Life after rehab treatment
Your recovery from addiction doesn’t end after you leave rehab, but is a lifelong journey. The best addiction treatment center will give you support at every step of this healing journey.
Many addiction treatment programs offer a range of post-rehab programs and resources, designed to guide the patient through the challenges that occur early on during recovery, as well as preparing for life away from the rehab center.
Just like diabetes or a heart condition, addiction is a chronic illness, and requires attention, care and management even outside of the addiction treatment center. You will need to change your lifestyle, see a doctor, and perhaps even make changes to your addiction treatment plan after you have left rehab.
If you don’t take the necessary precautions and lifestyle changes, you may end up relapsing. But relapsing should not be a sign of failure — it’s merely an indicator that you need to have a new approach to your recovery.
Your post-rehab recovery plan
Finishing rehab is a major accomplishment, but that’s not the end of your journey. Sobriety is a lifelong path, and that means there will be more work to be done. The world still contains the source of your addiction and you will still face the risk of relapse outside the safety of an addiction center.
That is why after rehab, many addiction treatment centers will provide a detailed plan for continuing guided recovery when you have returned to your daily life. This plan that is formulated by your treatment team will be deeply personalized in order to fit your individual needs for a complete recovery. The plan will include structured support from your team as well as other recovery resources that will best fit your needs.
Some of the signature services of your recovery plan will include the following:
- Care groups
- Recovery coaching
- Smartphone apps
- Online social networks
- Internet-based activities and tools for recovery
- Recovery get-aways
Steps you can take on your own
Recovery means having a lifetime plan. Parts of this plan will have to be on your own initiative, independent of the plan your treatment team makes for you. Ultimately, you are the one with the final decision in your recovery. You can take these following steps for success to ensure recovery and avoid relapse:
- Make friends with people who are sober – avoid a social circle that is filled with those who are heavily influenced by drug and alcohol use. Tell people that you meet, when the topic of drinking arises, about your life’s situation and your commitment to sobriety. If they do not respect your recovery, and are not supportive, and try to coax you back into old habits, then these “friends” are not your friends.
- Stay focused on your work – take a hard look at your work setting and decide what role it played in contributing to your addiction. Whether your addiction was enabled by coworkers, or if it is unenjoyable enough that it makes you turn to substances, or any other potential triggers. If any of the aforementioned is the case, you should look for another place to work.
- Seek answers – if you are talking about your issue, it can help to reveal the root causes of your addiction. Don’t let your emotions bottle up — if you are struggling, talk about it with someone you trust, or you might be drawn back into addiction.
- Create a supportive network – Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous can serve as a social foundation to keep you on the path of sobriety. When you have a sponsor — someone else in a support group who you can turn to in order to prevent a relapse — you have a much greater chance of remaining sober.
- Be there for others – Not only do you have the fortune of depending on other people for support, but, in turn, you should also return the help to others in your sobriety social circle who need it. What goes around, comes around!
Assistance for the family
In many cases, even after a patient leaves rehab, there is tension with their family. In other cases, the patient’s struggle to adjust back to “normal” life could produce stress for the family. An aftercare program will provide support and counseling for the family. These might include:
- Individual counseling sessions for partners, spouses, and children
- Group therapy for the entire family
- Programs that will educate your family on the nature of addiction as a chronic illness and mental disease
- 12-step programs for the family to participate in alongside the addict
A member of the household with an addiction can also hurt the rest of the family financially. Some aftercare plans will include financial assistance to families, with services such as job placement, diet counseling, childcare and transportation. The aftercare program will also help to create a safe, healthy environment for the family, ensuring that younger family members do not fall into substance abuse.
Addicts who have a co-occurring mental disorder, such as depression, anxiety, bi-polar, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, have a higher chance of relapsing. Your aftercare program should provide mental health treatment for these conditions.
It’s about making the right choices
When it comes down to it, even the best laid-out plans are not a guarantee that will prevent you from relapsing. In the end, whether you relapse or not depends on your choice.
The American Psychiatric Association states that addiction, a chronic disease like diabetes or arthritis, can’t ever be “cured,” but only managed every day. Addiction is a disease that will require treatment for the rest of your life. The more resources you have, the greater your chances of coming as close to a sober state as possible.
Recovery means going out as far to the edge as you can, without falling off. Supportive teams and rehab resources will be there to assist you, but ultimately, the path of sobriety is a choice, and it’s up to you to make it — and keep it.