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What to Expect After Rehab: Getting Through the First 30 Days and Beyond

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Going to rehab was one of the biggest and best decisions of your life.  You have completed the treatment program, and now you begin the journey to sober living.  Are you feeling vulnerable and anxious about what lies ahead?  Do you worry whether you can cope with the challenges of  staying sober after rehab?  It’s okay, you’re not alone.  

More than 22 million people are in recovery and facing the same situation.  If you wonder what to expect after rehab, the following pointers might be helpful to you.

Staying Sober After Rehab and Beyond

No doubt, the first 30 days after rehab are challenging.  Based on statistics, about 60% of people in recovery relapse within the first six months after rehab.  But, with a solid plan and a strong support network, you can avoid relapse and maintain your commitment to sobriety.

To help you stay on track in early recovery, familiarize yourself with these tips for staying sober after rehab.  When you have a plan, you are more likely to achieve your recovery goals. 

Here are 10 tips for staying sober after rehab:

#1.  Remember the Reasons You Got Sober 

In early recovery, it’s important to remember your reasons for getting sober.  Perhaps you were having relationship problems due to substance use.  Or, your job or career was in jeopardy.  Maybe you noticed physical or mental health issues, memory problems, or suffered legal consequences.  

Keeping those reasons in mind when you have a difficult day or a setback will keep you motivated.

#2.  Seek Sober, Like-Minded People

Being sober doesn’t mean you’ll never have fun again.  You just need to find new ways to socialize that you will enjoy without being high.  Align yourself with sober people who can help you explore various entertainment venues that don’t promote drugs or alcohol.  

#3.  Attend Support Groups Regularly

Support groups are a great resource for staying sober after rehab.  You can share your experience with others who are facing the same struggles.  Their tips for coping with triggers can help you get through some difficult days.  

#4.  Establish a Daily Routine for Staying Sober After Rehab

In the early stages of sobriety, everything can seem overwhelming, confusing, and unpredictable.  These feelings can lead to relapse, so you need a plan that will keep you on track.  Set up a daily routine that includes regular mealtimes, activities, meetings, chores, errands, and sleep schedules. 

Following a routine will help you feel more in control of your day.  Research shows that anxiety and boredom are the leading causes of relapse in early recovery, so you want to do what you can to avoid such situations.

#5.  Get Plenty of Exercise and Nutrition

Regular exercise eases stress and anxiety and simply makes you feel better.  Exercise also helps reduce lingering withdrawal symptoms or other discomforts that are part of early sobriety.  A brisk walk or bike ride can help you enjoy boosted energy, improved mood, better sleep, and increased self-confidence.  

Nutrition is essential to a person’s overall mental and physical health.  Healthy foods help your body heal from the toxins that drugs or alcohol leave behind.  As your mind and body heal, you’ll feel healthier and stronger.  You’ll feel better about yourself, gain improved mental clarity, and develop a more positive outlook.  

#6.  Try Guided Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation helps you focus on expanding your awareness and calming your mind.  It usually involves deep breathing in a seated position for a few minutes to an hour or more.  

Mindfulness is being aware and present in the present moment.  You can practice mindfulness anywhere, anytime.  You are actively involved in all your senses rather than letting your mind wander.  

If you can’t sit still long enough for meditation, try a meditation app such as Calm, Smiling Mind, or Sattva.  They offer different lengths and intensities so you can choose what works best for your needs.

#7.  Develop a New Hobby

As mentioned earlier, boredom is one of the leading causes of relapse.  In early recovery and beyond, it’s important to stay busy.  Some people try art, music, reading, hiking, sports, or cooking.  A hobby is a great way to stay busy and do something that makes you feel good about yourself.

#8.  Volunteer to Help Others

A sense of purpose can be gained from helping others.  Finding a productive way to fill your free time can help improve your communication skills and allows you to meet other sober individuals.  

Examples of ways to help others include volunteering at a soup kitchen, helping at an animal shelter, or tutoring students, just to name a few.  Talk to a school principal, pastor, or healthcare worker for additional suggestions.

#9.  Make a Plan for Sobriety

Making a plan for sobriety means setting goals.  Having an idea of what to work toward will help you stay on track.  For instance, set a goal to attend weekly support groups.  You could also plan to attend anger management meetings or practice improved self-care (sufficient sleep, relaxation strategies, nutritional diet, etc.)  Make a list of your goals and keep a journal to track your progress.

#10. Reach Out for Support for Staying Sober After Rehab

Don’t be ashamed to ask for help.  It is not a sign of weakness.  Asking for help shows that you have courage and strength and that your success is important to you.  You can reach out to a professional or to a family member or friend that you trust.  

Design for Change Recovery in Lancaster, CA specializes in helping our clients learn how to stay sober after rehab.  

Reach out to us today if you are looking for effective treatment for addiction.


  • – There Is Life After Rehab
  • – Nutrition Status and Eating Habits of People Who Use Drugs and/or are Undergoing Treatment for Recovery: A Narrative Review
  • – Mindfulness Exercises
  • – How to Develop a Successful Personal Recovery Plan
What to Expect After Rehab: Getting Through the First 30 Days and Beyond