Although one in seven people will face addiction, only 10% will receive help. If you’ve found yourself in part of that 10%, hopefully you’re already on the right path by having completed rehab.
Unfortunately, your road to recovery isn’t over just because your time at rehab has come to a close. You’ll likely find staying sober extremely hard on some days to come.
Not only can a relapse lead to further strains on your relationships, but it can also be deadly. Your body no longer has the tolerance for drugs it once did, and many people end up overdosing because they try to go straight back to their old dose.
If you want to stay clean after rehab, there are a few steps you should take to make your transition back into normal life easier. Keep reading to discover 10 vital things to do as soon as you get out of rehab.
1. Get Rid of Paraphernalia
Whether you checked into rehab yourself or it was court-ordered, you likely went in a hurry. Maybe you didn’t have time to clean out your drug paraphernalia, or maybe you intentionally left it behind.
Either way, you’ll want to make sure it’s all gone before you get home. Otherwise, you’ll have easy access to use again during a time of weakness.
However, removing this paraphernalia yourself can be challenging, especially when you first come out of rehab. The best thing you can do is to contact a loved one and ask them to remove the paraphernalia for you before you leave the facility.
Be honest and tell them everywhere you used to stash your drugs. The last thing you want is to come across a piece of paraphernalia when grabbing socks out of your dresser in the morning.
2. Consider Your Options
Leaving rehab doesn’t mean you’re alone moving forward. In fact, there are tons of options that could help make the transition easier for you.
Sober living communities are a great option if you live with or near other drug users. It’s also a good idea if you fear you’re not quite ready to return home and try sobriety on your own.
There are various kinds of sober living communities, ranging from dorms to ones that look more like houses. Not only will you have a safe and drug-free environment, but you can meet people who are also trying to get clean and bond with them.
If you’re okay living at home, outpatient treatment may be the better option. You can get back to work and attend regular sessions similar to what you had during your time in inpatient treatment.
If neither of the above options sounds right for you, you could also consider therapy. You can go specifically for drug and alcohol counseling, or you can see a therapist for any underlying mental health concerns you may have, such as anxiety and depression.
While treating your mental health may not seem like something that’s important to do right away, it is. You’ll likely want to use again the next time you’re feeling anxious or depressed. However, going to therapy will teach you how you can manage and cope with your mental health without resorting to drugs.
3. Stick to Your Plan
You’ll likely talk to your counselor about all your options and devise a recovery management plan before you ever leave the treatment facility. And it’s important to stick with this plan.
Think of meetings and therapy sessions like exercising. You may be motivated to lose weight, but skipping one gym session because you don’t feel like it quickly leads to skipping a second and third session. Before you know it, you’ve lost all your motivation to hit the gym, and you’re right back where you started.
Don’t let that happen to you during drug recovery. Keep going to your meetings and whatever else is on your plan to keep the momentum up. Which brings us to our next point…
4. Look for Local Meetings
Attending meetings is a vital part of recovery, both during your time in rehab and after. You can make connections with other recovering addicts and continue to talk through your struggles.
Unfortunately, you’ll have a whole new slew of challenges once you return home. You may encounter a loved one who doesn’t want to fix your relationship, or see an old friend you used to do drugs with, or struggle to stay sober when your drug dealer is easily accessible.
A meeting is the perfect place to discuss these new challenges with peers, and get advice on how you can move forward. Knowing where and when your local meetings are is also important in case you relapse (or almost relapse) and need to attend one ASAP.
5. Set Goals for Yourself
During your time in rehab, you likely had one goal in mind: Get clean. That hasn’t changed, but it shouldn’t be the only goal you have for yourself.
Think about what you need to do to rebuild your life. Do you want to go back to school, find a new job, mend relationships with loved ones, or focus on your health?
Then, figure out how you can achieve these goals. Remember, you don’t have to do this overnight. But knowing what direction you want your life to go in and understanding that you need to be sober to do it will help prevent relapses.
6. Focus on Your Happiness
You probably turned to drugs to make you happy for a while. But there are other ways you can achieve happiness and enjoy your life.
Fight the urge to dwell on negative thoughts, whether that’s how much you want to use, the friends you had to cut ties with, or those who didn’t want to mend their relationship with you. The more you think about these things, the sadder you’ll feel, and the more you’ll want to use again.
Instead, focus on being positive. Think about how far you’ve already come in your journey to recovery and all the benefits you can enjoy from living a sober life.
Take time out every day to focus on your happiness. This could include journaling, attending therapy, practicing yoga, or partaking in your favorite hobby. Eating right and exercising can also make you feel better both physically and mentally.
7. Cut Ties with Other Drug Addicts
One of the hardest parts of leaving rehab is having to cut ties with bad influences around you. Many times, this can include life-long friends and spouses. However, if you’re serious about staying sober, you can’t be around others who constantly use.
There are two main ways you can cut ties. Which method you choose will depend on the relationship to the addict and your personal preferences.
Be Upfront and Honest
The first method is best for those you’re very close with. Tell them that you’re trying to turn your life around. You feel better than ever before and have goals you want to accomplish that you need to stay sober for.
Explain that, unfortunately, you cannot remain in contact with them, but you’ll be there for them if they decide to seek help for their addiction.
While you may think this is a conversation to have in-person, that’s not always the best idea. If you think they’ll be high or have paraphernalia laying around when you go to talk to them, consider doing it over the phone instead.
Slowly Phase Them Out
If you’re not close to the addict in question, a phasing-out method may be better. Many times this is less awkward, too, because it doesn’t require that hard conversation that the first method did.
Simply reduce interactions with them over time until you no longer talk to them. During this time, make sure you do not talk about drugs with them or see them while they are using. If you find it difficult to phase someone out, consider using the first method instead.
No matter which method you choose, always remain calm and kind about it. The people you’re cutting ties with may take it poorly, but try not to escalate the situation. Just remember to stand your ground, even if they try to convince you to remain their friend.
8. Find Sober Friends
For some, cutting ties with other addicts may mean that they no longer have any close friends to turn to. This can put you in a difficult place since a solid support system is important to stay sober, but it’s also important to stop hanging around addicts.
The best thing you can do is make an effort to find sober friends. The people you met at your rehab facility, sober living community and meetings are a great start.
Not only do you know they’re trying to stay sober, but oftentimes, they can offer better support and advice than someone who has never struggled with addiction.
Although those who haven’t struggled with addiction can make wonderful friends, some may not understand the struggle you’re going through or may slip up and order a drink at lunch or invite you to a party with alcohol.
However, you shouldn’t avoid making friends because you’re worried they might slip up once in a while. Make friends with those who are sober and respectful. Otherwise, you’ll likely end up sitting home alone thinking about the good times you had using drugs with your old friends.
Did you previously do drugs on the living room floor before you got sober? Is that all you can think about every time you walk into that room? If so, you’re not alone.
Many recovering addicts experience cravings when they see a place they used to do drugs. This is because your brain forms an association between the two, and revisiting these areas can be enough to trigger cravings.
But this isn’t just limited to your home. If you’ve been living and using in the same area for a while, you may experience these cravings every time you walk by a friend’s house or the place you always met your drug dealer.
If this is happening to you, consider moving, if possible. Living in a new house and a new neighborhood free from these associations can help prevent cravings from creeping up everywhere you go.
You can make this move even more beneficial for your sobriety by planning to live near your support system and meeting location. This way, it’ll be easier for you to seek help during moments of weakness.
There’s a reason why 25% of Americans take time out of their hectic lives to volunteer. For many, helping others gives them a sense of satisfaction that they just can’t find anywhere else.
Many addicts suffer from negative and self-destructive thoughts. But volunteering can help you feel better knowing that you’re making a difference in the world and reassure you that you really are changing your life for the better.
Take time to decide what you’re passionate about–whether that’s animals, the environment, or helping the homeless. Then, research the different options to pursue that passion available in your area. You’ll feel much better and enjoy your time more when you’re volunteering with something you truly care about.
Your Checklist to Staying Sober
You made huge strides getting sober during rehab. Don’t let all your hard work go out the window as soon as you leave. Instead, follow this checklist for staying sober to help make your transition home as seamless as possible. From removing paraphernalia from your home to volunteering, there are many things you can do to continue down the road to recovery.
Whether you’ve relapsed or are seeking treatment for the first time, it’s important to let someone help you detox safely. Contact us today to learn more about our detox facility in Stuart, Florida.