For anyone struggling with addiction, life after rehab is both an exciting and terrifying prospect. Individuals who have completed rehab programs look forward to the days ahead when they can enjoy a fulfilling life outside the clutches of addiction. However, the potential for relapse hangs overhead at all times. A simple way to view the circumstance is to see detox and rehab as battles that have been won in a war that will rage on throughout life. It is essential for an individual to remain vigilant and never let their guard down as they face life outside of rehab. Their mind and body likely became accustomed to daily activities under the influence, and reverting to that life is often easier than maintaining sobriety.
Completing a rehab program is typically a difficult process, and if you have made it to the end, you deserve the feeling of pride and accomplishment you are likely experiencing. Make no mistake — life will throw some things your way that will make staying on this path difficult.
Your life in active addiction was routine. You had adapted to the lifestyle and knew how to go about your daily life within the crippling grasp of your addiction. You also used your drug of choice as a coping mechanism. However, your new lifestyle may be uncharted territory, and you will need to stay focused on prioritizing your recovery over the trappings of the world as you learn how to maintain a sober life, happy, joyous and free!
Before You Leave Rehab
Your transition process adjusting to life after rehab will likely not be a smooth ride, but there are steps you can take to make it a little easier. The last thing you want is to leave your rehab facility with no plans in place. The stress of responsibilities can weigh on you easily, so the more you can do ahead of time to make the transition easy, the better prepared you will be to face your new life.
There are a few things you should try to have in place before you leave rehab, such as:
- Know where to turn for help if you are struggling
- Know where your triggers are and how to avoid those individuals and places
- Plan activities and connections with sober friends
- Know where your local support groups are and what days and times they meet
- Plan your daily routine in detail
- Follow all treatment recommendations for therapy and or IOP
- Be careful to follow all Medical recommendation after you leave, talk with your PCP and tell on yourself. Be honest.
- Have living arrangements that meet your needs in place
What Happens After Rehab
When you make the transition from an inpatient rehab facility to life in the outside world, you will face challenges unlike any you have ever had to deal with before. Your war on addiction is one that will rage on throughout your life, and completing rehab is a crucial step in attaining and maintaining sobriety. In your effort to stay sober after you leave rehab, the first step is to have an established plan that will help you to adhere to the lessons you have learned so far in recovery.
Working with an addiction counselor is a great way to create a long-term recovery plan that will help you maintain your focus and avoid relapse. It is vital to make your goals clear in your plan. The more detailed and specific you are, the better your chances of staying sober will be. Individuals who leave rehab and attempt to get back into a routine without a concrete plan in place often find that they fall back into their old habits and quickly relapse. If you are working on a post-rehab plan, some of the things you should take into consideration include the following:
- Impulse control. Know your habits and tendencies, and how to handle them.
- Support groups or aftercare. Planning on which local meetings you will join and attend regularly is crucial.
- Hobbies. Your hobbies before rehab likely included drugs or alcohol. It is essential to find new sober activities that you enjoy.
- Relationships. Your interpersonal connections with family, friends, and others in your life may have been damaged by your addiction but are not beyond repair. Working with a counselor and other individuals in your support groups is a great way to learn how to start rebuilding these relationships.
- Goals. Listing your goals and the specific steps you will take to achieve them is an integral component in maintaining your sobriety.
Being Prepared for Battle
After you finish rehab, you will be going back into the outside world and facing a daily battle to maintain your sobriety outside the safe walls of your rehab facility. This can be a frightening prospect, but if you have the tools in place to fight the temptations you will face, you are more likely to be able to make the transition with ease.
Some of the things you should keep in mind include the following:
- Housing. It is crucial to live in a sober environment when you leave your rehab facility. The temptation to relapse will be present in many ways, and your home should be a safe haven where you can escape from situations that may threaten your recovery. Every individual has a different set of circumstances that they must adjust to. Sometimes families are damaged by one’s addiction, or the family environment itself includes drug and alcohol use, which rules out moving in with family. Oftentimes halfway houses or sober houses are the best way to transition to living on your own. These houses provide a safe, sober place to live while in the first stages of recovery. Individuals often find their housemates in these facilities to be a beneficial component of their support network too.
- Treatment. Finishing rehab alone isn’t necessarily a pass on any further treatment. Outpatient programs are sometimes necessary as a means to stay on the right path and get the necessary counseling to deal with the issues you will face. These ongoing treatment and support programs are less intense than in-patient rehab, but they provide valuable guidance and aid for individuals who are adjusting to life outside rehab. Take suggestions!
- Healthy habits. One of the best ways to maintain sobriety is to focus on your physical health after rehab and implement physical workout routines into your new lifestyle. This is a tool that can also help you to develop healthy social interactions with others. When you create a workout routine with others who practice healthy lifestyles, you are less likely to be drawn into relationships with individuals who will facilitate a relapse. Other activities and hobbies can also help to keep you distracted from unhealthy practices. Work on developing new interests and hobbies, as well as attending events that introduce you to others who avoid the trappings of drug and alcohol use.
- Social circles. The company you keep is the biggest influence on your ability to maintain sobriety. Peer pressure is a strong influence on anyone, especially individuals who are recovering from addiction. For this reason, it is essential to cultivate friendships that nurture your sobriety and remove all of those that will lead to the temptation to use. Communicating with the people you trust is a key factor in staying sober, as you can’t do it alone. A strong support system will hold you up in times when you feel weak. You will soon learn how to identify those who are negative influences and cut them out of your life in exchange for others who will be respectful of your sobriety.
Stay Focused and Enjoy Life
Although it may seem frightening at first, heading out into the world after rehab can be a rewarding experience that you never knew before. If you know the best practices in maintaining your sobriety and have a plan ahead of time, it will make your transition much easier. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you must prioritize your sobriety over everything else. It is the key to enjoying life to the fullest and staying away from those temptations that will lead you into a downward spiral. With the tools you learned in rehab and the support networks you develop through counseling and group meetings, you will be able to transition into your new life and fight the battles ahead as you continue your recovery.