Rehab and therapy programs prepare you for life after rehab. You learn strategies to help you deal with difficult situations while maintaining your sobriety.
After rehab, you may be excited to live substance-free. But, the end of rehab can also bring fear of having a relapse and concerns about how you will stay sober when daily routines and relationships resume.
Whether you’re returning home after rehab from an inpatient program or reaching the end of an outpatient program, it is important to develop and follow a plan to maintain sobriety. You will work with your treatment team before your treatment program ends to define how you’ll stay on track in recovery. A plan that includes continuing care after treatment improves your chances of staying substance-free.
Continuing care is overseen by trained professionals such as case managers and recovery coaches, and may include any combination of the following:
• Individual or group counseling or therapy
• Support groups
• Recovery checkups in-person or by phone
• Drug testing and feedback
• Services related to employment, housing, legal needs, and relationships
Develop healthy relationships
Build relationships after rehab with people who can help you stick to your plan for recovery. Participate in support or self-help groups of other people in recovery. They can also help you adjust to life after rehab. At the same time, avoid people in your life who misuse drugs or alcohol. Being around them can make you want to start using again.
Practice a healthy lifestyle
Long-term lifestyle changes that focus on overall health and wellness have proven benefits for people in recovery.
• Find an exercise option that works for you. Exercise can help you feel better, provide a distraction from cravings, and help reduce stress, which can be a trigger for relapse after rehab.
• Maintain a healthy diet to provide your body with energy and nutrients.
Recognize and manage triggers
It is important to recognize situations that trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol, because they may lead to relapse. Keep a list of triggers to help you avoid them or cope in healthy ways. Triggers may include:
• Stress and life challenges
• People who used drugs or alcohol with you in the past or who are using now
• Homes, workplaces, bars, schools, neighborhoods, and other places where you have used drugs or alcohol
Be ready if relapse occurs
As with many other health conditions, relapse after treatment is always possible: It can occur soon after rehab or even years into recovery. In fact, relapse might be part of the recovery process. Relapse does not mean you, or your treatment, has failed.
Plan for what to do if you have a relapse. The plan should list the people to contact (such as a health care provider, sponsor, or family member) and the steps to take to get immediate help from an addiction treatment professional.
Having a plan can help you quickly get support or get back into treatment. The sooner you get help, the more likely you are to continue your recovery.
Are you or a loved one struggling with drugs or alcohol?
Call to speak confidentially with a recovery expert now.
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