Leaving the structure and safe environment of rehab can be scary for those who have just become sober from substance abuse. Starting over in your new life of sobriety may cause you to feel confused, unsure, and perhaps even fearful of the future. Knowing how to maintain sobriety once you leave rehab and understanding how to start your life back on the right track is essential for maintaining your recovery.
What Happens When You Leave Rehab?
The first thing you should remind yourself when you complete and leave rehab is that you have accomplished something major and should be proud of yourself. The first couple of days after rehab will be the hardest because they are when you are in transition.
You will most likely be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and stressed because of how different life looks compared to when you entered treatment. You must remember to use the coping skills you learned in rehab to move through this transition. Your new life will not have as rigid of a structure as rehab did, so you must create a daily routine and stick to it.
More Treatment Options After Rehab
If you feel as though you are not ready to take on the world on your own after rehab, that is perfectly normal. There are several treatment options to help those in your very same position. The majority of people after rehab seek follow-up care.
You have many options, such as support groups, intensive outpatient programs, individual therapy, and sober living homes. Each of these has its own benefits, so it is important to research each one to figure out which is best for you and your recovery.
Some individuals cannot afford follow-up care after rehab, and thus must fend for themselves using different coping methods. Keep in mind that addiction is a chronic disease that you will constantly need to fight against, making the commitment to staying sober each and every day.
Find a support system to lean on during the bad days. Place yourself in a sober environment. Set goals for your recovery and hold yourself accountable by going to all follow-up appointments. Find new sober hobbies and activities to take part in to distract you from substance use. Most of all, express gratitude for being able to overcome your addiction and have the willingness to fight for your sobriety each day.
A New Daily Schedule
Having a structured schedule is crucial to your recovery. You most likely had a structured schedule in rehab that involved waking up early, having breakfast, exercising or meditating, going to counseling, and attending support groups.
Sticking to this routine can be difficult once you leave rehab, but understanding how important it is to your sobriety can motivate you to maintain it. Engage in planning and carrying out your routine to make sure you complete it. Creating a plan with structure will give you a sense of purpose in your recovery, as well as make sure your free time is filled with sober activities you enjoy.
This will, in turn, decrease your risk of relapse. Your brain function may even improve, as suggested by the Harvard Medical School, which states that a structured daily routine involving exercise can alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment.
Finding a job after rehab can actually lower your risk of relapse. It is understandable if you feel anxious about the process, as many recovering addicts do. This is due to common things such as poor education, skill deficits, large unexplained gaps on your resume, or a criminal record. Don’t discourage yourself though.
Finding a good job that you enjoy after rehab is possible. Be sure to create or tidy up your resume, highlighting all of your skills and positive attributes that make you an ideal candidate. Also place your work history on the document, as this can help show you have previous job experience.
Ask your rehab or treatment facility for job resources during the process, as they can link you to local businesses willing to hire recovering addicts or give you the necessary resources to aid in your search. You can also go to support groups or therapy to alleviate stress during the job hunting process.
Use your network of people to see if there are any opportunities you may be missing out on. You may know someone that can set you up with a job you really enjoy. You can also volunteer while looking for a job. Do something your passionate about, as volunteer work can sometimes lead to employment. Remember to not get discouraged and to use the resources available to you.
After rehab, it is vital to surround yourself with good, encouraging, sober individuals that have your best interest and recovery in mind. This may mean having to drop past friends that still use or refuse to support you in recovery. This can be difficult, as you may feel isolated and alone. Remember that reaching out to others can help you in many ways.
Having sober friends is so important to your recovery because they don’t lead you to temptations that could jeopardize your recovery. The bad days will feel less heavy and lonely because you have people you can reach out to when you need someone to lean on.
These individuals will understand what you’re going through and be able to offer advice that you can trust. You deserve connection and good people around you, so make sure you choose good-hearted individuals to be in your circle of friends.
Life after rehab doesn’t have to be as overwhelming and stressful as it may seem at first. Using the coping methods you learned in rehab can help a great deal in preventing relapse. You should also work to gain new sober friends, find a job, and create a daily routine with a structure that you can stick to. Incorporate healing activities and exercises into your daily schedule, and hold yourself accountable for completing them. Contact Northstar Transitions at (303) 558-6400 for more information on life after rehab.