Imagine if every single person who went through a drug rehab program was given access to a recovery coach for 3 months after they graduate, as a way to “hit the ground running”, design their ideal future and start taking action to make that a reality every day.
Do you think there would be a lot more people with long-term sobriety and with lives they’re proud of?
Would there be a ton more successful, confident people in recovery?
Based on my own experience, I think if everyone had the opportunity to work with a recovery coach post-treatment, we could hugely improve the impact of our addiction recovery system.
I understand that a lot of treatment centers have an aftercare program, but they are mostly centered around “relapse prevention”, which involves focusing on what I DON’T want to happen.
We humans have an UNCANNY ability to manifest what we fear the most by laser focusing on what we don’t want.
I’ve been to three treatment centers and of these three, one of them had an “aftercare” program.
This consisted of a weekly group phone in meeting with a counselor where I would confess that I had relapsed and they would ask me:
“How many meetings have you been to?”
“Have you been praying?”
“Do you know why you relapsed?”
“Did you call your sponsor before you used?”
Is it possible that these are not the questions that we should be asking people who have had a slip?
Is it entirely possible that instead of asking these questions, we should be asking:
“Are you excited about your future?”
“Have you taken the time to figure out what you want your life to look like in a year from now?”
“Can I help you identify what needs to happen in your life so you don’t need to return to the drugs or alcohol?”
“Are you working with someone who can help you set goals and keep you accountable?”
NOW, I am not saying that people in recovery shouldn’t go to their meetings, pray, call a sponsor, etc.
Do ALL of these things if that is the recovery program that works for you!
Please keep doing that because as we know, without the sobriety, we are pretty much doomed.
As someone who has been in addiction recovery for over 15 years, I have seen a lot of what works and a lot of what doesn’t work.
I’m not writing this as my opinion, this is what I’ve observed to be the truth.
The people I know who have stayed sober and are happy are doing things with their lives that they are excited about.
No matter what stage of life they’re currently in, they have hope for their future. They have something specific to look forward to.
The people who come into a recovery program and fail to get a life for themselves outside of whatever recovery program they have decided to become a part of, are the ones who relapse.
This was my experience for the first 5 years of my own recovery. I was a chronic relapser because I never took the time to ask the important question: “What does my ideal future look like?”
I went to meetings, I prayed, I had a sponsor, I got involved in a 12-step group and I relapsed for 5 years.
I wasn’t excited about life and since I didn’t know what I wanted my future to look like, I felt very little hope.
I need to have excitement in my life.
If the life I’m leading, or the life I believe I’ll be leading in the future doesn’t excite me, I will find excitement by smoking crack again.
The next time your friend in recovery or your client has a slip, instead of asking them what happened, maybe take some time to ask them if they currently have a clear vision of their ideal future and if they're taking ACTION to make it their reality.
This has been the most effective relapse prevention plan I have ever worked!
Clear idea of the future + Action = Motivation, hope and confidence!