After The PARC

When you’ve completed your treatment program at The PARC we prepare you for your future healthy life in recovery. We’ve done a great deal of hard work on ourselves, but now is the time to test drive your new body, and continue working on your brain, relationships, finances, career, and so much more.

Admitting you have an addiction and being willing to seek treatment to help yourself recover is a massive step forwards on the journey towards great health. Still, the 30, 60 or even 90 days that you spend in treatment with us are just a small fraction of the rest of your life. You should have very fond memories of your time spent at The PARC, that will stay with you forever. But to really succeed in your long-term recovery, you’ll now need to focus on how best to maintain this newfound grace in the “real world”.

Here are some of The PARCs suggestions as to what you can do to protect yourself and your ongoing recovery:

See the bigger picture, ODAAT

Whilst you’re in treatment, your attention is mainly always on the next few days. However, to remain in good and healthy recovery you’ll have to focus on the bigger picture, albeit one day at a time.
What do we mean by “one day at a time”?
Well it would be considered unusual for you in early recovery to be able to truly believe that you could remain abstinent from your addiction for the rest of your life, but it’s very achievable to believe that you could do it for a single day. So, all you need to do is to be able to believe that you can remain in recovery for one day at a time. And sometimes, when the urge is on you, its 1 hour at a time, and sometimes even 5 minutes at a time. We chunk the times down to suit the urgency and size of the obsession. But as we get into the rhythm of life in recovery, one day at a time becomes the norm. We can have lasting recovery, one day at a time.

You might experience days where you’re struggling with your reaction to certain people, places or situations. You may be frustrated that your life isn’t matching your expectations, or you feel that life is being unusually unkind on you specifically (it’s not), but by staying focused on your long-term goal of surviving and thriving in recovery, you can better handle the ups and downs of early recovery.

Staying sober is a lifelong commitment, though admitting or accepting that at the beginning is usually very tough, particularly at the primary care stage. But it is our duty to help our residents understand that they have an illness that will not serve them in the long run and unless they are prepared to accept abstinence and recovery, then their life trajectory will continue to deteriorate. During treatment and early recovery, you can set the foundation for this by building your recovery community up around you, establishing healthy habits, and learning which practices are most helpful for you. You’ll learn to recognize people, places and situations that either upset you or excite you, leaving you more vulnerable towards returning to your addiction, primary or otherwise.  You’ll also begin to recognise the importance of feeling comfortable enough to ask for help when you need it. This is something that people with addiction typically struggle with.  Over time, this attitude of asking for help when you need it, rather than belligerently crashing onwards will significantly strengthen your recovery, not least as you learn new life skills and ways of achieving goals.

“Life simply sucks better sober.”

Just because you’re in recovery now, does not automatically mean you’re going to live happy ever after. But you are going to live happier, and most likely for a great deal longer.

Once you’ve graduated The PARC you’re ready to test drive your recovery on the road. Whilst you’ve learnt how to maintain this state in treatment, taking your recovery back home can be a big step upwards. It can be bring up fears and concerns, many of which are genuine challenges (some of which may also be overblown and exaggerated – you’ll see). So be a realist and have reasonable expectations. The past traumas, underlying mental health issues and many other social factors (family, work, housing, children, financial, etc) that contributed to your deteriorating state whilst in active addiction may still be in your vicinity, particularly post rehab. The main difference is that you’ll now be able to deal with them in more appropriate ways. If you’ve followed the processes and taken the work seriously at The PARC, then you’ll have evolved quite significantly emotionally, spiritually and mentally.

But just like real life for the rest of the world, life can still suck. It’s just better and easier to manage when you’re in recovery.  Recovery isn’t a picnic, especially in the early months after returning home from treatment. Whilst you’re getting on with rebuilding your new life, life can still throw difficult situations your way, but the magnitude of the “Suck” is significantly reduced once you’re free from your addiction.

You get to be clear and level headed and so dealing with your challenges no longer brings with it the same levels of stress, anxiety, fear and terror. You can go about sorting the problems out in a mature way and know that when you put your head on the pillow that you (mostly) did your best. You may still occasionally get pulled over by the cops, but when you’re in recovery, the worst its likely to be is a speeding ticket.

When you’re overwhelmed you can talk to your (ex) treatment peers & recovery friends from the meetings, you can go to meetings, meditate, exercise, sleep or utilise some of the other tools we’ve learnt about yourself that serve your welfare. However, you’ll have to accept that sometimes you’re simply not going to feel great. Life can still be challenging and expose you to events that you can struggle with. The world keeps spinning and turning. It’s you that’s changed but not the world. So, no matter how transformational your experience at The PARC was, be prepared for life on life’s terms and take the good with the tough.

Sponsorship and the 12 Step Program.

The 12 step program will set you free from your addiction. So long as you’re willing to let it work, then it will. If you have resistance or reservations in your mind, then you make the task of recovery tougher for yourself. But over time, your faith in the 12 step program will grow and you’ll appreciate the benefits the program is giving you, which in turn will lead to your full acceptance of the simplicity of the program.

When you work through The PARC Workbook and the 12 Step Recovery program with our team and the other residents, you’ll be introduced to the concept of getting a Sponsor once you’ve graduated. A Sponsor is someone who will continue to engage with you and work with you in a 12 Step capacity on a daily basis. A Sponsor is like a Mentor, who’ll share their experience of recovery with you and help you navigate the potential pitfalls along your path. Furthermore, your Sponsor will work the whole 12 Step Program with you in a more thorough and focused way, permitting you to excel and exceed even further into the joys that full and sincere recovery has to offer you. They will also endeavour to keep you connected to your Higher Power / Higher Purpose, which is likely to be one of the major contributions towards your stable recovery.

12 Step Fellowships & Recovery friends

After you leave The PARC you may well feel a bit lonely and maybe bored sometimes. Many of the people that you spent time with during active addiction aren’t safe to be around now that you’re building a life in recovery. You may be re-evaluating your relationships with some of your friends and even some of your family. Maybe they’re healthy for you and maybe some of them are not.

The 12 Step Fellowship meetings you attend and the people you make friends with there can help fill any gaps you may be feeling. Attend 12 step Fellowship meetings (every day if possible). Go to recovery Unity events and conventions and volunteer to be of service (contribute) at the meetings and events. This will give you a further sense of purpose and is great for your self-esteem / self-worth. Also, during meetings, try to share, even if it’s just to say you’re grateful to be there. It doesn’t need to be anything too complex. A simple introduction will be sufficient for some of the other members to then come up and talk with you. You’ll make friends very fast by opening your mouth in the meetings. And from there, go out for coffee after the meeting or arrange to meet beforehand for some food. You’ll see just how fast things will take off and how quickly you’ll make new friends.

You can also reignite your friendships with those people from your past whom you know to be safe to be around. Old friends who’ll resect your recovery boundaries and won’t be expecting you to behave as before, and not likely to engage in those behaviours themselves either.

Although putting yourself out there can be scary, the benefits of having recovery and healthy friends who care about you and your success are invaluable.

In recovery, there are no losers.
Just very slow winners.


This is another way of saying please don’t give up – ever. A relapse (or any other setback) is only a failure if you don’t get back up again. Not everyone finds recovery in their first effort. After all, if quitting your addiction was easy then it wouldn’t be an addiction. If giving up was easy, then you’d never need any help at all. But it isn’t easy. The very nature of it tells us that this time will be different or that this time we can engage in our addiction safely and without consequences, failing to recall the very pain and degradation we experienced the last time we engaged in it.

So, if you do relapse, don’t give up and resign yourself to your addiction once again. Just consider the new day as a new starting point, pick yourself up and begin again. Don’t give up, as the trajectory for living life happy, joyous and free is highly unlikely be upwardly pointing until you give yourself another chance, another day, another opportunity at your recovery.

And never believe that you go back to “zero” when you relapse. That false idea can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. You still have everything you’ve already learned and memories of all the ways you’ve changed. By beginning again, the next day after a relapse, you’re contributing to your earlier success, rather than forgetting the strides you previously made.

Being in recovery doesn’t just improve your character — it heightens it.

Being in abstinence based recovery removes the blurry filters that your mood altering addiction would have put in place and reveals a more organic version of yourself to you and to those who know you. It’s a double-edged blessing as there will be times when you love your new self and other times where you’ll struggle to recognise yourself. But this will pass. We promise. Don’t let this define your recovery, but rather recognize it as just the next stage of your development. The process follows this path as your recovery matures, and you can’t truly be in good and healthy recovery, or even be particularly happy, until you’ve moved through this stage. Typically, this comes alongside working the 12 steps, particularly steps 9 through to 12.
Recovery gives us this proactive and positive self-reflection, humility, gratitude, new goals, hobbies, and better behaviours.

Don’t forget to take care of your temple.

At The PARC you’ll see a great emphasis on psychical health and great nutrition. We encourage our residents to move their body and change their state, because we know that motion = emotion – i.e. when we move our bodies, we feel better about ourselves. So, when you’re feeling tense or moody or upset somehow, go for a workout, or a swim. Go and do something that involves taking your mind off your perceived problems and change how you feel through sport, yoga, swimming or even dancing.

One of the paradoxes of many addictions, most easily displayed through alcohol and narcotics, but it’s the same with all addictions, is that we use the substance to help ourselves feel better. We have understood how we can change our mood and instantly feel better about ourselves by consuming something artificial. But during your time at The PARC, you’ll have realised there are other ways of changing how we feel. Taking a bath. Reading a book. Playing a game. Eating some good food. Speaking to a loved one on the phone. You’ll have discovered that you can change your emotional state through healthy and natural methods. So, let’s put these realisations into use when you return home.

These activities will be your tool kit for success in the future. Figure out what activities you enjoy. Take risks by exploring other activities, new to you. See what you enjoy and then go for it. Live life beyond your previous boundaries and see how things open up for you.

Gratitude

One of the common threads you’ll hear all people in long term recovery say is just how grateful they are for the life they’ve been given since coming into recovery. Life has taken on a new meaning and the realisation that they don’t need the drama in their lives to have fun but find solace in activities that suit their preferences personally, leads to expressed gratitude for life.

Seek your own path towards unwrapping the gratitude within you. For many it can come through meditation and prayer. For others it comes through the process of helping others and seeing what you can bring into the quality of someone else’s life. Some people find gratitude on a walk or when they’ve achieved a goal. It’s actually easy to find gratitude for things in life once you stop and calculate all the things you’ve got to be grateful for.

What we have learnt over the many years of experiencing life in our own recovery, is that when we’re in a place of being able to feel grateful for our recovery, that we’re highly unlikely to relapse. It’s a beautiful way of ensuring we stay on track. So, try to adopt an attitude of gratitude and keep practicing it. With time you’ll come to realise that you are experiencing gratitude on many levels.

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