6 Things You Should Do After Leaving Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment is an essential component of treating drug and alcohol addictions. However, it is said that recovery is an ongoing process. Many experts believe that the first 90 days after a person leaves rehab are the most critical to determining whether or not that person will stay sober. Even though addiction treatment helps people learn about their addictions and recognize triggers, it’s impossible to know what the future holds. Instead of thinking you are cured after leaving treatment, it’s important to know that lasting recovery requires more than rehab.
Many addiction treatment programs only last a few months. In comparison to years of drug or alcohol abuse, the time you spend in treatment is minuscule. In addition, rehab programs tend to shield individuals from real-world situations, triggers, and distressing circumstances. Dealing with real-life issues while staying sober can be a challenge, which is why you have to treat your addiction and care for yourself after leaving addiction treatment. Here are 6 things you should do after completing treatment.
1. Participate in an Aftercare Program
Addiction treatment centers usually recommend a continuum of care consisting of multiple levels of treatment. As individuals progress in their recovery, they step down to lower levels of care. After inpatient treatment, many people can benefit from intensive outpatient programming (IOP) and outpatient programming (OP). Depending on the needs of the individual, you may have group or individual therapy sessions. These aftercare programs not only help ease the transition out of rehab but help strengthen recovery as well.
Aftercare programs will help you process your emotions, deal with relationships, cope with triggers, set goals for the future, and build relapse prevention tools. Life after rehab can be challenging, but aftercare programs can help you manage your recovery effectively.
2. Build Sober Support
Drug and alcohol addiction is often perpetuated through the influence of others. Peer pressure, exposure to drug or alcohol abuse, and spending time with friends who abuse substances are all motivators for substance abuse. However, these temptation levels drop when you are surrounded by sober friends who live healthy lifestyles.
Your sober friends not only serve as positive influences, but they will help hold you accountable throughout your recovery. They will encourage you to keep going to meetings and doing the things you need to do to stay sober. Your sober support will also offer you advice, guidance, and emotional support. These individuals are in recovery themselves, so they can offer helpful insight that can aid your recovery.
3. Practice Self-Care
Leaving treatment can bring a lot of anxiety, stress, and even depression. You may be dealing with cravings, job insecurity, and family troubles. As a result, it can become easy to focus on the negatives in life. However, if these emotions build-up, relapse is more likely to occur. Instead of letting negative thoughts dominate your thinking, try practicing a little self-care. Make it a point each day to do the following things for yourself:
- Eat healthy, well-balanced meals
- Get enough sleep
- Do a hobby you enjoy
Making sure your personal needs are met and that your body is nourished and cared for help to boost your mood and stabilize your emotions. These simple self-care activities are essential for regulating your mental health and maintaining your sobriety
4. Join a Recovery Support Group
Addiction treatment aftercare programs often utilize support from recovery support groups. People in recovery are encouraged to join a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), SMART Recovery, and other similar groups. These programs promote feelings of affiliation to help people feel less alone in recovery.
In recovery support groups, members learn about addiction, talk about their experiences, and help each other stay sober. This fellowship allows for an unbreakable network of friends who are navigating their way through challenges in recovery. In addition to providing immense support, the meetings that these fellowships hold allow members to talk about things they would feel uncomfortable talking about with family or other friends. Meetings are safe places where people come to treat their addictions.
5. Help Others
While in treatment, you probably spent a lot of time talking about what you need to do to make your personal life better. However, helping others is a vital aspect of recovery as well. When you help others in their recovery, you are sharing your experience and encouragement. In addition, you may go out of your way to do something for someone else, such as give somebody a ride to a meeting. This allows you to reflect on your journey in recovery and pass your strength and hope on to someone else who is suffering.
Helping others will provide you with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Furthermore, it can make daily concerns and issues seem small – as you are now accomplishing something far more important. Giving back to others will make you feel more satisfied with yourself. This is a feeling that people in recovery enjoy as it helps them maintain sobriety.
6. Stay Aware of the Signs of Relapse
Lastly, it is crucial that you stay aware of the signs of relapse. Upon leaving treatment, you should have an understanding of your triggers and your emotional vulnerabilities. You should also know how to deal with them appropriately. By doing so, you are remaining vigilant and are treating your addiction. However, if you start to engage in unhealthy, old behaviors, this is a sign that you are on the road to relapse. When you are aware of the signs of relapse, you can take whatever action is required to get back on the right path. This could mean going to extra meetings, speaking to a therapist, or doing extra service work.
At Comprehensive Wellness Centers, we know that ongoing care after addiction treatment is crucial for long-term sobriety. That’s why we help our clients prevent relapse through our outpatient and aftercare programs. We assist our patients both during and after rehab while staying in touch with past patients through an alumni program. If you are ready to start the journey of recovery, contact our addiction specialists in Palm Beach today.
Medically Reviewed: January 4, 2020
Medical Reviewer | CWC Recovery Staff
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.