Life After Rehab: What to Expect

Many people don’t go to drug treatment centers near their home—some even will travel out-of-state for their rehab. However, when it comes to life after rehab, the process begins at home. For some individuals, though, home is not the same place it was when they went into rehab, as it is often better to get away from the area where addiction took over your life. By moving away, you are able to minimize the triggers—people, places, and/or things—that prompted the drug or alcohol addiction to begin with.

Ultimately, though, location isn’t the most important part of recovery; instead, recovery should focus on what is happening internally. After all, you can become—and stay—sober anywhere, and this is what life after addiction and rehab is all about.

What You Expect Throughout the First Year After Rehab

The detoxification process generally only takes several weeks, but it can take months to successfully complete a drug treatment program. Once you are out of rehab, you are throw right back into life and all that is has to offer—good and bad. In rehab, you have structure, but in real life, that structure requires a lot of time and effort to maintain so that you can prevent having a relapse.

Tips to Help You Make It Through Your First Year Sober

Once out of rehab, you won’t have as much emotional and physical support, though you will still need to work toward maintaining your sobriety. To help you do this, here are four tips that have proven useful for many other people:

  • Create a schedule that revolves around your present and future sobriety. If strict boundaries need to be set with certain friends and/or family members, then don’t hesitate to move forward with them.
  • Don’t simply assume or allow yourself to become overconfident that you don’t need to put effort into maintaining your sobriety. To manage your cravings and triggers, it will take significant work—especially at first—so make sure that you stay current with your recovery program.
  • Utilize a variety of tools that will help your cope with anxiety, stress, and depression. For example, you can write your feelings down in a journal, avoid isolating yourself, make the effort to talk about your feelings with someone, and remain physically active.
  • If you are not currently dating anyone, try to avoid doing so the first 12 months of your recovery. In doing so, you will be able to focus only on yourself and your sobriety rather than having to focus on making someone else happy at the same time of taking care of yourself. When the time comes that you feel you are ready to get back out there, take things slow and go to a session with your therapist. It is important that you always put your sobriety over everything else.

Tips to Help You Avoid Relapsing

One of the biggest problems people face after leaving rehab is stress—and it is something that must be managed in order to prevent relapse. Ideally, how well you are able to manage your stress will depend on the coping mechanisms that you have developed for your triggers, cravings, and emotional ups and downs. Relapse is often a result of being dishonest, exhausted, or frustrated. In some cases, it can be brought on due to self-pity and a lack of self-discipline. To help you stay on the right track and avoid relapsing, here are three tips to follow:

  • Don’t forget about your hobbies. It is important to make time for the things and activities that you love, as they can offer a creative outlet and/or healthy distraction.
  • Don’t rush back into school or work. You also shouldn’t expect too much, and avoid doing everything immediately upon leaving rehab. Slowly ease yourself back into “real” life.
  • Take the time to renew and rebuild any relationships that were damaged previously as a result of your addiction. Not only can doing so give your life a sense of purpose, but it can also extend your network of individuals that you have who may be needed if you are going through a rough patch.

Need Help? Shadow Mountain Recovery Is Here

At Shadow Mountain Recovery, our addiction recovery program offers continuous support and fellowship for individuals who have successfully completed our treatment programs. If you or a loved one are in need of help due to an alcohol or drug addiction, please contact our staff here at Shadow Mountain Recovery.

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