Completing rehab for drug or alcohol addiction is a major accomplishment that should make anyone feel proud. But even amid the pride, you may be feeling some uncertainty, as well. How will you adjust to life outside of rehab? Can you repair relationships that have been damaged because of your addiction? What can you do to avoid triggers? And, most importantly, what happens if you relapse?
One Month After Drug Rehab
During the first thirty days after you complete rehab, there are several goals you should focus on to help you adjust to your new sober life.
The first goal is to find and attend several different support group meetings close to you to determine which one you like and feel most comfortable attending regularly. In addition, you should seek out a person that you can contact if you feel triggered, such as a therapist or a loved one.
The second goal to consider as you navigate life after rehab is to give yourself time to adjust. Take your reentry into normal life slowly. Create boundaries and a schedule you can follow that will help you stay balanced and sober.
The third goal is to know how to identify and manage withdrawal symptoms. You may still experience some physical withdrawal symptoms during this first month after rehab. Symptoms you may have include:
- Heightened heart rate and/or blood pressure
- Sweating, chills, runny nose, and fever
- Body aches, pains, and cramps
- Hallucinations, seizures, confusion
- Nausea, vomiting, and decreased appetite
- Insomnia, restlessness
- Anxiety, nervousness, increased stress
- Volatile and unpredictable mood swings, and prolonged periods of depression
Should you experience any of these, be patient and kind to yourself during these episodes. Reach out for help and know they will pass with time.
Three Months After Drug Rehab
By this point in your post-rehab life, you should be starting to feel better — both physically and mentally. Your cravings for substances or alcohol should be diminished. If you have been eating better and incorporating some physical activity, you should be experiencing improved health as well.
You still need to regularly attend group support meetings and counseling sessions, no matter how much better you may be feeling. Both of these can assist you as you continue to navigate the challenges of living a sober life. If your addiction impacted your job, now might be a good time to start exploring some employment options with a career counselor.
Six Months After Drug Rehab
Achieving six months of sobriety after rehab is a major accomplishment. At this point, you will have most likely experienced a mix of good and bad days, but you should also be able to recognize the progress you have made.
At this point in your sober journey, you might want to start reaching out to repair damaged relationships with friends and family. It is possible that some of the people you reach out to will be skeptical about your recovery. Others may be angry about your previous behavior and actions. When you have the chance to make a genuine apology to someone, you should. But you may also have to take continued steps to repair the relationship.
One Year After Drug Rehab
Congratulations on making it to a year of sobriety! Celebrate your achievement by doing something with your family, friends, loved ones, and anyone who has supported you during this first year of your recovery. As you continue to look ahead, you may want to start sharing more about your recovery story with others who are starting out in treatment. You may also find it helpful to create a five-year plan of goals, whether personal or professional. Finally, continue to look for new ways to stay motivated in your sober life.
Tips to Stay Sober After Rehab
Continuing to avoid drugs and alcohol will be a challenge. Addiction is a chronic disease, just like high blood pressure or diabetes. You will have an addictive predisposition for the rest of your life, but addiction can be managed. Some things that can help you stay sober after leaving rehab include:
- Find sober friends. You need to surround yourself with people that support you in your endeavor to stop using drugs or drinking.
- Talk about issues. Figuring out what led you to substance use in the first place can be helpful to maintaining sobriety
- Create a support network. From family and friends to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, have people that you can connect with when triggered.
- Reconsider your job. If your work is a potential trigger, you may need to rethink your career and find a new way to earn a living that won’t impact your sobriety.
- Commit to helping others. Many people find it helpful for their own sober life to help others stop using drugs or alcohol.
Even if someone follows all of these steps, it is still possible to relapse. Relapse is not a sign of failure. Instead, it is simply a part of the recovery process, which doesn’t end just because you have completed rehab. Recovery is a lifelong process.
If you’re looking for ongoing support in early recovery, consider enrolling in an outpatient treatment program like ours at Bridges of Hope. We can provide you with the support you need to stay sober as you re-enter into everyday life.
At Bridges of Hope, our treatment philosophy is based on a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing all issues related to substance use and mental health disorders. We utilize therapeutically proven, evidence-based clinical practices to provide superior patient care in Indiana through our all-inclusive treatment services.