What to Expect After Leaving Drug Rehab

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Completing a substance use treatment program is a huge accomplishment, but it’s just the beginning of your journey. The next chapter involves choosing where you are going to live, the goals you have to work toward and how you will maintain sobriety. Due to the many changes and stressors involved in returning home after rehab, it can be a trigger for relapse. Fortunately, by taking some proactive steps, you can safeguard your recovery and increase your chances for staying sober.

Below is more information on what to expect when you’re leaving drug rehab.

Importance of Continuing Care

Continuing care, also known as aftercare, is a phase of treatment that follows more intensive care. The goals of this care are to help you develop a healthy routine, strengthen your recovery skills and keep up your motivation. Studies consistently show that the longer individuals participate in aftercare, the less likely they are to relapse.

There are a number of therapies included in continuing care, such as self-help meetings, group counseling and individual therapy. Peer support, in particular, can be especially beneficial in early recovery as you’re encountering new experiences and sources of stress while relying on newly learned coping skills.

Before you leave rehab, make sure that you have a relapse prevention plan that includes your next steps for care. Your treatment team may suggest weekly group therapy and 12-step meetings and monthly individual sessions, for instance. There will be other recommendations in your relapse prevention plan, including recommendations for where you should live and what your schedule should look like.

Determining Where to Live

When leaving drug rehab, you’ll likely have several living options to choose from: return home to your family, find a new house or apartment or move into a sober living home. There are pros and cons to each one.

Many people return home so that they can begin their transition to the real world. Moving back home may be even more important if you have children to care for. However, if your environment is not stable, it’s best to consider an alternative. You may consider renting your own place, moving in with someone else who is sober or choosing sober living.

Sober living homes offer a number of benefits, such as an opportunity to form meaningful relationships, ongoing support and structure, more time developing life skills and access to resources. With all of this built-in support, the risk for relapse is much lower, and the transition to everyday living is easier. You can learn about the sober living options available in Santa Rosa, CA here.

Building a Social Life

Spending time with others will be an important part of your recovery. Loneliness and isolation are triggers for relapse, but spending time with supportive friends and family protects you from relapse. However, it’s not uncommon to struggle meeting people in early recovery, as you may have burned bridges or deteriorated relationships throughout your addiction. And, the “old” friends you used to hang out with probably aren’t people you want to surround yourself with right now.

Fortunately, there are many ways to meet people and grow your social circle. Consider activities and hobbies that you enjoy, participate in your meetings and self-help groups and get in touch with alumni from your treatment center. Another way to meet people is by volunteering. Plus, volunteering is good for the soul! It combats depression, enhances mental wellbeing and makes you more confident.

Handling Triggers

No matter how “good” your life is at home, you will still encounter triggers. Stress is a part of life, as are other difficult experiences like job loss, illness, mental disorders and death. For months or years, you likely relied on drugs or alcohol to get you through stressful times, but now you will have to face these situations head on. This is why having healthy ways to cope is extremely important.

Treatment programs teach a number of coping strategies such as mindfulness meditation, exercise and deep breathing. You can continue adding to these strategies based on what works for you. For instance, you might find that taking a long walk decompresses you or talking with a good friend relieves anxiety. Keep practicing your coping skills and you will discover the things that work for you.

Help for Substance Use in Santa Rosa, CA

Recovery is truly a lifelong pursuit. Every morning, you must commit to your sobriety and make decisions that support this way of life. While the risk for relapse does diminish over time, it will always be there. This is why it’s important to build a life that supports your recovery and know how to handle stressful situations so that they do not build up and cause problems that can lead you back to substance use.

To start your journey to recovery, or to learn more about our sober living homes in Santa Rosa, contact Pura Vida Recovery today. We provide a number of services outside of drug and alcohol treatment, including medication management, education, career development and sober living.