggers. That’s why a well thought out schedule is a valuable tool to have.  Committing to daily meetings and doing service work are great ways to help schedule your time so you don’t find yourself with excess down time.

3.       Stay connected:  Staying connected as a member of Alumni to your treatment center is a great way to stay in touch with those who were part of your early recovery and it’s also a way for you to practice accountability.  Many rehab centers offer Aftercare groups and alumni groups for those who are leaving treatment.

4.       Helping others:  Someone with ten years of sobriety can help someone with 10 days equally as much as someone with 10 days can help someone with 1 day.  Great ways to start helping others would be doing volunteer work or service work.  No matter how long you’ve been sober; helping others in recovery will be a cornerstone of your recovery.

5.       Make a plan:  Take it one day a time but always have a safety plan.  What do you want to achieve in sobriety?  Make a list of realistic goals as a way to help you stay motivated and active. Perhaps you want to go back to school or take up a new hobby.  In recovery, you have the opportunity to pursue those interests where prior to that your addiction was getting in the way.

What you experienced in treatment doesn’t have to end when you walk out the door.  Discover what works for you and move forward with it.  Making the most out of those first few days after treatment will surely carry over into the rest of your recovery.

Get out there and start working the program you desire!

New Hope Recovery Center offers volunteer opportunities for their Alumni. If you want to find out more click here!