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Completing a rehabilitation program is a major accomplishment worth celebrating. Despite this, staying sober is a lifelong process.
Assuming a treatment program can fix all your problems vastly underestimates the severity of what you’re going through. It takes a little time to get back to where you were before your addiction. But there are so many people who want to help you make it through life after rehab. Since you were in rehab, you may have to adjust to friends, family members or co-workers seeing you in a new light. Patients who leave rehab may have to re-adjust to their new lifestyles and find new friends. Returning to the same friends who encourage drinking or drug use does more harm than good, placing individuals in a vulnerable position. Others may have to find new careers and start new routines. Whatever decision one makes that is positive is supporting their decision to take control of their future and be proactive.
Addiction is a lifelong condition, but that doesn’t mean using substances has to continue after treatment. Dr. Ashish Bhatt, MD, talks aftercare, the importance of a TEAM, and why receiving treatment once you’ve finished rehabilitation is key.View All Videos
After completing detoxification and inpatient rehabilitation, a person in recovery will return to normal life. This includes work, family, friends, and hobbies. All these circles and events can trigger cravings and temptations.
Research suggests most relapses occur in the first 6 months after treatment. By understanding your triggers, you can better guard yourself against the coming difficulties.
Developing healthy relationships with drug-free people can be a wise decision. They can encourage the new-found healthy lifestyle, create positive distractions, and support positive change. In the long run, this is beneficial for someone leaving treatment and maintaining sobriety.
It is important to have a game plan for continuing care before you leave – or even start – your inpatient treatment. It will be easier to integrate the next phase of treatment if you already know where to start. Contacting a treatment provider could put you on that path.
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For people in recovery, life after rehab should be a time of continued progress toward long-lasting sobriety. Completing rehab is a big step, but continuing support is necessary to avoid relapse. After rehab, there are several great options for continuing support, all of which encourage a healthy lifestyle. Some of these include joining social groups that celebrate sobriety and take actions steps to keep members clean. The sense of accountability can be a healthy reminder for members to cherish their experience in treatment, while honoring their new lifestyle. Another options would be joining churches or getting involved in hobbies that encourage independence as well as positive focus. This takes the mind of past destructive activities while encouraging present-moment awareness.
A good therapist recognizes an addiction is not just a chemical dependence. It is often based on a lifestyle that may include stress and other triggers that lead to drug abuse. Therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy helps the recovering addict understand their underlying issues and address their addiction holistically. Individuals work with therapists to uncover distressing withdrawal symptoms or behaviors. Individual counseling serves a similar purpose, allowing patients to delve deep and uncover why they have certain emotions, or use substances to cope. This is powerful, as patients are connecting with different treatment methods. Exercises like mediation and biofeedback encourage patients to tune in and relax, while acting as a therapeutic outlet.
To promote accountability, it is important to have regular check-ups with a mental health professional. This ensures you are making progress and staying on course. Check-ups can be as infrequent as 4 times a year and involve a medical professional conducting exams to check vital signs. Since individuals have exposed themselves to harmful substance, they can develop side effects such as wounds, breathing and heart problems; sleeping problems; weight loss or weight gain and muscle twitching. Ensuring you are healthy is a start to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Long the standard of addiction treatment support, 12-Step programs are available in both general and substance-specific formats. The 12-Step programs originated with Alcoholics Anonymous but have grown to include many other drugs, from Nicotine to Crack Cocaine. The 12-Step method relies on admitting powerlessness and relying on a higher power. They also include admitting wrongdoing and assuming responsibility for broken relationships or harming others. There are many different 12-Step programs are available, tailored to each individual’s religious style, reference, and cultural values.
It is important to find a support group of some kind, whether it is based on the 12-Step model or not. Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) is one of the most popular alternatives to 12-step groups. SMART is based on research-proven methods for recovery and teaches people that they can take control of their addiction. Alternatively, groups like teenagers may find support groups with their problems in mind at treatment centers. Support groups for members of the LGBTQ community may be available, as groups may be for members of specific ethnic groups.
Relay is a digital support group app that matches you to a team of peers to stay connected and accountable.
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Rehab opens up many new possibilities and achievable goals that may have once seemed impossible. Those in recovery have to prepare for the changes in their lifestyle and how it will affect them in their social lives. At first, entering a sober life often means coping with boredom, loneliness, or helplessness. Activities that once centered on using drugs or alcohol may seem boring in recovery. But there are many drug and alcohol-free activities that can provide a mental and social outlet. Some drug-free hobbies recovering addicts can pick up include:
Those in recovery can use the money saved from not buying drugs for countless other activities and events. The important thing is to remember that you don’t have to be high or drunk to enjoy life after rehab.
Building a daily routine also provides a familiar structure that prevents boredom and thoughts about using. Going to bed at a regular time, attending support groups, and making time for new hobbies creates stability and something to look forward to.
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Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction may be one of the hardest things you can ever do. It won’t be a quick and easy process, and it requires a lifelong commitment to a sober lifestyle. If you’re getting ready to start rehab and you have questions about what you’ll do once you finish, contact a treatment provider today.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
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A survivor of addiction himself, David Hampton is a Certified Professional Recovery Coach (CPRC) and a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC).
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