Life after drug rehab can be daunting to a recovering addict attempting to figure out where and how to start his new life. Many drug treatment centers will offer aftercare planning, which may be continuing outpatient services, moving into a halfway house, and adjusting to a new city. Yet, probably the most important thing is getting mentally ready for life after rehab.
If you’re still unsure of how to tackle this new chapter in your life, here are a few steps to get you started on the right track.
Understand that Drug Rehab Is Not a Cure for Addiction
Currently, there is no cure for addiction, but it can be managed effectively so that a person remains sober after treatment. Still, living in recovery requires serious effort, dedication, and patience in order to successfully abstain from drugs and alcohol. Don’t be misguided into thinking drug rehab will be the cure-all, end-all to your addiction and that life after treatment will be a breeze.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, there is about a 40 to 60 percent chance of relapse within the first year after drug treatment. Does this mean that drug treatment is a waste of time? No, but it does mean that when you leave treatment, there’s no room for letting your guard down and playing games with your own life.
Build a Support System and Go to Meetings
One of the first things to do in life after drug rehab is build a support system. This could mean reaching out to sober friends, family members who helped you get into treatment, or going to support group meetings.
It is imperative that you routinely go to support group meetings in your first year in recovery. It may take a couple of visits to different programs to see where you feel comfortable and belong to, but especially within the first few months, it’s recommended to go to a meeting every day after treatment.
Life after drug rehab can be vulnerable and confusing for most people who are now having to adjust to unfiltered life situations full of triggers, temptations, and challenges. Going to a meeting every day can help you gain structure and keep on track in your sobriety.
Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery are great places to start, but look out for local listings to see where your support system will be.
Don’t Be in a Rush to Go Back Home
Returning back home, back to your old job, and back to your old life may not be the best thing to do in life after drug rehab. Think about it: where are all of your triggers and temptations going to come from? The reality of life after drug rehab that you may have to start with a clean slate and let go of old relationships and ties that could be detrimental to your sobriety.
If possible, work out with your addiction counselor how to get a part-time or temporary job to get you on your feet after treatment. You might want to consider moving into a sober living home or halfway house as you transition into living in a new city. This is your opportunity to commit to a new lifestyle and be in a place where people don’t question your motives, doubt your commitment, or try to get you to slip and fail.
Keep as Much Structure as You Can
Many people in recovery don’t think about keeping up good nutrition or an exercise routine in their first 30 days in life after rehab, but they should! A life of using drugs and/or drinking excessively will do some serious damage to the body—and no matter how amazing your treatment center was, that damage won’t be fixed in 30 to 90 days.
After treatment, try to stick to as much of your rehab schedule as you can. Eating healthy and exercising regularly is good for the body and acts as a natural, holistic healing factor. You may not have to be a yoga instructor or an organic foodie, but making sure to consume mostly fruits and vegetables, going on walks or jogs, and sleeping eight hours a day will keep your sobriety in balance.
Keeping this kind of structure will also help you realize that you can have control over your life. You are in charge of your destiny, even if your destiny is just making sure you eat an avocado for breakfast.
Reach Out If You Need Help
There is no shame in asking for help in recovery. Even people with serious clean time under their belt sometimes need to reach out to their support groups, friends, and family to help them deal with temptation and avoid a relapse.
Life after drug rehab is hard. Anyone who says it isn’t doesn’t understand the kind of mental, physical, and even spiritual changes you’ll be going through—and it might mean you’ll need help.
You might need guidance or comfort when dealing with the death of a loved one or an anniversary. If you’re going through a divorce or another stressful life event, you may need someone to reach out to. It might mean seeing a therapist regularly to keep tabs on your mentality and make sure you remain in the right head space.
Reach out. In a community of recovering addicts, there will be people who understand what you’re going through and will be there as a shoulder to lean on when you need it. You don’t have to feel abandoned anymore.
Worried Life After Drug Rehab Will Fail? Don’t Be
If what’s holding you back from getting treatment is wondering what’s going to happen after, then call Pathway to Hope’s 24-hour helpline at (844) 557- 8575 and have one of our call agents show you what the whole drug rehab process is like. You will be guided every step of the way both in and out of addiction treatment, so don’t let the unknown stop you from starting your recovery. The greatest things in life come from overcoming fear and taking the first step.