Congratulations! You have graduated from your addiction rehab program with honors. You have solidified your commitment to recovery, learned deep and meaningful things about yourself and filled your toolbox with the skills you will need to make your sobriety last. Your recovery journey has a solid foundation upon which you will continue to build. It’s a truly wonderful achievement.
Now you’ve reached the next step. The time has come to emerge from the protective environment of your addiction treatment facility and start living your best life. After drug rehab treatment, as you take those first tentative steps out into the world outside, you may be nervous or even anxious about how the next stage will unfold.
Here’s the good news! It’s a super normal feeling. Adjusting to life after rehab is a new experience and comes with the fears and anxieties of any transition phase. It might take a few days or even weeks to adapt to the pace of life after drug rehab treatment, but the foundation you have set with your investment into drug or alcohol rehab will be there for you throughout and guide you forward.
We know the struggles of life after rehab. As previous addicts, and now alumni of Avenues Recovery, we’ve put together the following article based on our experience.
So, you have some questions rattling around in your brain, right? Let’s run through some of the things you might be asking yourself today. Let’s talk it through and remind each other that you are ready for this.
You got this!
Here we go:
What Will My Life After Alcohol Rehab Look Like?
After rehab, you may wonder:
- How will I navigate that first time I go out with friends and there is alcohol at the event or the restaurant we are hitting up?
- What will happen the first time I get triggered by things outside my control? How will I react? Will I remember, in real-time, the skills I learned to combat sudden instigators of my dormant addiction?
- How will I be accepted back at work? Will people welcome me back kindly or will it be awkward and weird?
- Am I doing enough to maintain my commitment to sober life? Should I continue counseling? What should my aftercare look like?
Of course, these are just a sampling of the questions you may have. Maybe there are questions about life after drug and alcohol treatment that aren’t even mentioned here. But the theme and the thread are similar for many people entering this stage full of promise, and the fears associated with it are very common.
Let’s talk about the most important points to remember; the things you can remind yourself of daily.
Adjusting To Life After Rehab
As you navigate day-to-day life, it is important to create a plan. There will be moments when you are challenged. If the blueprint for how to deal with it is already formulated, it will make the trigger or situation you stumbled upon that much easier to overcome.
1. Imagine Scenarios in Your Mind Before They Happen.
Susan from accounting
You walk into the office, ready to begin your new life after addiction. Inevitably, someone will be tactless. There is always one of those, right?
Let’s call her Susan from accounting. Susan is a walking trigger. She is the resident company gossip, perched by the water cooler and horse-trading information on everything going on in everyone’s life besides her own. She is going to ask you a dumb question, possibly before you even have had a chance to take off your coat.
How are you going to react?
Preparing ahead of time can help you! You are ready for her. Instead of spiraling, you will remember to take a deep breath and a step back. You will smile, say something vague, and head over to your desk, calmly, with your coffee in hand, instead of all over her shirt.
You will be ready for the trigger in the moment.
2. Make Aftercare a Priority.
A big part of maintaining the skills you have invested so much in developing during your stay at an addiction treatment facility is aftercare. There are many ways to integrate aftercare concepts into your life after drug rehab.
A. Identify a Sponsor Who is Right For You.
Identifying a sponsor that you can confide in will provide a valuable source of support. A sponsorship relationship offers a person at the beginning of active recovery a shoulder to lean on. Sponsors are people that are stable in recovery, are familiar with the 12 steps, and use their personal experiences with early recovery to help their sponsees through the inevitable challenges of addiction recovery. Finding that shoulder to lean on in difficult moments provides tremendous aid in stabilizing your life after addiction.
In rehab programs like Avenues Recovery, your counselor or case manager will help you find a sponsor with whom you can build a real connection. This relationship can be a huge support.
B. Find a Meeting Near You.
Joining programs like Alcoholics Anonymous  or attending 12-step meetings regularly can keep you focused on your goal of maintaining your sobriety. Aditionally, getting together with like-minded individuals facing similar challenges to your own is a wonderful way to stay focused on recovery, even after you leave treatment. Most towns and neighborhoods have multiple options. So think about your schedule and find a support group that meets regularly at a time that is convenient for you. Putting some thought into which meeting you want to join will give you the best opportunity to regularly attend.
C. Enroll in Your Facility’s Alumni Program.
In a facility like Avenues Recovery, great emphasis is placed on creating a sense of community and family. During your stay at the program, you likely formed strong relationships with both staff and fellow clients. Alumni programs offer you a way to keep those who really understand your journey in your life.
After rehab, you will, in some sense, be back on your own. You might have a job or other family responsibilities keeping you busy and productive. Going on an outing with the people you spent such valuable time with during your stay in addiction treatment, or even just getting together and sharing your new experiences, will keep you grounded. At Avenues Recovery, there is a Facebook group for each facility’s alumni group. That’s a great way to stay digitally connected. You went through a lot together and share a special bond with them. They are a network of relationships well worth maintaining.
Enroll in your facility’s alumni program. You won’t regret it!
D. Continue Counseling.
In the early stages of active addiction recovery, continuing counseling is an excellent idea. Life after drug rehab treatment needs constant adjustments and provides evolving challenges. Talking regularly to an empathetic and professional counselor will help you adjust to your new situation and keep you focused on the benefits of maintaining your sobriety and new lifestyle. In many cases, insurance will cover these counseling sessions so they won’t be an undue financial strain.
Before you leave your addiction rehab program and begin your life after addiction, talk to your treatment team and identify a professional counselor that will best serve your unique needs.
E. Sober Living Programs
Staying in a sober living home  at the beginning of your life after addiction can provide a valuable safety net. Although Sober living homes do not provide actual treatment, living together with people in your situation is, in many cases, a very positive experience. You will be sharing a home and the responsibilities that come with it with others at a very similar point in their lives to yours. You can schedule outpatient programming ( if that is your recommended course of treatment,) while living in a protective environment with other people sharing your current goals.
Upon your graduation, explore sober living home options with your counselor or therapist. They can help you choose a home near your job or outpatient program, that works for you. Your life after alcohol or drug rehab will be richer for it!
3. Create New Routines and Add Meaning To Your Life After Addiction.
Your life after alcohol rehab will be immeasurably enriched if you create structured routines and find time to do things you love.
Do you enjoy writing? Start a diary!
Are you talented with your hands? Build something cool!
Do you find nature walks invigorating? Make time to walk the paths at a local park!
The ideas are endless, and it can be something different for each person. Having a structured schedule can help you find times in your day and week to do something you enjoy. It will provide a place to escape from any noise and just focus on doing things that are fun and make you happy.
4. Celebrate Your Sobriety Milestones!
Your life after drug addiction treatment should be marked with the milestones you reach. The decision you made to get sober and the work you put in to maintain it is worth celebrating.
Don’t let your sober anniversaries go unmarked. After your first month clean, announce it to the masses. Reward yourself in a way that gives you joy. Treat yourself to a massage, or have lunch with some friends. The same goes for two months, half a year, a year, or any other day you feel like celebrating your new life after addiction treatment.
Your decision to get clean took so much courage, and filling your life with meaning with the tools you learned during your stay takes a lot of effort.
Don’t forget to celebrate your growth and the incredible person you are becoming!
Stay in Touch With Your Addiction Treatment Program.
Going to a recovery center like Avenues Recovery was a huge step in changing the trajectory of your life. You will forever be a part of our community, and we want to hear from you as you progress. We are here for you in any way you need us! If you want help finding a sponsor, or you want to join our alumni program, or even if you are just looking for a listening ear, we will always be here to support you.
You’re living life after drug and alcohol treatment! Enjoy every moment of your beautiful journey. Your family at Avenues Recovery Center is at your side, rooting and cheering on every step forward you take.