Recovery from drug abuse is considered as being a lifelong journey. Just because you may have successfully completed drug and alcohol rehab, it doesn’t mean that you are completely free of temptation. There are still steps that you must take in order to prevent relapse, maintain your sober life, and stay true the course.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at life after rehab, including sharing some tips on how to adapt to life without drugs and continue your recovery. Here’s everything you need to know…
Life after rehab – what’s it like?
Life after rehab can feel very strange. After having spent anywhere from 28 to 90-days (and beyond) in a residential rehab facility, adjusting to your normal home life again can feel alien.
In any case, you should hopefully feel refreshed and positive to return home after completing rehab and be ready start rebuilding your life, and the important relationships that may have been negatively affected by your addiction.
It’s not so dissimilar to what soldiers feel when they return home from active duty; their homes and the people around them are very much the same, while they have personally experienced life-altering events that very few people understand.
Unless they have gone through addiction rehab themselves, no one will truly understand the nature of what you have been through, so it can feel quite lonely at times. This is why keeping up with your aftercare is paramount.
Most addiction treatment rehab facilities will offer aftercare services. This allows you to stay in contact with various support groups, have one on one counselling with a mental health professional, and continue your recovery treatment.
By maintaining those connections with other recovering addicts and addiction specialists, you will be able to talk openly about your feelings, absent fear of judgement – which is a critical aspect of anyone’s recovery from drug abuse.
Tips for adapting to your new life after drug rehab
Life without drugs can be a difficult adjustment for many addicts, no matter how exceptional their treatment was. This is why it is important to form new habits and keep yourself distracted in everyday life – so as to avoid relapse.
Here are some handy tips to help keep you going through the recovery process:
- Surround yourself with sober people: one of the most critical aspects to life after drug rehab is finding new people to spend time with. You must cut ties with all of the people that you used to take drugs with if you are to successfully maintain your sober lifestyle. There are other ways to enjoy life, many of which are healthy, enriching, and fulfilling.
- Consider moving if necessary: where you live may be having a negative impact on your life. If your neighbourhood is full of reminders about your drug use, often a change of scenery can work wonders. If you want a fresh start, building a new life in a different city (or country), can provide you with an excellent foundation for future growth.
- Keep your follow-up appointments: again, keep up with your aftercare. By continuing with your therapy, you can process feelings, deal with familial transitions, handle your relapse triggers, set new goals for the future, and strengthen your coping skills. Take advantage of every opportunity provided by your rehab facility.
- Remain focused on improving your mental health: don’t slip back into your old routines as this can produce unnecessary stress and anxiety in your life. What you want is to focus on new and healthy habits that will promote excellent mental health. Regular exercise is a critical component in this; research shows that those who exercise less are almost twice as likely to suffer with anxiety and depression. That, and improving your physical health can’t exactly hurt, right?
- Find your support groups: while it’s certainly worth keeping up with the support groups recommended by your rehab clinic, there’s no reason why you can’t go out and find recovery groups of your own (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous / Narcotics Anonymous). Tap into a growing network of others who have gone through similar things, make new friendships, and discover even more tips for maintaining your sobriety.
- Help others: helping other people, feels good. Not only that, but having gone through addiction yourself, you will be well-positioned to recognise addiction in others and pass on the information that you have learned. If you can help other people with their battle against addiction, you will feel an incredible sense of achievement – while enriching the lives of others. This is your chance to redeem yourself.
- Always stay alert for signs of relapse: again, just because you have completed your drug treatment, it doesn’t mean that you are completely immune to relapse. Make sure that you are aware of your personal triggers and remain alert for any potential signs of relapse. Should you feel at risk, lean on your family members and reach out to us for professional treatment advice.
- Remind yourself of the pain your addiction has caused: don’t forget the trauma that you have been through. Whenever you feel temptation, remind yourself of the excruciating withdrawal symptoms that you went through and what your substance abuse did to your body. This is a helpful deterrence and will aid in refraining from falling back into your drug addiction.
What percentage of users relapse after rehab?
Some 40 to 60% of addicts will relapse, even after having undergone rehabilitation. While these numbers might seem high, that’s not to say that many of these addicts will be unable to get back up on the horse and return to their sober lifestyle.
In the same breath, just because the numbers are high, it doesn’t mean that you should excuse yourself or give into relapsing because it’s ‘normal’ or ‘expected’. You must set high expectations of yourself.
Why does relapse happen?
The fact is, the majority of those who relapse, either do so because they weren’t entirely ready to get better, or because they do not have the support around them to maintain sobriety. This is why it is absolutely critical that you do not neglect your aftercare.
Other reasons why people relapse:
- they tell themselves that “one last time can’t hurt”
- their job and/or homelife is causing too much stress
- they live with physical and/or emotional pain
- the people around them are still using.
Additionally, in order to have a shot at avoiding falling into the 40 to 60%, you must change your environment and the people that you surround yourself with. If you complete rehab and then go back to your life as it was before, expecting to stay sober, you will be in for a shock.
If you notice any of the following signs, speak to your addiction specialist for further advice:
- you notice a change in attitude, feeling less desire to recover
- you are falling back into your old habits and behaviours, such as quickly losing your temper
- you are skipping your recovery support meetings with no good reason.
- life after leaving a treatment facility can feel strange at first
- keep up with the aftercare services provided by your treatment providers
- ongoing support is critical to your recovery
- form new, healthy habits after you leave rehab to prevent relapse
- a healthy lifestyle can help you remain positive
We hope that you have found this article helpful. If you have recently completed drug rehab and you are feeling vulnerable, we urge you to contact us for some free advice. Every discussion we have is confidential and we will do our utmost to offer the help and support that you need.
Life after rehab can be beautiful! It just takes patience, dedication, and a willingness to accept the help provided. Follow the steps and you will be back on top once more!