Recovery does not begin and end with going through the detox program and completing treatment. Those in recovery from substance use disorder (SUD) must continue to put in the work to maintain their sobriety for the rest of their lives. This includes making any changes necessary to their life in order to prevent relapse. The framework that long-lasting recovery is based upon can be referred to as the four pillars of recovery. While different treatment professionals may define these pillars in slightly different ways, they are often considered to be health, home, purpose, and community.
Before returning back to your daily life after treatment, you’ll want to consider each one of these pillars. Each one of them contributes to your ability to avoid substance use in the future, heal, and create a wonderful new life for yourself.
The First Pillar: Health
This pillar encapsulates both mental and physical health, which both go hand in hand. When you take care of your physical health, you’re more likely to make good decisions. You’ll also be more equipped to handle stress and say “no” to possible temptations that may lead to relapse. We all know that taking care of our health is important, but life is often busy. It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits without even realizing it. This can quickly take a toll on our mental health. To make sure that your health is in optimal shape, prioritize the following:
- Limit fried foods or those high in sugar
- Make sure you’re eating well-balanced, nutritious meals
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Fit exercise into your daily routine (even if it is just a quick walk around the block)
- Make sure you’re getting enough good quality sleep
- Take a break from technology from time to time
- Try yoga or meditation to manage stress
- Practice mindfulness
All of these things, while they may not seem like a big deal, can contribute to your ability to avoid relapse.
The Second Pillar: Home
Having a stable home life plays a significant role in your ability to stick to your recovery. Living in an environment where there are people or situations that trigger you can be very detrimental. It’s essential that you feel safe and comfortable in your home. If you come from a household where you know substance use will be present when you return, it may be time to consider alternative housing.
This is no simple feat, as we well understand. Not everyone has the financial ability to move out and find their own housing. If this is your case, you may consider reaching out to friends or family for their support. If this is not an option, there are temporary housing programs available that you can utilize until you have the option to move into a new permanent environment. Some treatment facilities even offer sober living programs. With these programs, you can slowly transition back to your daily life while living in an environment where you won’t have to worry about being around substance use.
The Third Pillar: Purpose
Everyone needs to have a purpose in life. It is what creates meaning in life. Having a purpose gives you something to work toward and provides you with fulfillment. Everyone’s purpose is different. For some people, it may be being a parent or caring for someone they love. But for others, it might be a certain career path or education goal. Every day they will devote effort to this purpose. Our purpose can change at different stages in life. Figuring out your life’s purpose is integral to the recovery journey.
The Fourth Pillar: Community
As humans, we are social beings. We are not meant to live out our days alone. Humans need social interaction for our overall well-being. Community is an essential aspect of the recovery journey. Support from others is very important in avoiding relapse.
Some things to consider with this pillar include the following:
- Build a group of friends that you can enjoy sober activities with
- Have an emergency contact that you can reach out to if you are feeling tempted to relapse
- Consider working with a therapist with whom you can speak openly about your emotions with
- Look into local 12-Step support group meetings where you can talk to people who understand and can relate to what you’re going through
- Find out more information about local groups or clubs that are composed of people you share similar interests and passions with
- Work to rebuild trust within relationships you may have harmed while you were still engaging in active substance use
- Consider local volunteer opportunities where you can give back to the community while getting to make connections with other people who may share common interests with you
The recovery journey continues after the detox process and after completing treatment. This includes adjusting your life as necessary in order to prevent relapse. The framework that recovery is based on includes four pillars: health, home, purpose, and community. It’s important to consider these pillars and what they mean to you and your life before you leave your treatment facility. This can help you determine what you want your life to look like moving forward. If you are currently struggling with substance use disorder, our team at The Ho Tai Way wants to help you.