5 Things You Need to Do After Rehab
Going to rehab for addiction is one of the most important things you will ever do for your health and your well-being. Unfortunately, though, your journey to wellness does not end on the last day of rehab. If you want to live a satisfying, healthy and sober life after treatment, you need to plan for the rest of your life in recovery. To get started on the right foot, here are five things you should do as soon as you get back home.
- Continue with treatment. It is so important to understand that addiction is a chronic disease. All chronic illnesses can reappear when treatment lapses, and addiction is no different in this respect. Your rehab program should have helped you come up with a plan for continued treatment, most likely in the form of individual counseling sessions. Keep up with these after you return home from rehab. Don’t skip appointments, even if you are feeling strong in your sobriety. A relapse can happen at any time, but treatment can be helpful in preventing it.
- Join a support group. Whether your rehab encourages you to join a support group after you return home or not, you should consider it. Social support has been proven to be a crucial element of relapse prevention. Having a social network helps in two ways: it indirectly helps you resist stress in difficult times and it gives you direct help when you are feeling weak and like you might relapse. The power of a group of people, and an experienced sponsor to whom you can turn, cannot be overstated.
- Make sober friends. Your social network should extend beyond a support group. You need friends and family around you to support and guide you and also just to have fun with. It is absolutely essential that these friends are sober, or if they do drink occasionally, that they don’t do it around you. You cannot go back to old friends who drink too much or use drugs. Triggers cause relapses and there is no trigger more powerful than memory. Being around those people with whom you got drunk or high, or going to places where you used, will most likely trigger a relapse.
- Learn and practice mindfulness techniques. Speaking of triggers, stress is a major trigger for most people. Stress is a part of life, but for you it is dangerous. Learn to manage your stress right away before it starts to overwhelm you. Research has shown that mindfulness techniques for relaxation, like meditation, reduce cravings and relapses. These techniques are most useful when implemented right away after rehab. You should be able to find community courses in meditation, but also try yoga classes and other types of exercise to mitigate your stress.
- Find a purpose. Your life in recovery, especially in early recovery, will revolve around trying to stay sober. However, to remain sober in the long term and to have a life that is satisfying, you need more than that. You need a purpose in life to make it worth living. Start searching for your purpose by going back to school, getting a new job, doing volunteer work or learning new skills and hobbies. Whatever interests you, go for it and try it.
Early recovery isn’t easy, but it is a crucial stage in your new sober life. In order to be successful at sobriety, you need to take certain steps. The sooner you do these things after rehab, the better your odds of avoiding relapse and learning to live a sober life that is meaningful and satisfying.
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