Leaving rehab can be one of the most challenging transitions you’ll have to face during recovery. Many people find that they’ve formed close friendships with the people they’ve met in rehab. The environment there may have encouraged feelings of acceptance, safety, and encourage that you finally had gotten used to. Leaving this environment for the harsh realities of your old life can be a shock. You may feel like a completely different person, one who is healthier and dedicated to staying sober. Returning to an environment that hasn’t changed as much as you have is a challenge to say the least.
The following guidelines can help make the transition to life after rehab a little less painful.
Make sure you have a plan, and stay motivated.
Most rehabs will have a discharge plan created by a discharge coordinator for every patient leaving the program. You can get involved in the creating that plan yourself. Patients who do so tend to have a higher rate of success in recovery than others. Some patients who have a higher risk of relapsing will get extra attention put into their post rehab plan. But it’s always a good idea to have a lot of resources in place, including 12 step meetings, support groups, and literature for recovery.
Consider a different living situation.
Many of those leaving rehab find they have made big changes to themselves during treatment, but the people, places, and situations associated with their old lives have stayed the same. This is one of the biggest hurdles you have to face after rehab. If you feel your old living situation strikes up unpleasant emotions and urges that put you in danger of a relapse, it may be a good idea to move. Their are transitory residences out there that your rehab can recommend.
Find a sober social network.
This is another important step to take after life rehab. It can be easy to isolate yourself post rehab, especially if you’re having a hard time adjusting. Build your social network by finding a 12 step meeting, support group, or even by getting in touch with family and friends who are supportive of your recovery. Having this kind of supportive network can make all the difference when you’re faced with a life hurdle or a possible relapse.
Most rehabs have set schedules that begin the moment you wake up to the right when you get back into bed. Part of what makes former addicts and alcoholics feel more stabilized is having a set schedule like that to rely on day after day. You can continue to stay consistent with your daily routine even after you leave treatment. You can continue to schedule meals, showers, exercise, and even naps or other downtime into your daily routine.
Take care of your mental well being.
This is an area that can all too easily be neglected post rehab. It’s very unfortunate because many addicts and alcoholics also have mental health issues that need to be addressed. You can ensure your mental health is nurtured by regularly seeing a therapist, attending a support group that focuses on your specific issue, journaling, reading inspirational books, exercising, or doing anything else that fosters a sense of well being.
Lend a hand to someone in need.
Addicts can be a self absorbed bunch, even during recovery. This is why it’s so important to volunteer or lend a hand to someone else. Doing so reminds you that your needs aren’t the most important in the world. It also takes the focus off of your own recovery for awhile. You can also feel good about giving back to a community that was there when you needed it most.