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August 2021 | Cenikor Foundation

How to Stay Sober After Rehab: Building a Support System

You didn’t seek help with your addiction because you want to relapse. That’s why knowing how to stay sober post-rehab is absolutely critical.

Research shows that lacking a stable living environment is the #1 obstacle to long-term recovery after rehab.

So, how can you foster a drug- and alcohol-free environment to ensure you stay abstinent in the real world? The first step is to create a sober living plan, which includes building a support system.

Want to know how to build a solid support system that will hold you accountable to your goals? Then keep reading this guide to learn how to get sober and stay sober after rehab.

What Is a Support System?

A support system is a social network of people. These people offer emotional support during tough times. For example, if you’re worried about relapsing, your support system can remind you why it’s so important to stay sober.

Research shows that support systems don’t just enhance your coping skills. Having people you can call in times of need can also benefit your well-being, reduce depression and anxiety, and help you combat stress.

Whether you’re wondering how to stay sober for a week or how to stay sober forever, forming a strong support system is the first step toward meeting your goals.

What Does a Strong Support System Look Like?

Support networks come in many varieties. Your support system could exist in the real world or online. It could be made up of strangers (e.g., other people in recovery) or people you know (e.g., acquaintances, friends, and family).

Regardless of the support network you feel comfortable with, keep in mind that not all support systems offer good support. There are three qualities that make a good post-rehab support system:

  1. Accountability
  2. Fellowship
  3. Goal-orientation

Accountability means that each member of the group takes responsibility for his or her actions. It also means that each member of the group holds each other accountable for sobriety goals.

Fellowship refers to a group of people who share a common goal or common interests. For example, 12-step groups encourage people in recovery to share their experiences with others who’ve faced similar struggles.

Finally, it’s critical that you and your support system share the same goal: long-term sobriety.

Why Are Support Systems Critical for Long-Term Sobriety?

According to research, recovery support groups and social networks are the strongest predictors of sober outcomes.

For example, followed 300 people recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. The study found that those who attended 12-step programs were abstinent for at least six months longer than those who did not.

At the same time, the study also looked at outcomes for people whose social networks participated in drinking and doing drugs. These people in recovery had worse sobriety outcomes than people with a sober social network.

In another study, researchers looked at the factors correlated with long-term substance abuse recovery. People who had been in recovery for an average of 12 years reported the following as most important for their journey:

  • Social support
  • Support from their community
  • Joining a 12-step program

It’s important to note that simply joining a 12-step program isn’t sufficient for long-term abstinence. Regular attendance and sponsoring others are important reasons why 12-step programs are so effective for fostering sobriety.

How to Stay Sober With a Post-Rehab Support System

As we’ve mentioned, a good support system is a sober support system. After all, your odds of staying in recovery increase significantly if your social network stays sober, too.

If your friends or family aren’t willing to not partake in alcohol and drug use while you’re recovering, it may be a sign they don’t share your goals. In that case, you shouldn’t include these people in your support system.

This is why many people choose to join support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Participants share your experiences and your goals, making them ideal for leaning on during hard times.

Support groups allow recovering individuals to share their stories. Hearing others’ experiences and perspectives can help you learn what long-term recovery really looks like. That way, you’ll be inspired to stay sober for good.

By now, you may be wondering: what if I don’t have a support system? The good news is that you can sign up for a sober living program. These programs serve as an intermediate step between inpatient rehab and the real world.

What to Do If Your Support System Isn’t Enough

By now, you may be wondering: what if I don’t have a support system? The good news is that you can sign up for a sober living program. These programs serve as an intermediate step between inpatient rehab and the real world.

For example, Cenikor’s program provides a controlled environment for people to live in post-rehab. You can take steps toward reintegrating into your community while receiving the support you may not have access to in the real world.

But what should you do if your support system failed to help you stay sober? Going back to rehab is always an option, but you could also take advantage of an outpatient program.

Outpatient programs offer services to people with addictions who can’t afford to take off work or time away from family. These programs can also support people in recovery who don’t have sound support systems.

And don’t think outpatient services can’t provide you what you need. These programs include comprehensive care and trained professionals. You’ll have access to:

  • Drug screenings
  • Intervention services
  • Recovery support

And that’s not all. Many outpatient programs also provide individual group counseling sessions. That way, you’ll feel supported every step of your journey to lifelong recovery.


Cenikor Is Here for You

In this guide, we’ve given you how to stay sober tips about support systems. Research supports the benefits of strong social networks and 12-step programs for long-term sobriety outcomes. When all else fails, sober living and outpatient programs can help you recover.

Are you searching for a rehabilitation center in Texas? Cenikor has locations across the Lone Star State. Call us today to get started with a Cenikor program near you.


Teens and Substance Use: How to Recognize It

Did you know an individual is seven times more likely to develop a substance abuse problem if they try drugs before the age of 21? That’s why parents need to be diligent about their children abusing substances.

However, it’s not always easy to identify teen substance use. Your teen wants to hang with friends, they could be stressed from school, or are going through normal teenaged mood swings.

But teen substance use comes with its own unique set of warning signs. Here’s how to recognize teen addiction and what you can do to help.

Behavioral and Physical Signs

The easiest way to recognize teenage drug use is to identify changes in their behavior. Certain behavioral patterns make the presence of alcohol and drug use easier to recognize. But alcohol and drug use present unique behavioral patterns that are easier to identify.

Some signs of alcohol and drug use to look for include:

  • Ignoring or breaking curfew
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Asking for money (more than usual)
  • Being irresponsible
  • Locking their door
  • Stealing from you or others
  • Isolation
  • Making secretive calls and texts
  • Withdrawing from school and slipping grades
  • Missing school and/or work
  • Making excuses or lying
  • Resisting your discipline
  • Abandoning friends
  • Losing interest in activities and hobbies

Keep in mind, these behaviors may not always present a drug or alcohol problem. While some, such as breaking curfew, are obvious, there could be many other reasons why your teen is avoiding eye contact or asking for money.

That’s why you’ll also want to look at these physical symptoms:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Change in appearance
  • Paranoia
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Difficulty staying focused
  • Changes in attitude and mood
  • Large pupils
  • Track marks on arms or wearing long sleeves in warm weather
  • Mouth sores
  • Shaking hands
  • Puffy face
  • Frequent headaches
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Extremely hyperactive or tired

Keep in mind, when we say “substance use problem,” we’re not only mentioning drugs and alcohol. Cigarettes and vaping are dangerous to health and finances. Also look for symptoms of nicotine addiction, especially at such an early age.

What You Can Do

As a parent, you understand you can only control so much. But if you suspect your child has a substance use problem, you need to address it before it spirals out of control.

First, never ignore the warning signs stated previously. If something seems off, confront your child. However, you don’t want to be a helicopter parent. Try and subtly get them to start talking.

For example, let’s say your child pursued music and suddenly stopped. You also noticed other symptoms, such as wearing long sleeves when it’s warm outside. You may have noticed them being more isolated.

Start by asking them why they don’t pursue music anymore. If they don’t give an answer, remind them it’s hot outside and they may want to change clothes. If they’re still not talking, then try and be more diligent about what they’re doing when you’re not around.

Something else you can do is talk to their friends, especially if they no longer talk to close childhood friends. A common situation that occurs is your teen developed a new social circle and ditched their old friends for their new ones.

Their old friends will likely know about a substance use problem before you, and a good friend will be willing to talk to the parent in order to prevent a bad situation.

What if you do discover your teen is abusing substances? A mistake that parents make is rationalizing their behavior. It’s best to have open and honest discussions. Try to not intimidate them or make them feel like they’re in trouble.

The most important thing is to avoid a bad situation or a substance use problem. By addressing the dangers of substance use to your child early on, you may be able to turn their life around early.

Risk Factors

While this isn’t always the case, there are many risk factors that can leave a teenager prone to developing a substance use problem in the future. We can use the FACTS acronym: Family, Age, Cravings, Tolerance, and Surroundings.

  • Family: If substance abuse is in your family, your child will be more likely to develop a problem themselves.
  • Age: The younger a person is when they start experimenting with substances, the more likely they will develop a substance use disorder.
  • Cravings: Related to age, the younger a person is when they experiment with substances, the more they will deal with cravings.
  • Tolerance: As they start using substances more, they will develop a tolerance to use more of the substance and at larger doses.
  • Surroundings: The child’s surroundings play a major part in them developing a substance use disorder. The prime example is the friends they have.

It’s also common for someone to develop a substance use problem because they have an existing mental disorder.

Why You Need to Act Now

Many teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol. They may not think it’s dangerous. However, casual drug and alcohol use can lead to an addiction, which can cause financial problems, health issues, and even legal trouble as your teen grows up.

As a parent, it’s important to not only enforce discipline but to spend time with them. Check-in regularly with all aspects of their life, such as school and their friends.

Always remember that addiction is a disease. It doesn’t mean your child is a failure or you’re a bad parent. But understand it’s never too late to change your child’s life for the better.

Get Help for a Teen Addiction

Teen addiction can be treated early on to ensure that these problems don’t continue in their adult years. If you’re based in Houston, we offer an adolescent inpatient treatment program.

We not only provide education but also offer multiple services to ensure your teen lives a healthy life. These services include individual therapy, dual diagnosis problems, and recovery aftercare. We accept all teens between the ages of 13-17 with a substance use problem.

Are you ready to get started? Contact us today.

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