Completing a drug rehab program is a great feeling and accomplishment. However, transitioning to normal life after rehab has a tendency to leave people feeling a bit anxious and full of questions about what comes next.
While in rehab, daily life is very planned and regimented, giving the person in treatment fewer options to deviate from their schedule. This is done to restore a semblance of normalcy back into their lives after living in addiction, which is usually riddled with chaos.
Naturally, integrating back into a life without this sort of structure can seem scary and overwhelming. So, it is critical that a winning strategy is in place to maintain sobriety after rehab.
Planning Ahead For Life After Rehab During Rehab
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates 23.5 million Americans aged 12 years or older need treatment for drug abuse each year of which only about 11 percent seek treatment. This means that almost 2.6 million Americans each year undergo treatment for drug addiction and in turn have to reintegrate back into their lives.
An all-inclusive plan and aftercare program are crucial parts of long-term recovery for anyone who has completed an addiction treatment program. Keep in mind that the treatment program is only the beginning and is simply the foundation for recovery.
Living life sober is a daily commitment to seeing your program through each and every day. It’s not over just because an inpatient residence has been completed and long-term recovery requires a mindset that understands the daily work that goes into sustaining what was learned in the program.
Addiction treatment programs should prepare you ahead of time for what the transition may look and feel like by warning and educating around what to expect and how to make healthy decisions outside of the confines of its safe walls.
Often it’s also a good idea to get family and friends involved before transitioning out of rehab so they can serve as a guide for you as well as offer encouragement by also knowing how to handle the new you.
Should You Consider An Aftercare Facility or Sober Living Housing?
Sober living or aftercare can create an essential stepping-stone from a rehab facility into the real world. While in rehab, an addict has had the opportunity to be protected and sheltered from the outer world.
The isolation from triggers and breaking away from the shackles of bad habits that is found through rehab is very necessary for recovery. However, introducing someone recovering back into the same environment they came from can be tricky.
Sober living in a halfway house is just that, a halfway point of living where there is a bit more flexibility and freedom than that of a rehabilitation facility, but at the same time offers great support and an environment that is conducive to maintaining sobriety through abstinence.
Helpful Tips To Avoid Relapse In Early Addiction Recovery
Managing triggers and temptations is the name of the game in sobriety. If you can master your ability to manage triggers and to be aware of what sets you off or tempts you, you will flourish in your sobriety.
Being able to tune into yourself now that you have more clarity from your recovery is such a gift. Embrace your ability to avoid relapsing by listening to yourself and following along in what you learned during treatment.
Most people who relapse do so because they do not have a plan in place or are not following their plan or their intuition. There are certain things you can do to set yourself up for success in sobriety by avoiding relapsing.
- Stick to a healthy daily routine and schedule so that you lower or eliminate places where triggers can occur.
- Having structure helps to keep things stress-free and straightforward. Keeping stress levels low will help keep away thoughts of dealing with stress by using or drinking.
- Avoid parties and bars for a while as those places put a user at a much higher risk of relapse. It’s better not to put yourself in situations, especially initially, until you are unyielding in your sobriety and have no desire to drink or use drugs whatsoever before entering into a party or bar scene.
- Understand that some friendships and relationships will need to change or even end. Old friends who are still partying, using and drinking may not be the best influence during such a sensitive transition.
- Don’t go at it alone. Have a support group in place to help you navigate the new waters of living sober. Having a good support system will help you to feel less alone, and it will also help to hold you accountable.
- Stick with a spiritual practice, whatever that may look like for you. Whether it’s prayer, church, yoga, meditation, dance or exercise, be sure to keep your body and mind grounded by having a release that helps you surrender each day.
- Allow yourself some time for reflection and processing. Journaling or continuing with counseling or therapy is an excellent way to keep mental clarity throughout the transition process.
- Be aware of warning signs of relapse and pay attention if you feel yourself getting close to any of them. Some relapse symptoms may include: being dishonest, becoming overly tired or stressed, depression, irritability, or being overly confident and stubborn about needing any help.
Rehab is not a quick fix for getting clean, but it is a step in the right direction for sober living. There are many strategies and ways to get clean and stay sober. Finding a treatment program, aftercare plan and the tools that work best to sustain recovery have proven to work for many people.
Ultimately, getting sober is a decision and a commitment to living above the influence that takes hard work and dedication during and after treatment.