A Response From Serenity Vista With Post Rehab Aftercare Suggestions
When we spend 45 – 90 days with a guest we come to care very deeply for them. We know the challenges are very great when a person returns home. Immediate post-rehab is a very slippery place. Our guests put a lot of effort into their Design For Living which is implemented immediately, beginning with stepping off the plane. The following is a response to an email received from a former guest. This former guest was wondering about an abrupt decision they had just made and wrote us for some feedback. We share these post rehab aftercare suggestions here for any other newcomers.
Dear Former Guest,
Hi! It is so good to hear from you. Thanks for writing.
How do you know if your decision was the ‘right thing to do’? Well, because that is the action you chose to take, and therefore, it is ‘right’. But of course there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, you just took an action and there are consequences. I love that we can’t do anything ‘wrong’ – we just make choices, and we deal with the outcome. And we get to choose again.
It is great you have already connected with the AA member you met while in treatment here. I really encourage you to stay close with him and his wife. They both have sobriety as their top priority, no matter what. I learned so so much from just ‘hanging out with the winners’ in AA. The ‘winners’ means those people staying sober with integrity and ‘walking their talk’.
You will find lots of newcomers in your community and probably a lot of chronic relapsers. Be friendly, but don’t be their friends; they can bring you down. Hang with the ‘winners’. When someone in new recovery like yourself tries to help chronic relapsers, often there are tragic results. You look after your own sobriety. You help people the most right now by welcoming the newcomer and visitor, shaking hands with people in the meeting, setting up chairs and making coffee. When asked, always share at the meetings. This is invaluable. Find the ‘meeting after the meeting’ where people go for coffee, if you can’t find one, start asking who wants to go for coffee or dinner after the meeting. Of course, only go if there are ‘winners’ going. Don’t give rides or accept rides from anyone who feels sketchy – trust your gut – just because a person has long-term abstinence doesn’t mean they are safe. There are predators in AA just like everywhere else.
It is good that you will look for a permanent sponsor. Your temporary sponsor might be able to direct you to someone. Sponsorship – good sponsorship – is vital. A sponsor’s job is to take you through the steps. Step 4 of course, must be done, as it says in the Big Book, ‘at once’. People that keep putting off Step 4 suffer needlessly and will eventually get drunk. I really encourage you to get through Steps 4 – 9 to the best of your ability with your good sponsor’s guidance. Stay in the literature and listen to all those great speakers and Charlie and Joe. You may find that there are special groups in your area going through the Steps. The groups last 12 or 13 weeks. They are usually awesome – depending on the motive of the people ‘running’ the group. Ask around; people will know the good/effective ones.
I imagine that coming back home to your family dynamics will hold its own difficulties. Wear the ‘world’ like a loose garment, live and let live. Look for the good, focus on the positive, stay in the solution, know that God is always on both sides of the table. Let your insides match your outsides, be authentic. Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it meanly. You should both stay out of trying to direct each other’s programs.
Of course the most most most important thing is don’t pick up. Just don’t drink, don’t pick up, NO MATTER WHAT. As bad as things may feel, if you pick up, they will get worse. Saying the 3rd Step prayer every morning, reading the daily reflection or some other quality daily reading will start the day right. Pause throughout the day when you are agitated, and say the Serenity Prayer.
We care so much about you and you have so much to do within the fellowship to help others. Always test what you hear from us and anyone else to see if it is congruent with The Program as outlined in the Big Book. Trust the literature – it works.
I don’t specifically know of any IOP in your area other than the two we talked about when you were here, Hazelden/Betty Ford and that other one mentioned in Pleasure Unwoven.
Please stay in touch, sometimes just the act of typing out an email can help a person get some clarity. John and I are both here to be of assistance in any way we can, at any time.
One day at a time,
With affection from Serenity Vista
If you are looking for personalized care and individualized treatment for addiction, we are ready here in tropical Panama to help. Private-pay means the program is not dictated by insurance companies. Consider your options for alcoholism, drug addiction treatment and nicotine rehabilitation at Serenity Vista. We will help you too with individualized treatment and support right through to post rehab aftercare suggestions.