RECOVERY SUPPORT: After Rehab

Things to do after drug rehab

When you leave a drug rehab program, you will be faced with many challenges. Getting your life back on track, staying clean, and not falling into old habits or associations are all part of the journey that takes from rehab to a sober, productive life. Consider the following when trying to get into a groove after drug rehab:

I. Craft a plan of action. Don’t enter the post-rehab world without a plan. Work with your rehab counselor to carefully layout your objectives for life after the rehab program is complete. There’s going to be a lot coming at you in the weeks and months following the end of your treatment, and having a plan to refer to will help keep you on the right track.

II. Keep going to therapy. If your drug rehab program included follow up counseling (and most of them do) then you must attend all these sessions as scheduled. Therapy after drug rehab is an important element in helping you ease back into the world. Therapy sessions also provide good accountability for you as you move into a life on your own (with the schedule of your rehab program).

III. Exercise regularly. Staying fit helps your mind and body stay sharp. Try and keep your heart-rate up. If you can get to a gym on a regular basis, great! If you can’t afford that, or don’t have time, try and take brisk 30 minute walks at least once a day.

IV. Eat well. Proper nutrition is a key element of your recovery. After all, there’s been a great deal of research stating that the right intake of vitamins and minerals can actually curb cravings for drugs. Besides that, a healthy diet can be the cornerstone of your new life post-rehab.

V. Be happy. Don’t be afraid to do the things that make you happy! You’ve earned the chance to enjoy the things in the life that drug abuse kept you from doing. Try new things that help you build self-confidence and experience more of life.

VI. Make new friends. Sadly, many of your old friends may be involved in the kinds of drug-related habits you are seeking to avoid. Or perhaps you have some old relationships that still need time to heal. Either way, this is an excellent time to meet new people and build friendships with those who have no connection to your old drug-related lifestyle.

VII. Rediscover your spirituality. If church or temple or interaction with another higher power was something you gave up during your period of drug addiction, this is an excellent time to reconnect.

Other things to think about.

When you are released from a drug rehabilitation center, you may be nervous about what to do next. There are no guarantees that you will stay sober if you don’t continue your efforts at home. Many people, however, do recover from addiction and go on to live healthy fulfilling lives without the use of drugs or alcohol. Rehabilitation centers are a sheltered environment, and they do not give you hands-on experience for your everyday life. This must be done after release, and it can be done with support and determination.

1. Continued Therapy

Find a support group. Some common national and worldwide groups include Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous and Marijuana Anonymous. These are only a few of the programs available.

Though 12-step recovery groups are the most commonly known support groups for drug addiction, there are others, including groups at local churches and alumni groups from the rehab you were treated in. Ask your counselor about the facility’s outpatient programs or ask your religious advisor about a faith-based group in your area.

Support groups are your connection to other people dealing with the same problems and concerns that you do. Find a person within the support group that you choose who has had a significant amount of time invested in sobriety, and ask for their phone number. Call this person when you are in need of help, or just need someone to talk to.

Therapy is also beneficial when done individually with a psychologist, psychiatrist or a social worker specializing in chemical dependency. SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has a website with a search engine for local providers nationwide. The link is in Resources.

2. Financial Rehabilitation

Find a job that does not include the handling of drugs or alcohol. Your counselor or family members may be able to help you find one, but you must be willing to work. Write out a specific plan of action for paying off debts and bills. List all of the monetary amends that you need to make, whether to a person or a company. Decide when you will pay each debt, and set a definite goal to do so. Make your financial amends by following up on those plans.

3. Relationship Rehabilitation

Make a list of all of the people that you hurt during your addiction, if you haven’t already done so during your stay in drug rehab. List the ways that you hurt each person, and how you can fix the situations. Not everything that you have done can be easily fixed. Sometimes, the only way to make things right is to continue living clean and sober to show others that you have changed.

Apologize to each person you have hurt, and ask them if there is anything that you can do to improve your relationship. Be willing to follow through with what they ask you to do, within reason. Do not expect everyone to be willing to talk to you. There will be those who have been hurt too much to forgive. Respect their wishes and continue to better your life in other ways.

Sober Living Arrangements

Ask your counselor, psychiatrist or social worker about living arrangements after rehab. If you already have a place in mind, such as a relative or friend, consider all of the possible outcomes of the situation first. Does your family want you to come home yet? Does your friend use drugs or alcohol?

Look up local sober living houses, or half-way houses in your area. Write out a list of pros and cons for each one. Most sober houses will have some guidelines that you must follow to continue living there. The guidelines may be a nuisance at times, but they are there to protect and help you. Early in your recovery, you may not be aware of all of the situations that may lead to using drugs again. Trust your counselor and the staff at the sober or half-way houses, and at least try it out.

Legal Issues

Attend all meeting with your probation or parole officer if you have one. Appear for all court dates as well. Be sure to speak to your lawyer or public defender about the fact that you have completed a rehabilitation program. There are usually legal leniencies for drug offenders who complete such programs. As drug treatment is covered under confidentiality laws, you will need to sign a release of information with the medical records personnel at the rehab facility you stayed in.

Relapse Prevention

Know your triggers. Triggers are people, places and things that tempt you to use. Stress is a common trigger for many addicts. When you get stressed out, have a plan of action ready to follow. Plan to make a phone call to a supportive person or take a walk with a family member, for example.

One of the most difficult triggers to overcome are people. Avoid people who are using drugs. Do not intentionally seek these people out. If you are thinking of meeting with or talking to one of these people, you are already in a danger zone for relapse. Call a supportive person immediately.

Do not go to places where you have bought, sold or used drugs. Complete avoidance is important in the first few months to a year of sobriety. Places may cause you to start reminiscing about drug use, which can ultimately lead to the end of your sobriety.

Maintain your sobriety by working with your therapist, counselor or social worker. Get support from people and reach out for help when you need it.

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