Alcohol detox is the first stage of alcohol recovery, and while it may be the most difficult stage in many ways, it is only the beginning. After detox, the addict has gotten all the alcohol out of his or her system, and it is now time to start forging a sober future. This comes with numerous big questions, including how to deal with old friends who are still drinking, what to do with one’s spare time, and how to handle emotional difficulties and stress without drinking. For these and other reasons, it is always a good idea for the recovering addict to continue in a rehab program even after alcohol detox.
Alcohol detox and the days immediately afterward are a time to take stock. There are certain parts of every addict’s life that need to be overhauled or completely dispensed with. Sadly, some friends may have to be left behind until they themselves are ready to stop drinking. Meanwhile, some of the old social habits, coping mechanisms, and patterns of thought are going to have to change.
Sorting through all these issues can be difficult, which is why it is a good idea for the recovering alcoholic to seek help from others. Therapy is recommended for anyone whose drinking habit springs at least in part from emotional turmoil, repressed feelings, or a need to escape one’s thoughts. Therapy helps the recovering addict understand why they are the way they are, and this understanding will be crucial in the months ahead.
Meanwhile, it is also advisable to attend support group meetings for at least a few months after quitting. These provide a welcome sense of community while also demonstrating that no addict is alone. There are others who have been through the same trials and have come out stronger.
Another concern after alcohol detox is deciding how one’s alcohol-free life should go. For example, you may have to find new social activities, and you might even have to take up some new hobbies to fill all the time you used to spend drinking. It is common to have stumbles and moments of weakness during this period. It is never easy to completely change one’s life, but it can be done.
Every recovering addict can benefit from finding a few new things that he or she likes to do. For example, if you have an old hobby or creative passion that you have allowed to languish, now is the time to pick it up again. Throwing oneself into one’s professional life can provide welcome distraction, but it is important not to become so immersed in work that you become stressed out. The first year or so of sobriety can be precarious, so it is best to play it safe and do everything in moderation.