Adjusting to life after completing rehab and addiction treatment can be difficult, but that’s not to say that maintaining sobriety is impossible. In fact, if you follow the steps listed below, you can lead a rich and fulfilling lifestyle.
Here are some handy tips on how to completely own life after rehab!
Keep up with your aftercare services
After having successfully completed your addiction treatment, any quality rehab provider worth their salt will offer you comprehensive aftercare options. We urge that you keep up with them.
Whether you have been struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, assuming that you are in the clear and immune temptation is a big mistake. In order to genuinely continue with your recovery process, you should take advantage of the support provided.
This means attending support groups recommended by your treatment provider, having one on one counselling sessions, and more (the aftercare options will vary depending on the treatment facility, the nature of your drug addiction, and what your individual circumstances require).
Identify your personal triggers (and remain alert)
During your rehab, you will have received professional treatment advice on how to identify and recognise your personal triggers. You must remember what you have learned and remain alert during life after rehab. If you wish to prevent relapse, you must be fully aware of the triggers that may lead you to temptation and avoid them altogether.
Find other support groups
Your treatment provider will recommend a number of drug abuse support groups, but that’s not to say that you can’t go out and find groups of your own. Seek out other people who have suffered with alcoholism and drug dependence and develop new relationships. It’s a great way to learn more about addiction, while picking up new tips and further motivation to remain sober.
Write some daily affirmations
Write down some daily affirmations (e.g., “I am a good person, I am strong, I am loving” etc.) and recite them every morning when you wake up.
It might feel a little daft, but this can be very cathartic and an effective way of reminding yourself why you want to lead a healthy lifestyle and be free of your addiction.
In the same breath, you may also want to write down some of the things that you don’t want to re-live. Remind yourself of the painful withdrawal symptoms that you had to suffer through and why you never want to go down that road again!
Change your environment
Life after rehab can and will get better, but a change of environment is often required – particularly if everything reminds you of your previous life as an addict.
If possible, move to a new environment and afford yourself a fresh start.
We understand that not everyone will be in a position to simply move their life to another neighbourhood, city, or country, but if you can do your best to surround yourself with new scenery, it can help with your recovery journey.
Surround yourself with good people
Just as a new environment can be helpful, surrounding yourself with the right people is a great way to continue along the path of recovery.
Cut ties with all of the negative relationships that led to your addiction in the first place and look for good people to spend time with.
You want to be with people who raise you up, support you, and want nothing but the best for you.
This can be a difficult process as often, the people that addicts had previously been using with, may have been close, lifelong friends. In any case, if you are to have any shot at a genuine recovery, you must not be spending time with people who negatively impact your life and may lead you to temptation – and that includes family members.
Avoid old routines and habits (and form new, healthy ones)
If you fall back into your old routines and habits after leaving rehab, you are going to quickly end up needing drug treatment all over again.
Having active addiction means that you must work very hard to form new and healthy habits in order to avoid relapsing.
Here are some great tips for forming new habits:
Have a structured schedule
This can be incredibly difficult to do, but it doesn’t take long to form a new habit. So, get yourself a diary or calendar (or both), and start structuring your days.
With a fixed and rigid routine, you will find it far easier to avoid your past habits and remain focused on your sobriety.
While not everyone enjoys having a routine, it is actually very good for the mind and the body. S0, if you have been struggling with getting regular sleep, as an example, you might actually find that sticking to a fixed routine will help your body get the rest that it so desperately needs.
Practice meditation and mindfulness
This is another tip that many people might find daft, but you should not underestimate the power of meditation and mindfulness.
Remember, this is a very personal activity. You don’t even need to tell friends and family that you meditate daily if you don’t want to (although you absolutely should not feel ashamed of pursuing something that can bring so much good to your life – particularly after the difficulty you have endured).
- Simply take a seat and find somewhere calm and peaceful to you.
- Set yourself a time limit (5-10 minutes is fine).
- Pay attention to your body.
- Feel the sensation as your breath enters and leaves your body.
- Notice when your mind begins to wonder and try to centre your focus.
- Don’t be too harsh on your mind for wondering – you will get better at emptying your mind with practice.
- Be calm.
This is a great way to forget about the past and stop worrying about the future. Simply exist in the moment and be grateful for the life that you have.
Pick up a new hobby
This is arguably one of the most important aspects of the recovery process!
You may have done some art therapy at a treatment facility, or some other form of therapeutic activity; we urge you to pick up a new hobby and stick with it for similar reasons.
It’s good to have a passion in your life. It is also healthy to focus on a task that doesn’t necessarily have to be for any reason other than your own enjoyment.
For example: if you choose to paint as your new hobby, it doesn’t have to be for money or for anyone else other than yourself. There are no strings attached (unless you’re taking up the Violin of course)!
Simply afford yourself a new hobby to enjoy, for you. It is therapeutic and a great way to break up the day, seek distraction, and reward yourself with a growing sense of achievement as your skills improve (which they will).
Help other people
Selfish altruism is a powerful tool indeed. This is basically helping people, to feel good.
As someone who has been through rehab yourself, you are essentially a certified addiction professional – OK, perhaps not quite, but you will certainly be in a position to offer other people your help and advice.
So, try helping other people. Life after rehab can be rewarding when you use what you have learned, for the benefit of others.
Consider a change in career
How fulfilling is your career? Are you satisfied in your job? Perhaps the key to sober life is finding work that doesn’t make you feel stressed and anxious all of the time.
If you believe that your work may have been a large contributing factor to your issues with addiction, then we strongly advise that you to consider a change in career.
You can quite literally start again! It doesn’t matter if you are 21 or 60! If you want a change of pace and feel like it’s time to try new things, it is never too late to pivot your life and pursue something new.
Look after your finances
Another great way to stay focused on being sober is to look after your finances. Replace your old obsessions with new ones! Rather than chase the high with drugs, chase the high with money instead.
Imagine how good it would feel to turn your life around and get some serious savings behind you?
The fact is, when you aren’t drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking cigarettes, you would be surprised by just how much money you can save! So, look after your finances, set yourself some goals, and see how quickly your life can change.
Come to terms with past mistakes
You need to come to terms with, and accept, your past mistakes. While there are certainly people out there who may have no desire to forgive you, it doesn’t change the fact that you can (and should) forgive yourself.
One can learn a lot from steps 8 and 9 of Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step programme:
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
In other words, try to repair your relationships, whether with family members, friends, or old colleagues – and have the wisdom to realise when certain things are simply best left alone.
Most important of all, repair your relationship with yourself. You are where you are. You’ve made mistakes and there is nothing you can do to change that. What you can do however, is make a vow to turn your life around and be the best person that you can possibly be.
We believe in you – now it’s your turn.