A Guide to Life After Rehab

While completing rehab is a vital step to recovery, you have to remember that life after rehab presents its own challenges that you need to be prepared for.

What Happens Before and After Rehab?

Just as with before starting, life after rehab requires preparation. Leading up to it, you need to tie up loose ends, cover your day-to-day responsibilities (job, children, pets, bills, etc.), and pack the essentials. It’s also a good idea to purge your living space of anything that might trigger your addiction when you return. These steps make a clean break from daily life so you have a clear head going into rehab with fewer excuses to end treatment early once you’re there.

At the same time, you also need to consider how you can set yourself up for success afterwards. Not all treatment programs are created equally, but the best ones build aftercare into the treatment plan. It’s important to take responsibility for staying sober after rehab ends so you can continue hitting your milestones and becoming the best version of yourself. Here’s where to start.

What’s the Most Important Thing To Do After Rehab?

Many people are under the impression that the hardest work happens in rehab. Unfortunately, most rehab programs are structured to provide the foundation for recovery in a controlled environment. That’s why the most important thing to do after rehab is to develop a plan and follow it through by identifying someone, often a sponsor who has your best interest at heart and can hold you accountable to your recovery goals.

Prepare To Navigate High-Risk Situations on Your Own

Inpatient rehab programs are designed to cultivate a safe space where someone in recovery can gain the tools needed to manage sobriety in the real world. While that’s certainly beneficial, you don’t necessarily learn how to face more challenging moments on your own without someone always looking over your shoulder. That’s why one of the most difficult skills to learn is learning how to identify and navigate high-risk situations that may increase the chance of relapse.

What should you do when you’ve tried but rehab doesn’t seem to be working?

Life After Rehab: How To Develop a Plan for Success

As you’re developing a plan for success after rehab, be sure to incorporate the following steps:

Follow Up on Aftercare Options

As mentioned above, many rehab centers offer some form of aftercare, but that degree of support varies. Make sure to take advantage of any resources or programs they offer, including outpatient services, ongoing therapy, and support groups. These help bridge the gap between rehab and real life as you adjust your lifestyle to healthier routines.

Find a Sponsor

In rehab, you’re supervised by a team who ensures you stay sober, attend treatment sessions, and stay on track to achieve your goals. While family members and close friends can help keep you accountable in life after rehab, it’s best to also have the support of someone who has successfully recovered themselves. They’ve been to rehab and know what it takes to succeed afterwards.

Build a Support Network

We believe that addiction thrives in isolation, and you can combat both with community and connection. By finding a sponsor or recovery mentor, you can take the first step, and they’ll likely already be part of a supportive community you can join. You can also start building your own with trusted family and friends. Be honest with them about the challenges you’re facing.

When you’re struggling with recovery and the only support you have is yourself, it’s only a matter of time before you relapse. With a support network, you don’t have to do it all on your own, with the solace of knowing that nobody’s expecting you to.

Put in the Work Every Day

Again, it’s a common misconception that the hard work is over after rehab when it’s only just beginning. In reality, recovery requires putting in the work each and every day. Sure, some days will feel easier than others, and it’s important to identify the patterns and routines in your life that make it easier to stay sober. But be prepared to encounter triggers on a daily basis with the awareness that it’s not the triggers that matter—those may never go away—it’s how you respond to them.

Be Honest About the Risk of Relapse

If you ignore the possibility of relapsing after completing rehab, you’re doing yourself a disservice. By thinking it can’t or won’t happen to you, you won’t be prepared to deal with triggers in a healthy productive way. To overcome this, be honest with your support network about the risks you’re encountering in your life, moments when you’re tempted to drink or use again, and what to do if you relapse.

Explore Options To Bridge Treatment and Life After Rehab

Succeeding after rehab is all about how well you can apply what you learned in the treatment center to everyday life. If you’re struggling with addiction, it’s like you have a problem falling off of your bike. When you enter a traditional or residential treatment program, they provide you with “training wheels” in a safe, supportive environment to protect you from falling off. However, as soon as treatment ends, the training wheels come off, and you’re at risk of falling off again as you adapt to the new terrain outside of rehab.

If you want to prioritize recovery after rehab, at-home treatment options are worth exploring. Instead of training wheels, the team at ALYST serves as a hand on the back of your seat. We’re here helping you ride the bike, but once you find your balance, we can let go until you’re riding on your own.

What Can You Do To Help an Addict Recover After Rehab?

If someone you care about has recently completed rehab, understand that helping may not always feel like it. That’s why we put together a guide for how to help someone recovering from addiction. If you know someone who has tried rehab multiple times and still hasn’t found success, learn more about how ALYST’s concierge approach to treatment can help bridge the gap between real life and recovery.