Keeping Sober During Life After Rehab
Going to rehab is a big step towards getting sober and changing your life for the better. However, what you do in the time immediately after rehab counts. Your actions make the difference between long-term success or failure. There are key things you can do to help you stay sober. The more you do for your recovery, the better.
Everyone’s recovery is different, and it is important to establish what works for you. That being said, there are a few key rules to follow when you’re living life after rehab. Here are some of the best things you can do for long-term success!
Surround Yourself with the Right People in Recovery
Who you choose to hang out with in recovery will make a huge difference in staying sober. There are many different groups of people in recovery, so choose wisely! Here are some of the most common ones, from the bad to the good:
- Your old group of friends. Be wary of these people! Hopefully in life after rehab, you have some old friends who are happy to see you sober. Unfortunately, many old friends may still be into drinking and doing drugs. They will have a hard time understanding your recovery. Also, in your sobriety you may find it difficult to hang out with people you once partied with. You’ll find that you have little to nothing in common, and may feel the desire to drink or do drugs. Take an honest inventory of who your friends are and stay away from the ones who’ll do you harm. If you are tempted, get out of the situation.
- The rehab regulars. Unfortunately, many people go to rehab, relapse, and go to rehab again. This cycle can go on for years. These people don’t take recovery seriously, and don’t have intentions of staying sober. They may even be most comfortable in rehab or sober houses, because they don’t know anything else. Be very careful of these people, because when they go down they’ll have no problem taking you too.
- People with long-term recovery. The people who make it do everything right. They cross their recovery “t’s” and dot their “i’s”. They go to meetings, live in sober homes, and commit to recovery. There is no gray area for them. Staying sober is the only option. These are the best people to be around because they will push you to do the same.
Stay in Long-term Addiction Treatment
As important as it is to be around good people, other things matter too. For example, staying in some kind of long-term care. Before you automatically say no, consider all the options that are out there. You don’t have to be in treatment 24/7.
At the higher end of the commitment scale, there is IOP. Intensive Outpatient Therapy can be up to 40 hours a week. At the end of the day, however, you can return home to your family commitments. For people with full time work or school, this isn’t a good option. Luckily, regular outpatient therapy exists. It is usually only 9 hours a week – in three 3-hour sessions. You can opt to go during the day or at night.
At the very least, find a therapist you trust and commit to seeing them weekly. They can help you work through issues on a professional level. To supplement the time away from them, try 12-step meetings. They help keep you on track and recovery on your radar. Hearing the stories of people who have a day, or a week can remind you how far you have come. Likewise, sharing your own story has many benefits, especially on hard days.
Focus on Getting Back on Your Feet
While focusing on recovery should always come first, you need to get back on your feet. Things like finding a job and a stable place to live should be high up on your to-do list. Before you even leave rehab, you should figure out your living situation. Sober homes are a wonderful way to transition back into the real world. With the help of your therapist, you can organize a sober living home to go straight to after treatment.
Finding work is a little bit harder, but it is important to start wherever you can. Don’t be picky! Even if you were a marketing executive in the past, lower your standards. Find a job in retail or in a restaurant so that you have income to pay for essentials. From there, continue to work your way up. When you consistently do the right thing, it is amazing how many doors open.
Make a list of all the things you need to accomplish to become a normal, functioning adult. Need a car? Put it on your goals list, but settle for a bus pass until you are financially able. Think about relationships you need to repair and rebuild, and slowly work on those. Every step you take in the right direction is a positive one, no matter where you begin.
Celebrate Small Milestones During Life After Rehab
Getting sober in treatment is a huge accomplishment. If you haven’t stopped to congratulate yourself about that, do so now. Many people never get the help they need. As you progress in recovery, it is important to give yourself credit for every small accomplishment. If you get your first job as a waitress after treatment, celebrate it. If you made it through a tough situation without relapsing, celebrate! Every little thing adds up, so be grateful for each positive thing in your life.
It doesn’t only have to be big anniversaries that are celebrated after rehab. Recovery is personal, and the choices you make in life after rehab can amount to good things or bad. It’s up to you to choose which direction you go! There are things you can do to give yourself a better chance at sobriety. As long as you keep doing the right thing, you will see the milestones passing you by. Before long, treatment will hopefully be a distant memory. You’ll be well on your way to creating the sober life you were born to live.