You’ve just finished rehab and the whole world is laid out before you.
What do you do?
Are you truly ready?
Are you overwhelmed? Scared? Excited?
All of the above?
Completing your program is a monumental moment. Truly a grand achievement. What you do after drug treatment though is what makes the difference in the long run.
Truth is, to some degree you will feel prepared to take on the world because part of your treatment program is dedicated to life after rehab. You may be nervous, which is normal, but you won’t be going into the unknown without thorough preparation.
Moreover, there are plenty of positive and affirmative steps you can take to ensure you stay the course.
Steps to Take to Maintain Addiction Recovery After Drug Treatment Is Complete
Recovery, as you well know by now, is a lifelong endeavor. Just because your inpatient treatment or outpatient care is finished, it doesn’t mean you can stop paying attention or ease up on actively working to maintain your sobriety.
Here are a handful of steps that make the journey easier:
Join a Support Group
Whether it’s a 12 step program like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) or something without the religious angle like SMART Recovery, a support group can be a gamechanger and a lifesaver.
Being surrounded by people who genuinely understand you and have been in your shoes makes a big difference. You all are working through the same things together and there’s power and inspiration to be found in that.
Not to mention the built-in accountability that comes with connecting with those in your support group.
Create a Group of Sober Friends
Speaking of connection, it’s important to develop a sober group of friends.
It can be folks you meet in your support group or through new activities you’ve taken up, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the people you choose to spend time with don’t default to drugs or alcohol in their free time.
Identify Your Triggers and Manage Stressors
In treatment, you’re in something of a stress-free bubble and you’re active in pushing back against triggers. Back in your real life, you need to stay vigilant – actually, be even more vigilant – and identify people, places, and things that could trigger you to use them.
Once you’ve identified them you can work on managing those stressors and developing a plan of action to cope.
Recognize Warnings of a Relapse
This is more or less a continuation of the previous step, once you know what can trigger you or stress you out, you can use it to recognize the signs of a potential relapse. The more aware you are of these things, the more you can quickly react to the warnings of relapse and remove yourself from the situation.
Develop New Habits and Find Activities That You Find Meaningful
To maintain sobriety, you ultimately need to find meaningful ways to spend your time. The more meaning you can derive from whatever you fill your day with – the people, the events, the places, the hobbies, everything – the better.
Keep a Schedule
They say idle hands are the devil’s playthings, which is to say that if you have nothing to do, you’re more likely to get yourself into trouble, especially if you’re recovering from addiction.
Keeping a schedule and making it a full one is an easy thing you can do to keep your mind and body occupied and away from thoughts of substance use.
Celebrate Your Sobriety Achievements
Regularly acknowledge how far you’ve come!
Celebrating wins is so psychologically gratifying and it gives you a chance to reflect on how far you’ve come. Better yet, celebrate in your support group and be an example for others to follow because helping others truly does help you too.
If you’re unsure about how to handle life after rehab or would like to learn even more steps you can take, reach out to us at Footprints of Serenity.