Attending a rehabilitation program can be a life-changing experience. But adjusting to life after rehab can be challenging. It’s easy to relapse if you’re not sure how to handle the transition. You may have undergone a period of intense healing, but the world outside is still very much the same.

However, it is possible to work through the stress and ensure success in building a new lifestyle of sobriety. Support from your loved ones and diligent planning make it possible to come back to your life and thrive without a relapse. Rehab isn’t a magical cure for addiction. But it can help you to set up a life you’re proud of, that you don’t need substances to maintain.

Plan Ahead For Life After Leaving Rehab

Once you’ve completed a rehabilitation program, you will probably head right back to your pre-rehab living situation. If you’re completing a 90-day addiction program or other long-term residential treatment, you may have to seek out somewhere to live until you can find a permanent arrangement. It’s advised that you arrange this before leaving rehab.

It’s important to coordinate an aftercare program for your immediate time out of rehab, even if it consists solely of therapy sessions and doctor appointments. Ideally, an aftercare program should include the first 12 months out of rehab. The staff at your rehabilitation center can help you develop a plan that works for your life and schedule post-rehab.

Adjusting to life after rehab can be hard and tricky. Not everyone will understand that you’ve changed your habits. Your priorities may have shifted, and you may be more committed to sobriety than other habits or activities.

If you live with family or roommates, reach out to them before leaving rehab and ask them to remove substances from the home (or at least your living space). Think ahead about how you want to enforce sobriety for yourself, and include them in the conversation. It’s important to reinforce that you don’t intend to return to substance use, and that even one time of use is a relapse.

An aftercare program can sometimes take the form of living in a sober living home. People can stay for often extended periods in a home where people with addictions adjusting to life after rehab can support each other. The living space has no substances, and support groups and resources are readily available.

At Crestview Recovery, our sober living program helps people exiting rehab to find housing and learn essential life skills as they adjust to life outside of the rehab facility. We aim to provide a safe, stable environment that helps people struggling with addiction to manage work (or school) during their transition. Every resident’s plan is created individually with their needs in mind.

This process can start before you even leave rehab. Talk to friends and family about your concerns in leaving rehab, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t let shame hold you back — you may be surprised at how happy people will be to help you.

Family therapy is often recommended for those transitioning to life after rehab, so they can continue the progress they began. Relationships need time to rebuild even after sobriety is attained. Regular participation is a very important way that family members can show support to their loved one learning to live with their addiction.

How Can Family Members Help?

family holding hands over a cup of coffee

If you’re planning on leaning on family members for help, you may not know how to call upon them or what to ask for. If you’re a family member of someone exiting rehab, you may not know how exactly you can help.

Every individual and detox situation will be different, of course. Here are a few ideas on how to support someone adjust back to life after rehab, so you can start the conversation:

  • Regular check-ins: Sometimes all it takes to make someone feel supported is a 20-minute phone call once a week. Keeping in touch with someone in recovery reinforces your commitment to the relationship and that you care about their efforts to build a new life.
  • Open conversations about cravings and triggers: Someone adjusting to life outside of rehab needs to be ready to speak up about stressful situations where they may be tempted to use. Family members should be ready to make adjustments and be open to adjusting routines (or communicating more) around those times.
  • Seeking support themselves: Being the family member of an addict can be traumatic in and of itself. Attending Al-Anon meetings or attending individual therapy appointments can be highly beneficial for family members looking to support someone in recovery.
  • Allowing for natural consequences: It may feel loving to support someone recently out of rehab by giving them a job, making their medical appointments, or covering their rent. But it’s most important for the person in recovery to learn how to be independent. Give them support, but let them handle their problems and don’t “rescue” them from consequences.

Don’t Stop Recovery Efforts

Leaving a residential treatment program doesn’t mean that your recovery journey is immediately over. It’s just the beginning of your journey toward recovery and the building of a new life of sobriety.

man meditating and using relapse prevention techniques

Accountability is important during the initial period outside of rehab. Take time to learn how to find AA meetings in your area, and secure a mentor or sponsor. These connections will help you learn how to better maintain sobriety outside of rehab.

Rehabilitation programs are highly regimented on purpose, as a means of taking the addicted person out of a chaotic pattern of addiction.

Life outside of rehab doesn’t have to be as regimented. But it is important to set up a daily routine that can support your recovery and won’t cause you to relapse.

A successful routine for adjusting to life after rehab should include:

  • Exercise: It’s important to establish a routine that includes exercise, so that you’re staying in touch with your body as it recovers. Finding a sport or activity with regular meetings/games can also be a great way to establish new connections.
  • Sufficient sleep: It’s easy to make poor decisions if you haven’t been getting enough sleep. Make sure you’re resting enough to keep your brain functioning and your body in its best condition.
  • Cooking or buying healthy food: Many addicted individuals prioritize getting more of their substance than regular, healthy meals. Making sure you’re getting enough nutrition is a great way to lower your chance of relapsing.
  • Avoiding places associated with your addiction: It’s easy to fall into using substances again when you’re visiting the same places and interacting with the same people as when you were using. Set up new routines and make plans in other locations so you’re not encountering temptations.
  • Making time to relax: Recovery often involves great emotional upheaval, and adjusting to life after rehab often means that previous stresses and issues will come up again. Give yourself time and space to reflect and let the emotions come. Practicing meditation, yoga, and mindfulness can help keep you centered during times of transitions.

Building up new routines will take time and concentrated effort as you move into a new life of sobriety. Reach out to your support network for insight or ideas if you need them.

Depending on your personal recovery plan, you may schedule out individual therapy appointments with your rehab counselor for after you’ve left rehab. It’s imperative that you stick with these appointments, so that you can retain a sense of continuity into your post-rehab life.

Remember, recovery doesn’t end once you leave rehab. This also goes for relationships with everyone your addiction affects. Keep up with family therapy, recovery support meetings, and accountability check-ins with people with whom you have accountability agreements.

What can cause relapse differs from person to person. But these are common ones to look out for:

  • Boredom: Depending on the substance, it’s easy to lose hours to the feeling of intoxication. It’s important to figure out how to spend the time that opens up with sobriety. A lack of activities can quickly translate to using drugs as a “shortcut” to feeling entertained.
  • Disruption to Routine: Miss the train and have to take the bus? Is a movie you were planning to stream suddenly removed without notice? Learning to cope with sudden, abrupt obstacles is essential to managing sobriety.
  • Lack of Support From Others: Becoming sober can sometimes cause insecurity in other people continuing to imbibe in addictive substances (even if they themselves are not addicts). The pressure to go along with friends or loved ones can easily lead to relapse.
  • Stress: Everyone deals with stress on a daily basis, whether it’s regarding small inconveniences or the big questions of life. Sobriety can often bring up stresses that an individual was avoiding with substances.

It’s important to establish support systems and healthy coping mechanisms, so you’re ready when the temptation to use substances arises. Sobriety is possible. But it takes work and planning when you’re adjusting to life after rehab, where sobriety is the norm and distractions are minimal.

Prepare for Life After Rehab at Crestview Recovery

woman in recovery sharing story in support group

Completing an addiction recovery program is brave and takes a lot of strength. But the true test comes in adjusting back to life after rehab, where all your temptations and opportunities to drink haven’t changed.

That’s why at Crestview Recovery, we work to develop individualized treatment plans that take aftercare and relapse triggers into account. We work to empower people seeking addiction treatment to find the underlying reasons for their addiction, build healthy coping mechanisms, and learn how to enjoy life without the use of substances. Contact us today and start building your new life of sobriety.