Spending time in rehab can help you create a solid foundation for your new sober life. While the initial weeks and months after rehab can be challenging, the strategies you learned during treatment can prevent your recovery journey from derailing. Learning how to stay sober after rehab is essential for preventing relapse. Recovery from an addiction is a process and that process looks different for each person. But, typically, that process doesn’t end when you complete your treatment program. Addiction is a chronic condition and while it cannot be cured, it can be effectively managed with abstinence. Using those rehab strategies and following some tried-and-true tips to protect your sobriety can help you prevent relapse.
Discovery Point Retreat offers holistic addiction treatment programs that have a front-and-center focus on relapse prevention. Upon leaving rehab, many people still feel on shaky ground when it comes to their sobriety–and that’s normal. As you return to your everyday life, it’s essential to use those strategies learned at rehab to keep recovery on track. In spite of life’s problems and temptations, these strategies and the following tips can help you achieve your recovery goals.
What Are the Phases of Relapse
The first tip you need to remember is that you must watch out for the signs of relapse. Relapse doesn’t just happen when you use a drug or take a drink. There are warning stages before you reach that physical point of use. The first stage of relapse is called the emotional phase and it involves the negative emotions we all feel–emotions like fear and anger. Too often, negative emotions are the triggers that lead people to abuse alcohol or drugs. When you don’t cope with these emotions in healthy ways, they can impede your recovery.
When relapse is not prevented during that first emotional phase, it progresses to the mental phase. If you find yourself thinking about having a drink or using a drug or if you begin to feel nostalgic for the times you spent with friends drinking or using drugs, you have progressed to this second, dangerous phase of relapse. The physical phase occurs when you revisit places where you are sure to find drugs or alcohol and take that first sip or abuse that drug. The key is to prevent those second and third phases by managing your negative emotions in healthy ways such as going for a walk, talking about your feelings to a counselor or trusted friend, journaling, or attending a support group.
Intensive rehab programs may last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, but recovery can take months–even years. Rehab gives your mind and body a much-needed break from addiction, but it isn’t a cure. In rehab, you learn, you discuss, and you get ready to re-integrate into life. But life is the real test–and it will test you as you try out all the strategies you learned in rehab. Remember that you do not have to do it alone. There are many aftercare programs and activities that can provide you with ongoing support. These programs are less intensive than rehab, but they often provide the key support people need to maintain their sobriety.
Aftercare includes a wide range of options. You may choose to meet with a counselor or therapist for a year, two years, or even longer after you complete your rehab program. You might attend a program like AA or NA or some other support group for people recovering from addiction. Some support groups meet in a building where they discuss topics related to living and recovering from addiction and others might feature activities like hiking or camping. You can also try some alternative addiction therapies to support your recovery such as alternative yoga or equine therapy.
Other Tips to Protect Your Sobriety
Each person will experience recovery from addiction differently. You’ll find that certain strategies work better for you than others. The key is to try different strategies that you can use to manage any triggers that may pop up. After leaving rehab treatment, try some of the following tips to keep your recovery journey on track:
- Exercise (run, jog, walk, or bike)
- Avoid high-risk settings like bars or nightclubs
- Avoid former friends who continue to abuse drugs or alcohol
- Eat a healthy diet
- Avoid dysfunctional relationships
- Attend family therapy
- Get a healthy amount of sleep
- Set new goals and create a plan to achieve them
- Focus on your spirituality
- Play a sport
- Spend time in nature
- Try new hobbies (reading, crafting, or gardening)
Recovery may involve difficulties and challenges, but it’s also filled with opportunities and positivity. Discovery Point Retreat is here to help you cope with the challenges and embrace the positives. We’ll accompany you on your recovery journey, making your recovery goals our recovery goals too. Contact us at (855) 306-8054 to learn more about our holistic treatment programs.