Moving on from rehab can be a really exciting time. You should feel very proud of yourself for all of your accomplishments and your decision to change your life for the better. But, leaving rehab can also bring on new challenges when learning how to navigate your new, sober lifestyle.
The Start of Recovery
Rehab provides a solid foundation of security, as well as the tools you need to heal and cope even after leaving the facility. It offers a supported living environment that promotes comfort and safety. Having all of these helpful factors makes it easier for someone struggling with addiction to stay sober.
The good news is that by being aware of the temptations you may face after leaving the rehab facility, you can learn how to manage and control your triggers. This will certainly make staying sober after rehab a much more attainable goal.
Beating the Statistics
Drug and alcohol relapse statistics show the percentage of people who will relapse after a period of recovery ranges from 50% to 90%. That is a scary statistic and is often used as a justification for someone who wants to continue with their addiction.
What these numbers don’t show is that there are a number of things that someone can do to greatly increase their chances of sobriety. Those who are more serious about aftercare greatly increase their chance of success. Unfortunately, those who are not supported after rehab are oftentimes the ones that end up returning to their addiction.
How to Manage Common Temptations After Rehab
After leaving rehab, you may unfortunately find yourself in various trigger situations that may make you want to go back to your old habits and use again. Simple things like returning to your home, seeing family members and friends, and even certain emotions can cause you to relapse.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do after rehab that will help you fight off these temptations that you come across in your daily life:
- Find a solid support system – You will need to surround yourself with positive, sober people who have your best interest at heart. They want you to be successful in your new life after rehab. You can also find a local support group in your area and someone you can call when you feel tempted.
- Modify your environment – Before you return from rehab, ask a friend or relative to remove any paraphernalia from your home. Also, try to avoid going places where you would normally go to abuse.
- Set goals for the future – When you have future plans, it will be much easier to manage your temptations when you come across them. When you know why you want to stay sober and better your life, staying on track will be much easier.
- Keep your follow-up appointments – If you have follow-up appointments scheduled, make sure you attend them. You may feel tempted to skip these appointments with your rehab center or doctor, but just know that missing these appointments will only hurt you. Let them help you so you don’t have to manage this new life all on your own.
- Find a moment each day to be thankful – When you truly appreciate the new life you’ve been given, staying on track becomes a lot easier. Consider starting a gratitude journal and write down 5 things each day that make you feel happy and fulfilled.
- Create new, happy habits to replace the old ones – A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology shows that it takes more than two months before a new habit become automatic. So find a new, positive habit that you enjoy and stick to it!
When starting your new sober life, it is also important keep your mind occupied with new habits after rehab that are fun and enjoyable:
- Play sports
- Visit an arts and crafts shop
- Go back to school/take online courses
- Learn a new language
- Plant a garden
Benefits of a Sober Life
In addition to just living a healthier and happier life, there are a lot more benefits than you may think to living a sober life. For one, your body gets healthier and stronger. This allows you to excel and enjoy daily activities that make your life more meaningful.
Also, something as simple as getting better quality sleep can greatly benefit your daily life. However, it is not just the physical benefits you reap from a sober life. Here are some other reasons to stay sober:
- Make new, sober friends
- Saving money
- Enhanced mental clarity and excitement for life
- More energy to do the things you enjoy
- Looking and feeling better
- Becoming a source of hope to others who are struggling with their addictions
Remember Why You Chose Sobriety
Of course, no one said going through rehab would be simple. And it certainly won’t be a seamless process when you leave and have to go back to your “normal” routine. Every journey starts with a small step in the right direction. When you are feeling tempted to slip back into your old habits, remember why you decided to get sober in the first place.
Alcoholrehab.com. (2016). Beating the Relapse Statistics. http://alcoholrehab.com/addiction-recovery/beating-the-relapse-statistics/
Addiction Center. (2016). How Do I Stay Sober After Rehab? https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/stay-sober-after-rehab/