Life After Rehab: What to Expect

Whether you’re personally struggling with addiction, or looking for rehabilitation for a loved one, there are plenty of misconceptions about rehab centers. 

The truth is, less than 42 percent of people who enter a drug/alcohol rehab program actually complete it. While this doesn’t sound very promising, success rates often hinge on knowing what to expect about the experience and life after rehab.

Family support, lifestyle, education, employment, and social background all play a role, too. But managing expectations can make all the difference. 

Check out the rest of this blog to help you prepare. 

Life After Rehab Still Includes Treatment Sessions 

There’s tons of information on how to get the help you need when struggling with addiction, what to expect from interventions, and more. But what about the rest of your life, afterward? 

The reality is that your treatment does not come to a complete end whether you’ve completed an inpatient or outpatient program. Attending sobriety meetings, group therapy, or one-on-one therapy should still be a priority in your life. 

Just as you would continually visit a doctor for a chronic health condition, you should make an effort to attend treatment sessions at least once a week. 

You’ll Need To Find the Right Support Group 

Believe it or not, sobriety doesn’t have to be lonely. In fact, it shouldn’t be. It’s imperative that you find the right network once you enter back into the ”’real world” to support your recovery. 

This generally includes a 12-step group or a sobriety recovery group that holds weekly check-in sessions. Along with this, it’s important to work on repairing relationships with family and friends who have been there for you.

Peer support is a huge aspect of your recovery journey and is integral to how you maintain your sobriety, for good. 

Say Goodbye to Old Friends and Triggering Activities

This might come as a tough pill to swallow, but your life should no longer include friends or family members who encourage drug or alcohol use. Known as enablers, these are the types of people that jeopardize your recovery and all of your hard work. 

Yes, it’s difficult to cut your losses with certain people in your life. But it’s 100 percent necessary. The same goes for old, unhealthy habits, and activities. 

You must come to terms with the fact that old activities you once enjoyed might trigger substance abuse in your recovery. It’s time to discover new hobbies and passions that allow you to grow as a person. 

Find a Healthy, New Routine 

Out with the old and in with the new. This not only applies to friends and old hobbies, but your routine of life, too. This is probably one of the most important things to establish in your life outside of rehab. 

Prioritizing your overall well-being is essential to your recovery. Your new routine may include the following: 

  • A new way of eating that supports your health — creating healthy, balanced meals 
  • Taking up a new form of exercise that you can do regularly 
  • Ensuring that you get enough good quality sleep
  • Making time for new hobbies 
  • Focusing on repairing relationships and spending time with the people who mean something to you 
  • Prioritizing treatment sessions and time with your recovery group 

It’s also super important to focus on self-care and managing your stress levels. It’s no secret that escalated levels of stress are triggering for just about anyone. 

Practice Both Physical and Emotional Sobriety 

A huge driving force behind long-term sobriety is not just abstaining from alcohol or drugs. It’s also working on your emotional health. 

Most individuals who have struggled with substance abuse will tell you that emotional trauma is a huge trigger behind their addiction.

Working through this trauma and learning coping strategies are imperative to healing yourself, and managing your sobriety. 

You Aren’t Fully Recovered Yet: Practice Humility 

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for many individuals fresh out of rehab is overconfidence. It’s important to keep your mindset right and remember that you are still in recovery. Even if you aren’t physically in rehab. 

When you let your guard down, you might drift back into old, unhealthy habits. And it’s a slippery slope from there. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself the time you need to adjust to your new life. 

Humility is vital and recovery is a learning process that lasts a lifetime. There is no ”quick fix”, but a long road of commitment. 

You Will Still Face Undesirable Emotions 

Within your first year out of rehab, you might experience ”recovery blues”. It’s normal to feel bouts of depression, shame, anger, or hurt.

But it’s essential that you recognize these feelings and work through them with family, friends, your recovery group, or a therapist. 

Life after rehab might not be as easy as you thought it would be. You might have hurt plenty of people. Or they might have hurt you. It takes time to repair relationships and rebuild trust. 

If you fall into times of depression, there are ways to cope, such as:

  • Keep your obligations to a minimum — don’t make commitments you don’t feel like meeting 
  • Keep a journal and write about how you’re feeling and why
  • Don’t isolate yourself 
  • Stay active 
  • Talk about how you’re feeling with family, friends, your support group, or a therapist 

Just because you completed a 90-day rehab program does not mean you are magically healed from years of deep-seated trauma. 

Bear in mind that a huge range of emotions will pop up throughout your recovery journey, many of which you thought you had dealt with in rehab.

Allow yourself some grace to be human, deal with these emotions, and then move on. 

Make Your Health a Top Priority 

Life after rehab will have its fair share of ups and downs. What’s most important is to apply all of your learnings and progress you made in rehab to your everyday life. 

Learn how to improve your health and lifestyle by exploring the rest of this blog for more

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