Four Ways Life Changes After Rehab

by AddictionCenter |

Life Immediately After Treatment

Nobody is truly “prepared” for recovery. Something happens and the next thing you know, you’re sober.

Getting clean and sober is often not the hard part of recovery—the real challenge comes from merging your past and present into a healthy future.

I made a choice to walk away from drugs and alcohol. They had a hold on me that kept me from being the man I felt destined to be. Once I made that choice, I didn’t want to look back. But I had to. If I wanted to move forward, my past would have to be part of my present.

I remember walking out of rehab and being confronted by a mix of emotions that can only be explained as comparable to leaving jail.

Suddenly, I realized how many things I had to re-learn or re-establish in my life. Some were exciting, some were overwhelming.

Four Things I Had to Do Post-Rehab

Create a new routine.

I had a routine while in treatment. I knew when to wake up, when to eat, and where to go. I had direction in my life for the first time in a long time. However, most of that direction came from someone else. Suddenly, I realized my day-to-day routine was on me to create and follow.

Understand this big, exciting world.

Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but everything in the world just seemed bigger and more amazing when I got out. Like a puppy playing in snow for the first time, I needed to understand this big “new” world.

Remove toxic influences.

It was on me to make the changes in my life moving forward. I had to be conscious of the life I wanted to live, and nobody could remove the negative people, places and things but me.

Confront my past.

Exiting the safety of recovery meant coming home to damage I’d caused, mounting bills, angry voicemails and prescriptions ready for pick up.

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Of all of these feelings, confronting the past was the hardest in that first week. It was like all the mayhem that I’d caused over the past years had piled up like a landfill at my doorstep.

The first thing I did was to make an effort to remove any stumbling blocks from my path. I went to pharmacies and reported myself as in recovery, asking them to please cancel or invalidate my prescriptions. I called my doctors to let them know what had happened and to immediately identify myself as an addict in recovery. I told on myself at every turn; not to shame, but to protect.

I’m allergic to drugs and alcohol, they make me break out in handcuffs.

- Robert Downey Jr.

To this very day (almost 11 years later), I still tell doctors of every kind that I’m “allergic” to all mind- and mood-altering substances. But this pattern of getting out in front of my demons was crucial to not being put into situations that would risk my sobriety.

I took on the 90/90 plan, traveling all around Orlando to visit 90 AA/NA meetings in 90 days. Regardless of your thoughts on the 12-step programs, this kept me in reality, constantly grateful for sobriety but very aware of my own capacity for self-destruction.

Recovery has been the best life I could ever dream of. But it wasn’t easy. It took legwork, and it begins at the beginning.

Sign-up for our newsletter

Vital perspectives on fighting addiction delivered straight to your inbox.

    What does it mean that this site is brought to you by Delphi Behavioral Health Group?

    We strive to be fully transparent in all of our relationships. To that end, we want you to be aware that AddictionCenter is compensated by Delphi Behavioral Health Group for the work AddictionCenter does in the development and operation of this site. Delphi Behavioral Health Group was carefully vetted and selected to be a trusted provider and partner with AddictionCenter, based on the quality of treatment that Delphi provides and their rigorous commitment to ethical practices. Learn more about why Delphi Behavioral Health Group is a trusted provider with AddictionCenter.

    All calls to numbers on individual facility listings will always go to the facility listed. All calls to general contact numbers and contact us forms on this site are routed to Delphi Behavioral Health Group. If Delphi Behavioral Health Group is unable to assist with a particular need they are committed to providing direction and assistance in finding appropriate care.

    Get 24/7 help now. All calls free and confidential.

    (855) 826-4464

    Take control of your life

    Our treatment specialists offer 24/7 assistance.

    • Access to top treatment centers
    • Caring, supportive guidance
    • Financial assistance options

    Call now:

    (855) 826-4464


    Have us call you:

    (877) 746-0480

      Where do calls go?

      Calls to numbers dedicated to a specific treatment center profile will be routed to that treatment center. All other calls will be routed to one of the treatment centers listed below.

      Rehab experts are available 24/7/365 to answer and return calls routed to:

      All calls are private and confidential.

      Find out more about AddictionCenter.

      A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.