What Happens After Rehab: 12 Tips for Sober Living
The battle against addiction doesn’t end with rehab. These tips for sober living can help your maintain your healthy, sober lifestyle after your recovery.
Of the 23.5 million people who have a drug abuse or alcohol problem, 2.1 million or just over 11% receive help in a rehab facility annually.
What isn’t as known is how many of these people experience a relapse after successfully completing a stay in rehab. Such statistics aren’t tracked. But one thing is clear: for anyone trying to stay sober after drug or alcohol addiction, the temptation is always lurking.
If you are a recovering addict, here are 12 tips to help maintain sober living after you return home from rehab.
1. Consider Living in a Recovery House
To help ease the transition of moving back home after rehab, you may want to consider living in a recovery home for a while. You won’t be surrounded by any temptation and you’ll continue your daily living with a sense of structure similar to what you experienced in rehab.
These types of homes are sometimes called halfway houses or sober living homes, although there is a difference between the two. Halfway houses are sometimes used as residences for released criminals or the homeless, while sober living homes are sometimes affiliated with addiction treatment centers and mainly used to help addicts stay clean.
Halfway houses offer more freedom and are therefore less expensive, while sober living homes are a little more regimented and cost more. They may also be covered by your insurance plan.
Whichever type of recovery home you choose, you’ll find they serve a second purpose: you’ll be sharing a home with other recovering addicts who know exactly what you’re feeling and going through.
2. Make Sure Your Home Is Clean upon Your Return
One of the most important things you can do to maintain sobriety upon returning home is to make sure any traces of temptation have been removed. Have a trusted family member or friend do a clean sweep of your home to make sure there are no drugs or alcohol lurking.
Anything that they do uncover should be safely disposed of. They should check every nook and cranny including the tops of cabinets and drawers to ensure your home is clean.
It’s much less risky to have a friend complete this task instead of doing it yourself. You won’t be tempted into taking the substance, and you’ll be making a fresh start in your home.
3. Seek a Good Support System
Staying sober isn’t easy. It helps to have other people to turn to during rough days or when you feel like caving in to temptation. There’s strength in numbers, and talking to other people who know exactly how you feel and what you’re going through can make a world of difference on the road to recovery.
Whether it’s a 12-step support group or a Meetup group for recovering addicts, make sure you join one and more importantly, attend meetings regularly. It helps to have someone to listen to you—and you may just find that in the future you’ll encourage someone else to turn away from drinking or drug use.
4. Exercise Regularly
A study found that exercise can help recovering alcoholics resist the urge to drink. Regular physical activity helps to increase endorphins in the brain, which makes you feel good. This means you’re less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to achieve a similar high.
Exercising also gives you something positive to focus on. If you work out at the gym or with a group, you’ll also be coming into contact with people that care about their health.
Meditation can also be a great tool to retrain your mind and help keep your thoughts focused on the strong new person that you are becoming.
5. Give Yourself Goals
Where do you see yourself a few years from now, professionally and personally? Maybe you want to try a new career, go back to school, and aspire to get married and have children.
Whatever your life goals are, it’s important to have them so you can continue focusing on the positive aspects of life and keep moving forward. You can’t change your past, but you do have the present moment which is where your power always resides.
It’s time to leave the past behind and concentrate on making your life the best it can possibly be. Giving yourself some goals will help motivate you and get you excited about life again.
6. Surround Yourself with Positive People
Many addicts may be accustomed to hanging out with other people who drink or use drugs, and who are into partying. If you plan on staying sober, this may require taking a hard look at the people who share your company.
You want to socialize with people who make healthy life choices so you won’t fall back into your old habits. You also want people who understand and can support you along your journey. It’s not an easy thing to say goodbye to people from your old life, but understand that it may be necessary to stay strong and healthy.
Likewise, you may also want to take this opportunity to rebuild relationships after your addiction. This takes an enormous amount of strength and courage, but asking others for forgiveness will help hold yourself accountable for staying sober moving forward.
7. Establish a Routine
A routine is sometimes viewed in a negative light by most people, but for those recovering from an addiction, it can be a lifeline. Knowing what you need to be doing during every part of the day keeps your mind focused on living in sobriety.
Keeping a to-do list can be a huge part of your recovery as well. Include not just minor tasks such as doing the laundry, but chores that will help you reach your life goals even if it’s just a baby step at this point. Reviewing your checked-off list at the end of the day will give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
You may want to give yourself a 90-day plan for staying sober and include to-do lists and goals as part of this period.
8. Learn Something New
Recovery is a great time to learn something new you’ve always wanted to explore, whether it’s yoga, woodworking, or taking an art class. Again, this gives you something positive to keep your mind off your recovery and help you discover something new about yourself. It will also prevent boredom and the tendency to think negative thoughts as one is getting acclimated to life after rehab.
9. Forgive Yourself
Those getting over addiction often feel an enormous self of guilt for their behavior. They may have felt like they’ve let down or hurt loved ones and friends because of their addiction.
Whatever the implications of your addiction were, it’s important to learn how to forgive one’s self so you can stay focused on the present and future. None of us can go back and change the past, but we can certainly learn from our mistakes to make better choices going forward.
10. Get a Job (If You Don’t Work Already)
If your current employer was aware of your rehab stay and is willing to welcome you back when you’re ready, working can definitely play a huge role in your recovery. Return to work as soon as you are able because having a purpose in life and being surrounded by coworkers will help you stay sober. Not to mention, having a regular paycheck is important to maintain a quality of life.
A regular work schedule also helps reestablish a routine which is helpful when conquering addiction. It also prevents boredom, sitting at home thinking negative thoughts, or focusing on what happened in your past.
11. Designate a Sober Friend You Can Fall Back On
There may be times where people we know from a support group are unavailable, or we can’t make it to a meeting. A trusted friend as your back-up support person can help talk you off the ledge when things get rough. It’s important that this person maintains a healthy, sober lifestyle so that there’s no temptation to return to drug or alcohol use.
12. Avoid Environments That Trigger Addiction
There may be times when we have to turn down invitations to social outings because the environment may trigger a desire to use our addictive substance. This may include a bar, restaurant, party, or any place that serves alcohol.
Until you’re certain that you can resist the social pressure and the sight and smell of alcohol, it may be best to turn down invites to certain places. Stay firm in your belief that it’s for your best interest and declining a party invitation isn’t meant to hurt anyone’s feelings.
We Can Help You Achieve Sober Living
These 12 tips outlined above can help put you on the path towards sober living. But even with discipline, a relapse can happen. Here at Pathfinders Recovery Center, we can help put you or a loved one battling addiction on the road to recovery.
Contact us to learn more about our drug and alcohol treatment facility and how we help people conquer their addictions in a positive and supportive environment.