When I am on vacation, I have a hard time talking about or even recalling my day-to-day life in New York City. I forget restaurant names, train stops, addresses; it’s almost like I can’t remember my daily life at all. Sometimes I worry how I will integrate when I return home from vacation.
Luckily, the very second that I step back into the airport I am immediately swept back into my “real life;” and the things I couldn’t remember on vacation come back to me, as if my body has memory. Immediately, I am swept back into my old schedule and routines without having to think twice – it’s almost like I never went on vacation at all.
A similar experience occurs for many who return from rehab, which makes falling into old habit a real concern for a person in recovery. After all, none of the stressors of real life have changed, but everything that person used to cope is still out there – and they still know how and where to get it.
The return to real life is jarring; a plan must be in place to continue care post-discharge. The first few months after going to a treatment facility are very important, people that don’t make changes to their lives, or don’t attend after care programs have a low chance of success. It’s just too easy to fall back into old habits, especially without any way of being held accountable.
Instinctively falling into old habits happens immediately and
subconsciously. When I return to my
childhood home, 25 years later, I still throw my jacket on the same chair I did
when I came home from high school. There
is no thought about it.
For someone to successfully recover, work needs to be done in his or her daily living situations. This takes time. There is a saying that anyone can stay sober in a treatment facility. Additional time and energy must be spend on recovery on return home.
After care plans can be intensive, like choosing to live away from home either on the campus of the treatment center or in a sober living house. It is a lot to take on, but these programs need to be intense, because that’s how the focus can remain in recovery and maintaining newer, healthier habits.
Adam Banks is a certified recovery coach and interventionist at Suntra Modern Recovery. He received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company which United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.