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How to Stay Sober After Rehab

Did you know that 40%–60% of people suffering from addiction relapse after treatment? But know that relapsing doesn’t mean your treatment failed. Instead, it could be a sign that you didn’t make a plan for how to stay sober after rehab.

Don’t let that mistake lead to relapse again. To set yourself up for success after treatment, follow these top tips for staying sober.

Create a Plan for How to Stay Sober

Addiction recovery has two components. The first is about making the decision to stay sober. The second is making a plan for the external events that could trigger a relapse.

You may be able to control the first component. And, when you’re in a sober living facility, the program administrators can help with the second component.

But you can’t control everything that happens around you once you’re back home. That’s why it’s so important to foster a sober living environment after rehab. Here are some aspects of a well-rounded sobriety strategy:

Set Goals

Before getting out of rehab, write down the reasons you want to stay sober. If you’re having trouble, scroll down for the top benefits of sobriety.

Having goals for the future can help you stay focused. You’ll have a much easier time overcoming temptations when you know what you’re working toward.

But your goals don’t just have to be about your sobriety. Push yourself to learn a new sport or get the degree you’ve always wanted.

Create New Habits

Picking up new habits after rehab will help reduce boredom. And studies show that boredom and addiction flare-ups are related.

Creating new habits to replace using can also serve as a distraction. If you aren’t thinking about drugs or alcohol, then you’re less likely to relapse.

Join a Support Group

A support system is essential to your recovery. Support systems can be made up of other sober people, recovering people, supportive friends, and family members, or all of the above.

It’s important that your support group shares your sobriety goals and has your best interest at heart. You should also feel comfortable calling upon your support group when you feel tempted.

For example, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) enable fellowship with other recovering people like you. These 12-Step programs can help you feel less alone on your journey and offer your resources for coping with triggers.

If your support group and/or 12-Step program aren’t enough, consider outpatient services.

Attend All Follow-up Appointments

Rehab centers often require follow-up appointments after your treatment. If you schedule follow-ups, don’t skip them. Having someone else to keep you accountable will make you think twice before relapsing.

Plus, research shows that people struggling with addiction have an easier time with post-rehab recovery when they receive support from a medical professional.

Focus On the Benefits of Sobriety

When you feel yourself losing track, remember why you went on this journey in the first place. The benefits of sobriety far outweigh the plus-sides to getting drunk or high:

Save Money

When you aren’t spending all your hard-earned cash on drugs or alcohol, you’ll have extra money every month. You can invest those funds for your future or donate them to support other people struggling with addiction.

Feel Better

Not using drugs and alcohol means you’ll have more mental clarity. You’ll feel more energized to live your life to the fullest.

Not only that, but sobriety also does wonders for your appearance. Being drug and alcohol-free can help you achieve a more stable weight, get shinier hair, and retain moisture in your skin.

Help Others 

Did you know that helping others is good for your mental and physical health? Studies show that giving your time and energy to others can:

  • Lower stress levels
  • Reduce depression
  • Boost your self-image

This is why so many recovering people choose to mentor other people. Sharing your story with someone like you and offering support to their journey can help you decrease the risk of relapse and feel happier overall.

Know the Phases of Relapse

Understanding the signs that you’re about to have a setback is critical for knowing how to avoiding relapse. Health professionals have identified three phases that are warning symptoms of someone about to use again:

The Emotional Phase

During the first phase of relapse, the recovering person experiences strong negative emotions. These emotions are often caused by a negative external event or a mental health condition like depression.

How do you stop relapse at phase one? Practice healthy lifestyle habits to help you better regulate your emotions. For example, eat a nutritious diet, exercise regularly, get plenty of sunshine, and cut back on stress.

The Mental Phase

Failing to cope with negative emotions healthily can spur the second phase of relapse. In this phase, the recovering person starts thinking about using again.

To prevent relapse at this stage, replace your thoughts about the drug with journaling, meditating, or volunteering. Try out new hobbies like gardening or reading. You could even volunteer for a charitable organization or focus on your spirituality.

The Physical Phase

When a recovering person doesn’t deal with their thoughts about using, they progress to the final stage of relapse: the physical phase.

It’s at this point that the person struggling with addiction begins to seek out friends with whom they used to use or revisit familiar locations where they used to use. This phase ends with resumed drinking or drug use.

Preventing a recovering person from progressing to this phase is the only way to stop a setback. Again, this is why it’s so critical to create a sober living environment after rehab.

Have family members or friends search your home before you get out of rehab. Ask them to remove paraphernalia and other items that remind you of your addiction.

It’s also vital to avoid high-risk situations. This includes people and places that remind you of your addiction.

Setting yourself up for success from the start can help you stay on track and reduce the risk of entering the phases of relapse.

Outpatient Services: When These Sobriety Tips Aren’t Enough

Making a plan for how to stay sober after an inpatient program can prevent relapse. We hope these tips will help you customize the best sober living strategy for you and your unique circumstances.

But what happens when these tips aren’t enough? Contact us to speak with one of our compassionate advisors and learn more about how our outpatient program can help you stay on track post-rehab.

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