life after rehab

Starting to Live a Life After Addiction

Whether you are just getting started on your rehabilitation journey by making the decision to get help with detox or nearing the end of your treatment, it is common to wonder what life after addiction will be like. Having been stuck in a cycle lead by substance abuse, a time for readjustment is in order. At this point, there are many emotions to balance, and though you have come this far already, this is actually just the beginning.

Take a minute to evaluate your accomplishments thus far; every bit of healing up to this point is something to be proud of. Remember all of the skills and behavioral habits that you have been working on in rehab therapy. In the early stages of your treatment, learning the coping methods were an important part. Now, it is up to you to use those coping skills to manage your sobriety and continue to live your life after addiction. However, because addiction is a disease, you may never feel completely secure in a place of recovery. That is what being an addict is all about. 

For some, the next part of the journey in recovery is an easy one. But for many others, life after addiction is filled with constant practice and awareness. Now that you’ve worked so hard to keep a stronghold on gaining sobriety. 

Many Things May Seem Different in Your Life After Addiction

Addiction is a very big hurdle to overcome, and many underestimate how much control it has over them. That is until you begin to live your life after addiction treatment. While being an active user, there was no thought about how many areas of your life involved intoxication, or the desire to be abusively under the influence. As you come out of rehab and begin to move back into the usual priorities of life, you will start to notice precisely how often addiction had control. You will start to realize how behind every routine that you were previously accustomed to, and there was significant motivation surrounding your addiction. Even something so thoughtless as how early you were able to wake up and get your day started, or how late you got moving and rushed to meet daily appointments. When, how and what you ate, or even who you were surrounded by, and where. Your previous motivations may have different meanings now. 

At times, this can leave you with an empty feeling. However, it is very important to remain aware of these circumstances as you begin your life after addiction. The fact that you are beginning to notice these behaviors and the motivations behind them proves that you have learned how to be mindful. This is why developing coping skills are so important when making your plans for recovery and post-rehab treatment. 

Life After Addiction Means Taking Back Control

Addiction is a disease that will stay with you. However, the clarity and sobriety that you have now achieved through rehab will make you realize what has been missing all along. Though you have removed the dangerous substances and stopped the negative behavior, it will feel as though you were given back so much at the same time. This sense of control you have over your sobriety may seem euphoric in itself, but remember, so did your addiction in the beginning. Your addiction disease grew to be the giant that was able to take over, due to chasing that same feeling of what you thought was a pleasure. So within moving through the stages of your addiction, you developed habits slowly. The same is true when moving on with your life after addiction is not the one in control. 

Behaviors will have to be altered. People, places, and things will have to that will be changed or even removed in order to remain the one in control. You may need to find new ways to deal with boredom, stress, anxiety, or even loneliness because your addiction is no longer your crutch. Take into consideration how long your substance abuse has taken the lead. It would be an understatement of addiction as a disease to assume that a one, two, or even three-month program will mend all of the difficulties you will face. However, with a bit of practice and self-control, you can create new patterns in your day to day life. Before long, these behavioral patterns will become habits, and life after addiction will start to feel like a new normal. 

Coming to Terms With What Others May Think 

Now that you have taken time away to get the most out of rehab. You must now make the changes in your personal relationships to ensure that you have a meaningful life after addiction. As I’m sure you know, this is not an overnight process, nor will this be handed to you in any way. But remember how many people were there to support you when deciding to get the treatment that you needed. These people will still be there for you, and even more, will be cheering you on than before. Now is the time you will have to adjust how you will present this other, sober, brighter version of you. This is the “you” that was able to come forward and take hold of your substance abuse; And now, the you that will work to live your best life after addiction treatment

Staying positive and motivated to remain clean and make sober choices may not be the hardest part for everyone, though. Some people that only just learned about your substance addiction may approach you a bit differently. Typically, this is not meant in a mean or even demeaning way, and it is not something that you should rely on heavily unless you have amends to make. Many non-addicts will just never understand how important your journey to recovery is to you, and others may have never had to face someone that is working through their life after addiction. In general, no one wants to say the wrong thing, and no one wants to set you back or make you feel uncomfortable. The reality is that they may want to extend a handshake or high-five, or maybe even an enthusiastic hug, but are concerned that you might judge them in some sort of way for it. Regardless, this is part of the recovery process, and may even help to develop positive relationships along the way. 

Dealing with Some Things Might Be More Challenging Than Others

Accepting the high-fives and well wishes may not be the case with everyone, and not everyone will respect your privacy. Things may be said to you or behind your back, but this is not something to dwell on when moving forward with life after addiction took hold. Use these experiences to your advantage. Though you really have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself, you can use this time to reflect and focus your life. Consider who you are when you are sober, and how you want to be seen as an individual, not only as an addict. 

This also may be something you face when bumping into those you considered friends before you changed your life after addiction rehab treatment. Having learned that positive and supportive peer groups are essential to your continued sobriety, some of these people might feel slighted or even downright betrayed that you are no longer using substance abuse as a crutch. However, it will become more and more obvious how continuing along with the same group of friends that supported your addiction will put you at risk of relapse. Though no doubt you will be stronger in the sense of making more clear choices thanks to being sober when it comes to your addiction, you may still be vulnerable as temptation will always be lurking nearby. 

Recovery Continues Long After Rehab Ends

Recovery management plans that are made in rehab are designed to extend throughout the rest of your life. Addiction is a disease, and so far, even with advancements in medicine and science, it does not have a cure. Life after addiction requires that your recovery plan remains an ongoing process. There are many addicts in recovery that have to move around their entire lives to avoid relapse. Significant changes may have to be made, such as:

  • Getting a new job and leaving an old one 
  • Planning a move out of a residence that promotes unhealthy habits or dangerous conditions
  • Investing in a new career
  • Ending toxic relationships
  • Or even distancing yourself from negative family members

While some of these may sound extreme, the alternative will most likely lead to relapse. Discussing these issues with your group or in therapy will help you get a better idea of how to handle these issues. Being aware that may interfere with your life after rehab in a negative way, will make adapting to change less intimidating. 

Your Life After Addiction May Not Be Perfect

The process of drug and/or alcohol inpatient rehabilitation includes detox, therapy, group sessions, reflection, recovery plans, managing sobriety, and potentially much more. Each of these programs must be taken seriously. The lessons must be committed to in order to maintain a level of health and wellbeing in your life after addiction recovery. But when you are back out in the world, temptation does happen — moments of weakness come up. Because substance abuse has intertwined itself into so many areas of your life, there will be triggers all around you. 

The coping skills you have developed and worked diligently to incorporate into your life, are designed to help you manage obstacles that entice your cravings. However, the things that set our addiction temptations into motion can be anything from family and friends to stress or even memories. When gearing up to face challenges in your life after addiction has worked its way in, relapse can still happen, and it can happen to any of us. 

Relapse Will Always Be a Possibility

Unfortunately, as humans, we make mistakes. We fall down, and as a result, we hurt our own pride. When we relapse, so many emotions come flooding through us. You may have feelings of shame, fear, regret, disgust, hopelessness, and even failure. 

And while these are very normal responses to the times in our lives when things don’t go as planned, it is important to remember that you need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and re-evaluate your life. After addiction has reared its ugly head once again, you have a choice to make. You can either take the lessons that you have been practicing during and after rehab and put them to good use or let substance abuse ruin your life and, eventually, take that very life from you. 

It is a well-known fact in the recovery community that the first three to six months are the hardest to get through in order to avoid relapse. Some changes physical or behavioral are hard to make overnight, and in the course of doing so, your addiction is waiting for its chance to tempt you again. Relapse is not a failure. It is just another way of telling you that you may need to focus more attention on a specific trigger or part of your life. If you think you may need more help, then the best decision is to get help before it is too late. You don’t want to risk the rest of your life by waiting to see what will happen without it.

Avoiding or Managing Relapse: What You Should Know

First and foremost, do not simply ignore a relapse. This will only lead to bigger problems for you further down the road. By pretending it didn’t happen, you are in denial. As you will learn in rehab, denial is lying, and lying about substance abuse will only make it harder to find sobriety once again. Instead of pretending it didn’t happen or hang your head in shame, try one of these healthy options, and get your life back on the right track. 

Try switching it up. The support that we receive while maintaining our sober life after addiction treatment may not always be the most beneficial to us. As we mentioned earlier, recovery is a journey, and part of what makes the journey of life so exciting is that it is always changing. As things in our lives change, so do the types of people, support groups, and types of treatment that we need to be involved with to keep our recovery on track. Reach out to your rehab or local treatment resources. Find that support group, get involved with sober peers in your area, join a gym, and take action to manage stress or anxiety that could become destructive. There are so many options! Try one, try another, try them all even, just remember that making positive changes are necessary when managing your life after addiction in the real world. 

Other Life After Addiction Recovery Management Options

Some of the programs that are led by professionals have specialized methods that may work best for you after rehab in order to deal with or prevent relapse. Some of these that you should be sure to get involved in are:

Personal and Private Therapy

Therapists are trained to help you get down to the bottom of any difficulties that you may be holding inside. There are doctors that are trained specifically in recovery and relapse matters and are usually available through your treatment facility. Sometimes just saying things out loud to someone that’s really listening can help you figure out what potential issues you may face up ahead. 

Regular Doctor Visits

Seeing your primary doctor should definitely remain a top priority in your life, especially after addiction has taken its toll on your body and mind. Being healthy and feeling good is what living is all about, and getting regular checkups can make sure of that. 

AA, Na, SMART Or Alternative Support Groups

The 12-Step Program is often available through alternative support groups and provides you with specialized goals to achieve as you power through life in recovery. There are also support groups that are available for those that prefer to maintain sobriety in the company of those that share the religion, values, sexual orientation, age groups, or ethnic and cultural values. These are typically run by teachers that can offer assistance when your life after addiction needs a boost in the right direction.

The Best Part of Getting Help For Addiction Is Your Life After

The good news is, there is a happy, fulfilling, and sober life after addiction that is waiting for you right this second. When you have the clarity from living free of drug and/or alcohol addiction, the possibilities are endless. You can and will have a positive future that incorporates your goals of recovery because that what rehab is designed to help you get back in your life. If you are living with a substance abuse problem, your life doesn’t have to end there. In fact, your rehabilitation journey can start right now. It will be something that you have to give your patience and dedication to, but now knowing the healthy and meaningful life that you can get back, it will all be worth it. Crest View has the information and treatment that you need to get going and get clean ready, and waiting for you this very moment. Knowing that, why waste another one? Call (877) 978-3125 and get the rest of your life started

References: 

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/life-after-rehab#1

https://psychcentral.com/lib/11-tips-on-how-to-start-over-after-rehab/

https://health.usnews.com/wellness/articles/2017-04-24/why-do-alcoholics-and-addicts-relapse-so-often

Content Reviewed by Jacklyn Steward

Jacklyn StewardJacklyn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and an EMDR trained trauma therapy specialist with over 6 years of experience in the field of addiction. She has a Masters Degree in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Counseling from Nova Southeastern University.