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Staying Sober After Rehab: 7 Steps for Long-Term Success

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Rehab is a challenging process, but you got through it and learned a lot along the way.  Now, you’re ready to put that knowledge to use.  The world outside rehab can seem overwhelming at first.  But, you have the chance to rebuild your life now that you are stronger and healthier.  Although staying sober after rehab won’t be easy, the following suggestions may prove helpful.

The important thing to remember about sober living after rehab is that it requires commitment.  You must be fully engaged in your recovery journey.  What this means is that you constantly learn and practice strategies that support your sobriety.  

Of course, rehab is not a cure for addiction.  After treatment, you will have many difficult decisions to make.  So, here are 7 steps for staying sober after rehab to help you accomplish your goals.

1) Create a Personal Mission Statement

Having a mission statement is like having a guideline.  It is something you can refer to during moments of self-doubt.  Your personal mission statement can be something like this:  

“Staying sober is my priority.  I must do this for myself.  I will avoid anything that could hinder my success.”

You can also include goals for the future to reinforce your reasons for staying sober after rehab.  Make a list of the ways staying sober will enrich your life.

2)  Make Time for Self-Care

Studies show that people who feel stressed or bored after rehab are more likely to relapse.  So, to avoid this, set aside some ‘me time’ each day.  Use this time to meditate, exercise, listen to music, read, or start a new hobby.  After a while, it will become a good habit that helps you maintain sobriety.

3)  Join a Sober Social Group

During rehab, you were around people with the same goal – to get sober.  But, out in the real world, people aren’t as sensitive to your situation.  You may need to find friends that don’t drink or use drugs.  By minimizing your exposure to temptation, you’ll find staying sober after rehab is possible.

4) Establish a Daily Routine

If you aren’t working yet, find creative ways to find structure in life.  Many people relapse due to not having a sense of purpose or direction.  Your routine can include things like attending support groups or doing volunteer work in the community.  Above all, find sober ways to stay busy that boost your self-esteem.

5) Staying Sober After Rehab by Building Resilience

Resilience refers to the ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity.  You must be able to bounce back from unexpected situations or events without turning to drugs or alcohol. One way to build resilience is to develop good problem-solving techniques. 

You can also build resilience by allowing yourself to reach out for help during times of duress.  Furthermore, you must firmly believe that you can cope by managing your feelings.  Mindfulness therapy is a good resource for developing resilience.

6) Know the Signs of Relapse

According to researchers, most people who relapse do so within the first six months after rehab.  You can reduce your risk of relapse in several ways.  Of course, the five tips above will help.  But, you also need to be aware of the signs of relapse, especially for the first few months out of rehab.  

Undeniably, staying sober after rehab is challenging.  You may often feel tempted to take just one little drink or one little pill.  Despite how harmless it seems, taking one drink or one pill can lead to more.  For this reason, you should know the warning signs of relapse as a precaution.  Avoiding relapse comes easier if you’re not caught off-guard.

The most common signs of relapse include, but are not limited to:

  • A repeated desire to drink or use drugs.
  • Justifying the fact that one drink or pill is all you need.
  • Gradually returning to old patterns of behavior and thinking.
  • Elevated stress levels.
  • Avoiding family or friends.
  • Making unhealthy or irrational choices.
  • Not meeting occupational or social obligations.
  • Failure to make your recovery a priority.

Relapse is a sign that you need additional support or need to make a few more changes in your life after rehab.  Don’t see it as a sign that you failed in your recovery goals.

7)  If You Relapse, Don’t Give Up on Staying Sober After Rehab

The first thing to remember is that you are only human.  If you show signs of relapse, don’t let it derail you.  Once in a while, you’ll feel tempted, and that’s when you should reach out for support.  But, if you relapse, don’t give up.  Take steps to get back on course.  Attend extra self-help groups and counseling sessions.

Staying Sober After Rehab With Help From Design for Change

At Design for Change, we realize the challenges of staying sober after rehab.  For this reason, our program offers extended care services for our clients.  We understand that from time to time, temptation wins out and relapse happens.  With this in mind, we encourage clients to take advantage of our aftercare program as a relapse prevention strategy.

Participation in our aftercare program allows people in recovery to gain ongoing support and advice.  We provide various services to help clients transition to life after rehab.  

Contact us by phone, email, or online to learn more about the extensive treatment options at Design for Change in Lancaster, CA. 

Sources: – There Is Life After Addiction.  Most People Recover – Life After Rehab – Stories of Success

Staying Sober After Rehab: 7 Steps for Long-Term Success