Nine Tips for Rebounding After Addiction

By Charles Watson

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Addiction is personal and so is recovery.

I know this very well.  Whenever family members, friends, and acquaintances criticized my choices and me, I picked myself up, stood my ground, and worked on my personal journey away from addiction and towards recovery.

Beginning the journey was rough.

At first, I felt hurt and disappointed how my own family and friends thought that I was just letting myself go and that I didn’t care about my own life.  It’s not that I let myself go.  I fell into the addiction trap. I was lost.

I had demons no one knew about and I thought that drugs and alcohol were my only allies to silence these demons.  Even though it was difficult, I sent myself to rehab.  If I was just letting go of my life, I would have not done that.

Because I needed help, I crawled my way through the doors of the addiction rehab center.  I received treatment and diligently participated in all the activities suggested by my doctor and my therapists.  That’s how badly I wanted to redeem myself.

Addiction treatment was all or nothing for me.  I think the same goes for many other people in rehab.

I was fine inside rehab.  Since most of the people there shared the same plight, we understood each other.  Inside rehab, people aren’t judged by their fellow patients.

My struggle actually started when it was time to leave rehab and start living my life outside the confines of the treatment facility.

Take It Slowly

The first lesson I learned after rehab is to take it slowly.  Give yourself a chance to adjust and cope with the transitions in your life.

Right after rehab, I felt recharged and renewed.  I felt like I could have done anything and that I was invincible.  That feeling was dangerous, because I didn’t realize that I still had a lot of work left to do.

During this time, I tried hard to reintegrate and mingle again with some of my friends.  I wasn’t ready for rejection, since I thought I’d already so worked hard that they would accept me unconditionally.

Sadly, not all people are like that, even those close to you.  I was demotivated, and I felt useless for the first time since I left the center.  I almost relapsed because I was emotional and was looking for a fix.  It was then that I read an article that advised me to take things slowly, to avoid immediately rushing back into my old life.  It was simple advice, but it hit me hard.

Repair Damage in Relationships

Instead of insisting on acceptance, I realized that I should ask for forgiveness first and mend broken relationships.

In the past, I believed that my family and friends hated me because I was addicted to drugs.  But, I failed to realize that they were angry at me because they cared so much about my well-being.

They were not judging me.  They were making me realize that my life is too precious to be spent using drugs.

I talked to each of my family members.  I also reached out and talked heart-to-heart with my close friends.

When I apologized, I felt that they were never away from me, even if my addiction once cut them off from my life.

Manage Your Family and Friends’ Expectations

After apologizing to my family and close friends, I asked them what they expected of me and how they expected me to behave.

I started using drugs when I was in college and it became worse when I landed a very stressful job.  For five years, my family and friends saw me as an addict.  Since it can be difficult to get over that, I wanted to know their expectations.

It was actually a great experience as I learned that my loved ones just wanted me to continue my journey to sobriety, slowly get back to work, and live a normal and productive life.  I had the same expectations for myself, so I was glad we talked about it.

Work It

After talking with the most important people in my life, I then tried to regain their trust while retaking pieces of my life.

It was hard, but it wasn’t impossible.

Pursue New Hobbies

Ever since I was young, I really wanted to play the drums.  I didn’t have the chance to learn earlier because I was too consumed by my addiction and my demons.

Now that I’m picking my life back up, I’m learning how to play the drums.  It has been an invigorating experience and it feels like my zest for life had been renewed.  “This is how finding your passion really feels like,” I said to myself.  I’ve learned that music almost can seem addictive, but in a good and constructive way.

Move Your Body and Be More Active

Aside from my new hobby, I also signed up for a gym membership and started running with my friends.  I learned that exercise can help reduce stress and negative feelings and it’s true.

I feel happier and more energized now that I’ve started to be more physically active.

Eat Better and Sleep Better

Aside from my hobbies and physical activities, I also started to eat better.  Instead of eating fast food and junk food, I eat more vegetables and fruits.  I also cut down on my sugar and caffeine intake. I committed to drinking more water instead of alcohol and juice.

Changes did not happen overnight, but after a few weeks, I became more energetic, happy, and active.  Focusing on my health was a great decision.

Getting more sleep has also helped improve my health and mood.  Instead of an evening stroll or a movie night, I’ve been choosing a good night sleep, which has improved my mood, my alertness, and even my skin.

Maintain Relationships with Sober Friends

To keep my sobriety, I’ve found that it’s useful to mingle and associate with sober friends.

Friends can influence your decisions.  They can also expose you to substances and situations.  So, it’s important to spend time with the right people.

Find What Fuels Your Soul

The last but definitely most powerful step I took to fully recover is to find my passion.

After my rehab in Texas, I started a new job as a teacher in a community school.  I feel like I’m finally at peace with what I have become because I found what makes me happiest.

I know the road ahead may still be bumpy, but with all the valuable life lessons I’ve learned, I know I can always manage.

It hasn’t been an easy journey, but it was all worth it.

About the author:

Charles Watson is currently the head content writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health.  A lifelong health advocate, while not writing you can catch him reading updated material from his favorite author Tim Ferriss.  He can be reached on Twitter at @charleswatson00, or at

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