How Do I Stay Sober After Rehab?

Transitioning From Rehab To Normal Life

woman hikingRehab is a supported living environment – one that promotes comfort and safety, making it easier for someone struggling with addiction to stay sober.

It provides a solid foundation of security, as well as the tools needed to heal and cope even after leaving the facility.

Moving on from rehab can be a very exciting time, but it may also bring up new challenges when learning how to navigate a brand new, sober lifestyle.

Fortunately, by recognizing temptations you may face after you leave the rehab facility, you can learn how to avoid or manage these triggers. This makes it easier to stay sober in the future.

How To Avoid or Manage Common Temptations After Rehab

The move from a supported environment back to normal living can be a tough transition.

Upon leaving rehab, you may find yourself put in trigger situations, or situations that spark the thought of reverting back to old habits. Things like returning to your old neighborhood, seeing old friends or family members, and even certain emotions may tempt you to go back to using or drinking.

There are a few things you can do to avoid or manage these temptations in your daily life after rehab, such as:

  • Find a solid support system. Surround yourself with sober people, as well as people who have your best interests at heart and want to help you be successful. Find a support group in your area, or even someone you can call when you feel tempted.
  • Modify your environment. Before returning home from rehab, ask a loved one or someone you trust to remove any paraphernalia from your house. Try to avoid places that spark feelings of interest toward using.
  • Set goals for the future. When you set goals for the future, it will be much easier to manage your temptations when they arise. When you have a sense of why you want to stay sober and all the benefits it will bring to your life, it will be much easier to stay on track.
  • Keep your follow-up appointments. If you’ve scheduled follow-up appointments with your rehabilitation center or a doctor, stick to these appointments. You may feel tempted to skip them, or think that  you can handle it on your own, but it’s much easier to avoid or manage temptations when you are receiving support from health professionals.
  • Find a moment each day to be thankful. When we have a strong appreciation for the life we’ve been given, it’s easier to recognize how much we have to be thankful for. Consider starting a gratitude journal and writing down five things each day that make you feel fulfilled and happy.
  • Create new, healthy habits to replace the old ones. A study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology shows that it takes more than two months before a new habit becomes automatic, so find a new, positive habit you enjoy doing and stick with it.

Participate in Sober Activities Instead Of Using Drugs or Alcohol

Replacing old habits with positive, new habits is critical during your recovery. Sober activities don’t have to be boring — there’s still plenty of fun to be had without drugs or alcohol.

Here are a few examples of healthy ways to keep your mind occupied during your transition from rehab:

  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Play sports
  • Read
  • Visit an arts and crafts shop
  • Go back to school or start an online course
  • Learn a new language
  • Plant a garden
  • Volunteer

Find Outlets that Provide Community and Support

No matter where you live, there are positive outlets that provide community and support during your life after rehab. Surround yourself with encouraging individuals by joining a support group, attending counseling sessions and participating in meet-up activities.

You can also participate in many types of continuing care, including individual therapy, check-ups, 12-step meetings and alternative support groups.