Young adults are extremely impressionable, and tend to follow in the footsteps of their friends and peers. Unfortunately, just because a friend seems to be able to balance substance use and a normal lifestyle doesn’t mean this will apply to you. Everyone’s chemical composition is different, and levels of addiction can be high in one individual and low in another. Genetic factors can also contribute to the likelihood of addiction in generations to come.
The term “rehab” has a negative connotation, especially among young adults who are generally misinformed about what treatment truly entails and how it can be beneficial for all types of people, suffering from all types of addiction. Young adults who can identify their issues and choose to seek treatment should be commended, as admitting you have an addiction at an early age can be extremely difficult. Fear of shame, judgement, and embarrassment is common, but treatment is necessary and shouldn’t be pushed aside because of social intimidation from peers.
Completing a rehabilitation program is a great achievement for young adults with an addiction, but it’s only the beginning of the journey toward sober living. Adjusting to a new lifestyle after rehab is challenging, and the likelihood of relapse is very high in the first year.
But there are steps you can take to improve your chances of staying sober. One is choosing the right activities after rehab. Outlined are three activities you can try that will keep you occupied and focused on the longevity of your sobriety.
Physical activity is good for everyone, but it can be especially helpful for those recovering from addiction. Researchers say that people who exercise regularly are less likely to abuse substances. Exercise decreases the likelihood of depression and anxiety, two factors that generally lead to drug abuse. It helps boost self-confidence as your physical appearance improves, and allows you to focus your energy on a positive, stress-relieving habit.
Regular exercise is an effective strategy in reducing the risk of relapse because it is a positive way of experiencing pleasure. During exercise, the brain releases endorphins (chemicals that make you feel good) — ever heard of runner’s high? Runner’s high is a euphoric feeling that stems from aerobic exercise, associated with the release of endorphins in the brain. Your well-being and natural pleasure sensors improve greatly when you exercise regularly.
Exercise and physical activity can be cheap or free. If you can’t afford to join a gym, you can go running in your neighborhood, do yoga, or workout at home by investing in basic weights and equipment.
Exercise is also a good way to fill your spare time and prevent boredom. When you’re in recovery, having too much idle time can make you dwell on the challenges of staying sober and increase the chances of relapse.
2. Creative Writing
Creative writing is not the same as journaling (writing about one’s feelings or experiences), a technique that therapists use to help their clients work through painful life experiences.
Creative writing means writing about an imaginary or true event and expressing your feelings about a particular aspect of life. The aim of this activity is to make you see the world in a new light and discover who you are. By expanding your thoughts and your mind, creative writing allows you to envision different scenarios. It serves as a form of inspiration and can help with visualizing the possibilities the future can hold.
According to a 2017 study from Denmark, alcoholics who participated in a creative writing course reported increased self-confidence and more enjoyment for life. Other researchers have shown that writing helps patients with various medical conditions get better.
Some researchers do warn that writing about traumatic events may not help patients. So, focus on writing about positive things rather than your negative thoughts. Feeding into and elaborating on those bad feelings could cause you to feed into past trauma in an unhealthy manner.
You can write about a person, a place you want to visit or a true event. If you don’t like writing stories, try poems or song lyrics. Writing keeps your mind busy and may help you discover your new favorite hobby.
3. Helping Others
Young adults battling drug addiction or alcoholism are likely to become healthier and happier if they help others. Volunteering gives you a sense of purpose, keeps you accountable, and makes you feel good.
Research has shown that young adults are more likely to stay sober if they help others. According to doctors, helping others improves young adults’ chances of remaining sober because it makes them feel less self-absorbed and egocentric, two feelings related to addiction.
Time Magazine says helping others is the key to happiness. But for young adults recovering from addiction, not just any volunteering activity will be equally effective. You need to help people you feel closely related to, such as other adolescents fighting addiction or young adults battling mental illness and other trauma.
Helping others with the same problem as yours reminds you how much alcohol or drugs can ruin a person’s life, and it may help you commit to remaining sober. Seeing the detrimental effects of drug and alcohol abuse first-hand can be a huge reality check for those verging on addiction, or coming out of their own.
Our Relapse Prevention Workshop
The longer young adults stay sober after rehab, the higher their chances of staying sober for the rest of their life. More than half of those who stay sober for a year will relapse, but less than two in ten people who stay sober for five years will relapse.
At Scottsdale Recovery Center, Arizona, we’re committed to offering all the help you need to stay on the path to sobriety. We offer specific services targeting adolescents and young adults that have proven to be effective in treating drug and alcohol addictions in younger generations. During our relapse prevention workshops, we’ll develop a plan to help you stay sober for the long-term. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, call us today and let’s discuss which treatment option would be best for you.
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Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 866.893.6816.