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Completing a detoxification program is a huge step forward in our lives. For many of us, just walking through the doors of a detox center was one of the most difficult actions we had ever taken. Months or even years of drinking and/or using had left us physically and emotionally drained. We used what little motivation we could muster to propel ourselves through those doors and then accepted the help we had for so long denied ourselves.

During detox, we didn’t think much about what would happen next. We focused on the short-term healing offered to us and endured the inevitable pains of withdrawal. As we did, our health—sometimes slowly—improved. We ate regularly, hydrated ourselves, took our prescribed medication, and attended counseling sessions. Whatever was asked of us we did, for we knew we had to sever the powerful hold drugs and/or alcohol had over us.

Once our detox treatment had completed, we knew that we couldn’t just return to the lives we had been leading before. If we did, we would be putting our newfound recovery at great risk. Instead, we considered the options open to us and wisely decided that our recovery needed to come before anything else in life if we had any hope of staying clean and sober. Many of us who were successful in maintaining our recovery after detox took the suggestions below—3 tips on how to stay firmly rooted in recovery after detox is completed.

#1: Join a 12-Step Fellowship and Get a Sponsor

The most important decision many of us made while still in detox was to join a 12-Step fellowship and choose a sponsor. 12-Step meetings are gatherings of people who belong to a particular 12-Step recovery group, or fellowship. There are as many 12-Step groups as there are types of addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest of these fellowships and its original members were responsible for creating the first 12-Step program.

We had tried to recover on our own in the past and it simply did not work. We knew that, if we were going to stay clean and sober, we had to work a program, and becoming a part of a 12-Step fellowship needed to be at the center of our newly recovered lives. We started this process by going to a 12-Step meeting and, once there, we introduced ourselves to other meeting attendees. Before or after the meeting we asked an experienced member of the group to be our sponsor—a person who could guide us through the 12-Step recovery process.

#2: Do What Your Sponsor Suggests

Many of us had been living our lives pretty badly before we decided to get clean and sober. We made decisions based on our drinking/using and how we could best satisfy the demands of our disease placed on our lives. We cared little for the opinions of others and rarely took suggestions unless they served our own selfish goals.

When we joined a 12-Step fellowship, we were asked to begin living very differently. As a start, we had to stop doing things our own way and begin taking direction from someone who had once been where we were. That person was a sponsor: A member of our 12-Step fellowship who had both worked the 12 Steps and was actively working them now.

When our sponsors suggested that we do some simple things, we did them. For some of us, we were asked to call our sponsors each day and begin reading from the basic text of our 12-Step fellowship. As we took this direction, we quickly learned that doing so had great benefits for us. We began to feel an increasing sense of hope about our lives, a hope which many of us had long ago forgotten.

#3. Attend the Same Meetings Each Week

Meeting attendance was a crucial part of our early recovery—so much so that we could not afford to miss them except under the most extreme set of circumstances. Meetings were critical because it was at meetings that we heard other, like-minded recovering people share about their experiences before and after they started to recover. Meetings also helped us to connect with new friends, people on whom we might rely for support now and in the future. Finally, meetings helped us to stay centered in our recovery. Each meeting we attended strengthened our recovery by reminding us why our recovery needed to be placed at the top of our list of the most important things in our lives.

By regularly attending the same meetings each week, our connection to our 12-Step fellowship and its members was greatly strengthened. We accepted commitments at these meetings and became a trusted member of our 12-Step fellowship, thereby increasing our personal stake in how the meetings affected our (and others’) recovery. We became “a part of” where we had before been “apart from.”

Life after detox can be a life lived in active recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling from drug and alcohol abuse in Fort Lauderdale and ready to begin recovering, please call Summer House Detox Center now at 800-719-1090. Our addiction specialists are waiting to tell you about how to start living a completely new and exciting life! You can also visit us at 13550 Memorial Highway Miami, FL 33161. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.