Personal Growth


Post rehab dos and donts

When your loved one comes home from rehab, it’s natural to be nervous about what comes next. This guide will give you a basic framework for navigating some of the common challenges faced during the post-rehab adjustment period.

Do Take Time to Educate Yourself

If you’ve never struggled with drug or alcohol abuse yourself, it can be hard to understand what someone in recovery is going through. However, there are many excellent resources available to help you learn more about the roots of addiction and how to best support your loved one during the recovery process. Start by seeing what resources your loved one’s counselor recommends or by attending a friends and family support group such as Al-Anon.

Resources from St. Joseph Institute for Addiction that you might find helpful include:
What Is Withdrawal?
Principles of Effective Addiction Treatment
Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders: A Double Whammy for Treatment Goals

Do Ask Open-Ended Questions

When it comes to talking about recovery, everyone is different in regards to what they feel comfortable sharing. Some people want to share every detail, while others are slower to open up. You can express your support without prying with a simple, “How are you feeling?” or “What did you do today?”

To avoid making your loved one feel as though they’re being put on the spot, remember that a conversation is a two-way street. Make an effort to share details about the activities of your own day as well as your future plans. Your goal should be to foster a meaningful dialogue so it doesn’t feel as though you’re simply lecturing or criticizing.

Do Engage in Acts of Service

Verbally expressing your support is a good start, but sometimes actions speak louder than words. Show your support for your loved one’s recovery by offering transportation to appointments, the supplies or resources necessary to begin a new sober hobby, or assistance picking out clothes for a job interview. An invitation for a home cooked meal or a drug and alcohol free social engagement are also great options to consider.

If you’re not sure how to best be of service, don’t be afraid to ask. “What can I do to help you?” is always a good way to open the lines of communication. Your loved one may have ideas that you never would have considered on your own.

Don’t Rehash the Past

Your loved one is well aware of the mistakes he or she has made while struggling with addiction. Focusing on past mistakes will only keep you from moving forward in your relationship, especially if your loved one starts to feel like you’re blaming him or her for what has happened. Nobody can change the past, so it’s best to keep your focus on the future.

If you need to process your feelings about past events, vent to a trusted friend or write down your thoughts in a journal. This will help you keep a level head when dealing with your loved one in recovery.

Don’t Neglect Yourself

Loving a recovering addict can be stressful. It’s easy to spend so much time worrying about how to help your friend or family member that you forget to make time to take care of yourself. But, if you’re exhausted and overwhelmed, you won’t be able to effectively support your loved one during the recovery process.

Set a regular sleep schedule, eat nutritious meals, exercise regularly, and make time for stress-relieving activities that you enjoy. You’ll feel better about yourself and be setting a good example for your loved one of how to live a sober lifestyle.

Don’t Think of Rehab as a Cure

Addiction is a chronic illness. Your loved one may be sober now, but he or she is not cured in the sense that addiction will never be an issue again. Just as a diabetic needs to take insulin and manage blood sugar with diet and exercise, a recovering addict needs to remain vigilant to stay on top of relapse triggers. Rehab sets the foundation for a successful recovery. It’s not a quick fix.

Always remember that recovery is a journey that must be taken one step at a time. Your loved one may experience obstacles and setbacks along the way, but this does not mean that sobriety is impossible. It simply means that it may take some time to find a treatment plan that works best for his or her individual needs.

By Dana Hinders

How to build a recovery playlist

Music can be a wonderful source of support, inspiration, and motivation during the recovery process. Consider developing your own addiction recovery playlist to help you tackle the challenges of sober living, using these popular songs as a starting point.

Breaking the Habit – Linkin Park

I don’t know what’s worth fighting for
Or why I have to scream.
But now I have some clarity to show you what I mean.
I don’t know how I got this way.
I’ll never be alright,
So I’m breaking the habit.
I’m breaking the habit.
I’m breaking the habit tonight.

“Breaking the Habit” is a song about hitting rock bottom. The lyrics express frustration with the burdens of addiction, as well as an understanding that nothing gets better unless you make a conscious decision to change your own behavior.

Amazing – Aerosmith

It’s amazing.
With the blink of an eye, you finally see the light.
It’s amazing.
When the moment arrives that you know you’ll be alright.

Aerosmith’s popular power ballad begins by describing a life of pain caused by drug abuse, but shows how drastically life can change if you find the courage to ask for help. If you’re in the early stages of recovery, this is a song to remind you that things will get better.

My Silver Lining – First Aid Kit

Can’t worry ’bout what’s behind you or what’s coming for you further up the road.
I try not to hold on to what is gone.
I try to do right what is wrong.
I try to keep on keepin’ on.

When you’re in recovery, it’s easy to get distracted by guilt over past mistakes and anxiety about the future. “My Silver Lining” is a reminder to focus on the present and take your recovery one day at a time.

Recover – Natasha Bedingfield

Been torn apart,
Got so many scratches and scars.
Maybe they won’t all go away,
But they’ll fade.
Maybe time can mend us together again.
It’s not what we’ve done but, how far we’ve come.

“Recover” is a powerful song because it acknowledges that addiction causes lasting pain, but gives hope that recovery is possible. Think of this song as a reminder that your own scars are a badge of honor and a sign of survival. They tell the story of all you’ve been through and prove that you’re strong enough to conquer the world.

Survivor – Destiny’s Child

Now that you’re out of my life, I’m so much better.
You thought that I’d be weak without you, but I’m stronger.
You thought that I’d be broke without you, but I’m richer.
You thought that I’d be sad without you, I laugh harder.
Thought I wouldn’t grow without you, now I’m wiser.

This song is about getting over a bad breakup, but it’s not difficult to see the parallel between ending a toxic romance and overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. Think of it as a catchy tune to help you remember all the ways your life has improved since you made the decision to get clean.

Titanium – David Guetta featuring Sia

I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose.
Fire away, fire away.
Ricochet, you take your aim.
Fire away, fire away.
You shoot me down, but I won’t fall.
I am titanium.

“Titanium” is a song about inner strength and finding it in yourself to overcome whatever obstacles the world throws at you. It’s a song that resonates with many people who’ve turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with trauma in their lives.

Firework – Katy Perry

You don’t have to feel like a wasted space.
You’re original, cannot be replaced.
If you only knew what the future holds.
After a hurricane, comes a rainbow.

More than just a popular dance number, “Firework” offers a powerful message about embracing your individuality. It’s a worthy addition to any recovery playlist, especially if you’re struggling to redefine your sense of self without drugs and alcohol.

Hold Fast – Mercy Me

Hold fast
Help is on the way.
Hold fast
He’s come to save the day.
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is your grasp.

Contemporary Christian band MercyMe sings about the power of Christ’s love, urging anyone who is going through a difficult time to turn to their faith as a source of strength. Even though this song isn’t specifically about addiction, it’s a message that resonates with many who are in recovery.

The Man I Want to Be – Chris Young

I wanna be a good man,
A ‘do like I should’ man.
I wanna be the kind of man the mirror likes to see.
I wanna be a strong man
And admit that I was wrong, man.
God, I’m asking you to come change me
To the man I wanna be.

Country music singer Chris Young expresses the desire to make big changes in life, while acknowledging that this is a job too big to undertake alone. This song reminds us that all things are possible with God’s help.

By Dana Hinders

man using computer

Job hunting is never an easy process, but people in recovery face some distinct challenges. From the need for a flexible schedule to explaining a spotty work history, landing a new position while in recovery will require careful planning and preparation.

Daniel Krasner, Summit Behavioral Healthcare’s Assistant Vice President of National Business Development, has a unique perspective on the post-recovery job search. He launched his own successful career after receiving addiction treatment and has helped fill multiple marketing and sales-related positions.

Recently, Krasner volunteered to share some advice for job seekers in recovery.

1. Don’t Share Too Early in the Process
Krasner believes your recovery shouldn’t be mentioned in your resume or cover letter. Employers only need information that’s relevant to your ability to perform specific job duties.

“I look at addiction as a disease, like diabetes,” Krasner said. “Just as you wouldn’t immediately tell a potential employer that you’re a diabetic, you don’t need to mention that you’re in recovery until an offer is on the table. It’s not necessarily something you need to share until it becomes relevant to the job at hand.”

2. Decide How Much You’re Comfortable Disclosing
Seeking addiction treatment is nothing to be ashamed of, but people in recovery have different levels of comfort when discussing their sobriety with others. To a large extent, how much you share is a matter of personal preference.

“Everyone is different as far as their willingness to disclose,” Krasner said. “You can come right out and say you were in recovery or you can simply say you had a medical issue that needed to be addressed. If you’re still in treatment or at a halfway house, you might need to provide more detail than someone with a few years of sobriety simply because you might need to leave early for meetings. If you’ve been sober for several years and it won’t affect your job performance, a full disclosure is less important.”

3. Be Honest
Wanting to protect your privacy is understandable, but it’s vitally important that you tell the truth when asked. Although a potential employer isn’t entitled to know every detail about your addiction treatment, the issue becomes relevant if you have a criminal record from your addiction or were terminated for addiction-related performance issues. Lying about your background will lead to automatic termination for most employers, regardless of whether you’re fudging your educational credentials or omitting the fact that you have a DUI and a possession charge on your record.

Owning up to your past isn’t easy, but Krasner points out that the best way to get a job is to help an employer see that you have the maturity to use past mistakes as an opportunity for growth. “You have to go into the process assuming that they will call your past employer and conduct a background check,” Krasner said. “Be honest about the mistakes that you’ve made, but show that you’ve changed since then.”

If you’re worried that you’ll get tongue-tied when asked about a specific issue on your resume, write up a detailed response beforehand and practice it with a friend or your sponsor. “God didn’t carry you this far to see you fall,” Krasner said. “Lean on your support network and practice your interviewing skills to calm your nerves and boost your confidence.”

4. Be Open to Feedback
Rejection is unfortunately part of the job search. This can be hard for someone in recovery, as it may trigger feelings of being not good enough or unworthy of success. However, successful job seekers are those who can turn rejection into a new opportunity.

“If you’re getting interviews but no job offers, ask for feedback on areas you need to improve,” Krasner said. “You may also want to take a deep hard look at your resume. To be effective, it needs to portray your background honestly but positively and be targeted towards the specific job position.”

5. Be Willing to Start Small
When it comes to your post-recovery career, you can’t expect to land your dream job immediately. Change takes time, so patience is a virtue. Treat your job search like a full-time job, be strategic, and stay confident in the belief that you’ll eventually find a position that’s right for you.

“It’s always easier to get a job if you already have a job,” Krasner said. “You may have to humble yourself somewhat to get your foot in the door, especially if your professional reputation suffered due to your addiction. This is a consequence of the choices you’ve made. Take what you can get, but use the opportunity as a steppingstone to something better.”

By Dana Hinders

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