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Medically Reviewed By: Diana Vo, LMFT

November 28, 2023

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If you approach addiction treatment understanding that recovery is a process not a single event, life after rehab will be easier to manage. While addiction treatment programs like Orange County rehabs can help you get sober, aftercare programs and sober living homes can help further with fixing your life after rehab.

Life After Rehab

Whether you’ve been addicted to alcohol, prescription medication, or illicit drugs, adjusting to life after rehab will take time.

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Both inpatient and outpatient rehab programs offer you a great deal of structure and support, so the first thing you should do is establish whether you need to step down the continuum of care. This could mean engaging with an outpatient treatment program after residential rehab or stepping down from a PHP or an IOP to a regular outpatient program.

Assuming you have your immediate needs taken care of, it’s time to consider the following areas of your life.

  • Personal relationships: You may already have started repairing your relationships through family therapy sessions, but now rehab is over, it’s time to double down on further healing the damage caused by active addiction.
  • Financial problems: If addiction has left your finances in freefall, it’s time to organize yourself. Make a budget and stick to it. That should be easier now you no longer need to buy drinks or drugs. Pay off debts and then start working on repairing your credit score. This just takes some patience and consistent payments. Rebuild your credit further by taking out a small, secured line of credit. It might take three to five years before you’re back on track, but it will be worth the effort.
  • Legal issues: Settle any outstanding legal issues that cropped up during addiction. Successful completing a treatment program and remaining sober could encourage a judge to be more lenient if you have any open cases.
  • Employment: With your house in order, it’s time to focus on employment. The best rehabs will offer vocational development programs and resources to help you in this area.

Everyone is unique and everyone has a different recovery, but these broad guidelines should help you to fix your life after rehab.

5 Strategies for a Seamless Transition After Rehab

1. Re-evaluate where you’re living and move if necessary

2. Make lifestyle changes and reassess relationships

3. Create a more structured and fruitful routine

4. Remain continuously alert for signs of relapse

5. Pursue appropriate avenues of continuing support

1) Re-evaluate where you’re living and move if necessary

You might find returning to your old neighborhood after the sanctuary of residential rehab is unsettling. If you find yourself surrounded by triggers like bars, local dealers, and marijuana dispensaries, you should reevaluate your living environment.

Simple avoidance in combination with the relapse-management strategies you’ve explored in rehab might not be enough to leave you feeling secure. Consider relocating if you feel this would be beneficial. You should not consider moving away from triggers as running away. On the contrary, for many people, it’s the most effective approach.

2) Make lifestyle changes and reassess relationships

Once detox is history and you’ve completed an addiction treatment program, you’ll need to slowly transition back into normal life.

Relapse most frequently occurs during the first six months of recovery, so you should do everything possible to change your lifestyle and to manage triggers for relapse.

Your family and friends should be supportive of your recovery without enabling your addiction. If this does not describe your social network, it could be time to consider making some new and healthier relationships.

Especially in the early stages of recovery, you are better spending time alone than spending time with the wrong people. Be selfish and surround yourself with friends and family invested in your success and sustained sobriety. Don’t be afraid to sever toxic relationships that are no longer serving you.

3) Create a more structured and fruitful routine

Active addiction, whether to alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication can be remarkably time-consuming. Firstly, you’ll spend a lot of time obtaining, using, and recovering from these substances once addiction sets in. Indeed, this is one of the diagnostic criteria for addiction.

Alcohol abuse or substance abuse, then, often leads to a formless life where nothing much happens.

Newly sober and fresh out of rehab, it’s the perfect time to build a healthier routine.

Be prepared to cope with feelings of boredom and helplessness at first. Many activities focused on using drugs or alcohol can seem initially tedious without the social lubricant you have been relying on. You may also find it hard to fill your time, so consider these options:

  • Dance classes
  • Exercising for 30 minutes daily
  • Going to the movies
  • Gym and fitness classes
  • Learning to play a musical instrument
  • Online entertainment
  • Playing sports
  • Support groups
  • Taking a class
  • Volunteering
  • Yoga or meditation

You should find you have more spare cash now you’re not buying drink or drugs, so use this extra money to fund some new and healthier pursuits. That gym membership you said you couldn’t afford? You can now you’re not drinking.

By adhering to a routine, eating healthy whole foods, and exercising for at least 30 minutes daily, you’ll strengthen your chances of recovery while minimizing the chance of boredom that could lead to relapse.

4) Remain continuously alert for signs of relapse

Addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease. While it’s hard to get precise data on how many people in recovery relapse, most estimates suggest somewhere between 40% and 60% of those in recovery experience at least one relapse.

This does not mean addiction treatment is ineffective, but rather it reinforces how difficult it can be to make meaningful life changes.

Only you know what personally triggers you to use addictive substances. During rehab, you should have identified these triggers through psychotherapy like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). You should also have developed some healthy coping mechanisms that don’t involve drink or drugs with your therapist.

Your only goal when these negative thought patterns enter your head is to prevent a negative outcome. Whether you choose to attend a 12-step meeting, call a sober friend, or head to the gym, you can’t change the thoughts that enter your mind, but you can change the way you react to those thoughts.

5) Pursue appropriate avenues of continuing support

Even if you have created a healthy and consistent routine, you’re eating well, and you are getting plenty of rest and exercise, you still need to consider continuing care once you’ve completed your treatment program.

Many people in recovery find attending 12-step groups like AA and NA enormously helpful. You’ll likely have been exposed to 12-step methodology during your stint in rehab, so continuing to engage with these support groups is something you may find useful.

It’s also possible to continue with individual therapy if you still feel you need some support and input as you transition back into normal day-to-day life.

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Get Help at Renaissance Recovery

Many people who complete a treatment program for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder benefit from sober living homes. This is vital if your home environment is unsupportive and you want to start fixing your life after rehab.

Here at Renaissance, we can arrange for you to stay at a sober living community in Huntington Beach while you move from rehab into the early phase of recovery.

In addition to a substance-free environment and on-site staff to help on-demand, you’ll also enjoy community activities, exercise and nutrition plans, tutoring, and job assistance.

Research shows that sober living homes not only reduce crimes related to substance abuse but can also improve abstinence rates. Why leave any element of your recovery to chance? Call Renaissance today at 866.330.9449. We’ll help you get back on track immediately.

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At Renaissance Recovery our goal is to provide evidence-based treatment to as many individuals as possible. Give us a call today to verify your insurance coverage or to learn more about paying for addiction treatment.

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Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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