What Happens After Rehab?

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Completing an addiction treatment program is a big accomplishment and step towards a life of sobriety. Moving on to the next step is a huge success. However, the first couple of days after leaving rehab are the most critical; this is because the first few days are when individuals are at their highest risk of relapse.

When you leave treatment, you may feel overwhelmed as the routine of everyday life carries on. There are steps you can take to ease this transition and help you maintain your sobriety outside of treatment.

What Happens When You Leave Rehab?

The majority of individuals leaving rehab feel overwhelmed, stressed, or even anxious because life looks completely different from when they went in. Adjusting to life outside can be hard because rehab is a structured environment. Life outside of rehab has no structure, therefore the coping mechanisms learned in rehab must be used. This gives you your best chances of sobriety.

Potential Problems That May Occur

Resistance At Home

One of the best ways to maintain sobriety is to not be around alcohol or drugs at all. However, your friends or family may not agree with you on this, insisting they keep some for themselves closeby. This can be tempting for you in your recovery.

If you are unable to negotiate with someone who keeps substances in your home, consider finding other living accommodations if possible or try not to be around them anymore. This way, you can surround yourself in a sober environment with only sober people that have your best interest at heart.


Temptations include old friends, places, and other triggers that may remind you of life in addiction. Moving away from these things can help you stay on track and avoid these triggers. Do not isolate yourself, as this is a common trigger for relapse.

Broken Relationships

Relationships are often destroyed during addiction. Making amends is crucial during recovery, but remember that not everyone will be ready and willing to accept your apology. Give it time and make an effort to show you have truly changed and are serious about your recovery.

Returning To Responsibilities

Most people do not take care of their responsibilities while their addiction is active. Being sober and taking charge of your life comes with the task of returning to those responsibilities to take care of them in a healthy and mature manner.

Work to build trust with others, especially those you care about, to gain more responsibilities in the future. Make an effort to show you want to grow and improve yourself by staying sober. Outpatient counseling can help with this, as well as the stress of independent life. Recovery is hard, and it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help in order to maintain it.

Making Changes In Your Life

After rehab, making changes to your old routine is crucial. When you replace the old habits with new healthy ones, you are more likely to stay on track by managing your triggers and keeping yourself happy and motivated in your recovery. Some changes you can make include:

  • Changing your environment so your brain is not surrounded by things associated with your addiction
  • Surrounding yourself with sober individuals that have your recovery in mind
  • Finding new sober activities to do with other sober people
  • Staying busy with hobbies

These changes will help you in life after rehab because they will keep your mind off of temptations and cravings. Keeping yourself busy doing things you enjoy with people that have your best interest in mind can make all the difference. Your self-esteem will increase and you will learn how to better cope with your triggers. Your motivation for recovery will also increase.

Treatment Options After Rehab

Follow-up care after rehab is extremely common because the transition from rehab to everyday life is so drastic. You can join a support group to help with this transition, connecting with other recovering addicts that are working to stay sober just like you.

Joining A Support Group

You can learn about local support groups from your rehab center, as they will most likely have a list of recommendations for groups in your community. Here you can find a fellowship of sober people that will celebrate your victories and support you during the hard times.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

This is a part-time program that has individuals taking part in treatment for a couple of days per week. Most go to help them gradually adjust to life outside of rehab into an independent daily routine. IOPs teach you ways to use the coping skills that you learned in rehab in real life.

Individual Therapy

Therapy can help treat any co-occurring mental disorders you may have. Treating these can help you progress further in your recovery. A counselor or therapist can also help you adjust to life after rehab by discussing the triggers and new challenges you are facing.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes provide a transitional space for those that just finished rehab to help them adjust back to their daily routine. Independence is mixed with some sense of structure, including house rules that often include:

  • Doing chores (i.e. cooking and cleaning)
  • Going to weekly meetings and counseling sessions
  • Staying sober
  • Not getting involved with other residents
  • Complying with drug testing

Sober living homes give you a place to go after rehab to help you transition to your newly sober life. You also gain a community of other sober people to bond with that can help you maintain sobriety even after you leave the sober living home.

Life after rehab is extremely difficult. The first couple of days are the most troubling, as they are when you are most at risk of relapse. Make sure you educate yourself on possible problems you may face after rehab and how to handle them. Also, be aware of treatment options available to you after rehab to help you transition back to everyday life. Programs such as NorthStar Transitions are there to answer your questions and help you maintain your sobriety after rehab. Contact them at (303) 558-6400 to begin the process today.