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How to Stay Sober or Clean for Life

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How to Stay Sober or Clean for Life


After rehabilitation, your desire for a sober or clean life is likely at its strongest. A preview of a better life can attract you to aim toward an improved health. Going back to where you came from isn’t an option anymore, but rehab is just the first step. After rehabilitation, you may meet another “demon” – it is called RELAPSE. 

Addictive substances have ruined countless of lives. It did not happen because there was no effort to stop it on the level of the affected, nor their families, but because many have not successfully stayed long enough in their aftercare program for it to work. Addiction and relapse are not easy adversaries in life. These can change the way you think and view life, alter your decisions and weaken your resolve.

Staying sober or clean for life can be difficult to achieve without professional help. Rehab and medically-assisted detox are important initial steps in pursuing a life free from addictive substances, but treatment must continue beyond the rehab center. To stay sober or clean, asking for help and receiving treatment are critical.    


Under the Magnifying Lens

Addiction isn’t a small concern in the United States and around the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 5.4 percent of the global population has addiction issue. In America, about “23.5 million Americans, age 12 years or older, need treatment for drug abuse,”  says the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Of the figure, only 2.6 million or 11.2 percent are being treated, while a whopping 20.9 million or 88.8 percent do not receive any treatment.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), alcohol dependence is more common at about 80 percent, while it is estimated that about seven million people struggle with drug addiction. What is worthy to note is the observation that after rehab, the chance of relapse is very high, ranging from 60 to 90 percent.

Addiction is difficult to defeat for several reasons. One, it is a chronic disorder. This means that the behavior can be compulsive, so that addicts seek out the addictive substance, even when they know that it isn’t good for them. Two, it can damage the brain. Addictive substances can alter the ways your brain is wired, decreasing brain activity, particularly the area involved in making judgments and decisions. Then three, recovery is challenging because of relapse. It is now accepted that relapse is “part and parcel of recovery. This implies that it is natural to relapse, but with aftercare, it can be curbed.


The Burden Called Relapse

The path to wellness is anything but easy or straight forward. It is more difficult than you think because of the tendency to fail or backslide in your effort to overcome addiction. This is called relapse. Relapse is the foremost obstacle that will stand in your recovery path from addiction. It can diminish your gains, so you may go back to where you started. If there is one thing you must learn about relapse, it is the fact that is expected to occur during the recovery process.

Noting that the brain is affected by addiction, relapse isn’t exactly a “failed effort,” or because you are undisciplined and/or weak. Backsliding happens because of the changes in the way the brain is wired after heavy or prolonged use of an addictive substance. This is why psychologist Charlotte Boettiger regards addiction as a disease, rather than a character flaw. This justifies the opinion that relapse is a “typical part of recovery.”  Despite the idea, it remains a major challenge for anyone who wants to keep and sustain their advances from rehabilitation.


The Game Plan: Sustaining Effort and Keeping Gains

Relapse is not an easy adversary to defeat. The number of people succumbing to it is a strong proof that you would have a difficult time sustaining and keeping your advances made during rehabilitation. This is the basis for saying that “recovery can be a lifelong healing process” or that “staying clean or sober can be a lifetime of healing and prevention.”  It doesn’t mean, though, that you cannot win over it or that you are totally helpless against it. There is a higher chance to succeed if you seek aftercare in the hands of a trustworthy behavioral health professional.

Remember that you need a game plan that will help you sustain your effort and protect, as well as advance your gains. Your game plan must include an aftercare plan that works, being well-thought out, well-planned, and tailored to you. Being a chronic condition, the process can run on and on while relapse persistently “breaths down your neck.” Your energy level, enthusiasm and keenness in achieving your wellness goals may wane with time. This is when aftercare can catch you like a safety net.


Counseling and Aftercare

An aftercare is the treatment program that will help sustain your effort to stop addiction and safeguard the gains you made while in rehab. The core element of an effective aftercare is counseling. Counseling can be especially productive when you are encircled by powerful psychosocial forces for substance abuse. If you are trapped in a complex labyrinth of relapse, disentangle yourself from its lasting effects with the help of a good aftercare program and counselor.

As avoiding relapse requires a change in lifestyle, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be combined with other approaches to facilitate the process. Since addiction has the potential to damage relationships and the recovering addict can do better with the support of family, family counseling and/or marriage counseling can be utilized in an aftercare program. Because addiction can be a lifetime burden, “maintenance therapy or counseling” is the first line of defense for many.


Sticking to the Right Aftercare

The decision to commit to medically-assisted detox and rehab is a big, wonderful step toward your wellness goals. To advance closer to a beautiful and clean or sober life after rehab, you must avoid relapse as you continue your healing beyond rehabilitation. A strategy that works to stay sober or clean is to have an aftercare program that is effective and suitable for you. There are several aftercare options. You can receive them from rehab facilities. If you wish to sustain your effort, stick to your game plan and find a counseling facility that’s close to home. In the northern part of Fayetteville, NC, that would be Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

The right fit counselor/therapist independently contracted with CCS – North Fayetteville Office and our many other convenient locations, can help you overcome addiction by diminishing the power of relapse through a quality, personalized aftercare program. The individualized program works because the relapse prevention strategy centers on your exact concerns, thereby increasing your chance for a positive outcome. With an aftercare treatment plan that has been tailored to address your unique needs, the future looks encouraging, bright and promising. 

Relapse is the real enemy next to addiction. Do not quit on your effort when it seems too tough. Do not feel helpless and aimless. Focus on your goals and call Carolina Counseling Services. We can help you meet your right-fit therapist who can tailor an aftercare treatment plan for you. It is time to move past your challenges and continue where you left off. Bounce back now. Take a quantum leap onward with CCS – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

How Do I Set Up my FIRST Appointment?

  • Call: 910-636-0011 (Fastest way to schedule)
  • Text: 910-308-3291 (Reply will be via phone)
  • Click here and use our Contact Form (You must include your phone number, because replies will only be made by telephone to ensure security/privacy)
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  • Appointment scheduling for NEW clients: Mon-Fri
  • Established/Standing Appointments are made directly with your therapist!
  • Referrals: MOST beneficiaries do NOT need a Referral!

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC