Graduating from an addiction treatment program is very rewarding, but your feelings of happiness are probably mixed with feelings of fear and uncertainty. How will you respond to life outside the program? Will you be able to remain sober? What should you do after rehab? This anxiety is normal. Temptations and cravings are bound to crop up, but you can prevent relapse by having a plan after rehab. Here are four things to do after rehab to help you remain sober:
After Rehab: Identify and Avoid Triggers
An important part of rehab is identifying your triggers: the events, people and situations that reflexively make you reach for alcohol or drugs. Triggers can be stress, loneliness, anxiety, certain people and places, and even times of day. By identifying your triggers you can avoid the things that make you want to use and create a plan to positively react to triggers that are unavoidable.
After Rehab: Join Aftercare
No matter how bad you want to stay sober, it can be easy to fall into the same vicious cycle of abuse. One of the best ways to stay on track is to stay in aftercare. Aftercare services can mean the difference between maintaining sobriety and relapsing after rehab. There are many types of aftercare services, many of which will be offered through your rehab program. Some common forms of aftercare are continuing therapy, relapse prevention programs and weekly support groups.
After Rehab: Live in a Sober Living Home
Another highly effective form of aftercare is sober living. Sober living is an excellent way to transition from treatment back into daily grind of regular life, and it’s often recommended to people at high risk for relapse. In a sober living home you’ll be surrounded by people just like you who are working on sobriety. Sober living provides a positive and structured environment that’s free of drugs and alcohol and requires residents to maintain the rules of the house, attend house meetings and 12-step meetings, and get a job.
After Rehab: Regularly Attend 12-Step Groups
12-step programs are the most widely-used model for addiction recovery for a reason: they work. 12-step programs (such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous) provide step-by-step instructions, group support, and sponsorships to help recovering addicts remain sober. Regular attendance of support groups will help keep you on track toward your goal of abstinence.
Re-entering normal life after rehab is never easy. For most addicts, addiction will be a battle they wage every day. Thankfully, the things you learn in rehab will act as the weapons you need to combat your cravings and temptations. By practicing the skills you learned in rehab and actively working on your sobriety after rehab, you can help prevent relapse.