How Do I Stay Sober After Rehab?
Becoming sober is an incredible accomplishment worth celebrating. Staying clean is another challenge in itself. Some ways to stay sober after treatment are to set goals and create new hobbies.
Transitioning From Rehab To Normal Life
Rehabilitation is a supported living environment that promotes comfort and safety, making it easier for someone struggling with addiction to stay sober.
Rehabilitation provides a solid sense of security along with the foundation tools needed to heal and cope after leaving the treatment center.
Graduating from a rehabilitation program can be a very exciting time. It may also bring new challenges of learning how to live a new and sober life.
When you are able to recognize the temptations you will face after rehabilitation, you will be able to avoid and manage trigger situations. By understanding your triggers, you will be able stay sober more easily in the future.
How To Avoid or Manage Common Temptations After Rehab
Moving from a fully supported environment to normal living conditions can be tough.
You will be faced with trigger situations, or situations that spark the thought of reverting back to old habits. Trigger situations can be returning to your old neighborhood, seeing old friends or family members or even certain emotions that led you to abuse drugs and alcohol.
There are a few things you can do to avoid or manage these temptations after rehabilitation.
- 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.
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Participate in Sober Activities Instead Of Using Drugs or Alcohol
You will need to replace old habits with new and positive habits. Social activities can be fun and exciting without having to use drugs and alcohol.
Examples of healthy ways to keep your mind occupied after rehabilitation are:
- Play sports
- Visit an arts and crafts shop
- Go back to school or start an online course
- Learn a new language
- Plant a garden
Find Resources that Provide Community and Support
Finding a positive support and community groups is important in your life after rehabilitation. You will need to surround yourself with people, places, and activities that encourage you in your recovery. There are supports groups available with members who have faced similar struggles.
Going to Parties or Bars Without Drinking or Using: Is It Possible?
Individuals in early recovery should avoid tempting situations. They are more vulnerable for relapse than individuals who have never had an addiction or the seasoned addict. In the early stages of recovery, you are still working on forming new habits and resisting old temptations may be difficult.
“I stay away from old places and things. [It] took time to build the trust back with my family. But I don’t blame them. I did a lot of harm. My life is so different then how I used to live. I love myself today.” – Jennifer*, recovering addict
Sometimes being in a difficult situation cannot be avoided, such as a family holiday party. There are steps that you can take to make the situation more manageable.
How to avoid temptation in social settings:
- Surround yourself with people you trust and go with a sober friend.
- Keep a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand to keep your senses occupied.
- Keep your time at the party to a minimum – arrive late or leave early.
- Leave immediately if you start to feel uncomfortable or tempted.
The Benefits of a Sober Life: Why It’s Worth Getting (and Staying) Sober
There are many health benefits for staying sober – improved liver and heart functioning, better sleep, enhanced performance of daily activities. The benefits of maintaining a sober lifestyle go beyond the physical. Other benefits to maintain sobriety include:
- Making new, sober friends
- Saving money
- Enhanced mental clarity and excitement for life
- More energy to do things you enjoy
- Looking and feeling better
- Becoming a source of hope for others who are struggling with addiction
Overcoming a drug or alcohol addiction will be one of the hardest things you will ever do. It isn’t a quick and easy process. It will take a lifelong commitment and an inner strength you did not realize you had.
Every journey starts with a small step in the right direction. When you are tempted to return to your old habits and lifestyle, remember the reasons you wanted to get clean and sober to begin with. Keeping these reasons in the forefront of your mind will help you remain on your road to recovery.
If you are struggling and wonder if you should return to rehabilitation or need help, contact us now for help.
*Some names have been changed.