Let’s Prepare You for the Transition After Addiction Rehab to Prevent Relapse
You’ve completed your inpatient treatment program and returned home after addiction rehab. Now what?
Remember That You Are Not Alone
The first few weeks to months after rehab can seem lonely. You’ve likely been instructed to stay away from friends that still drink or use drugs and to find sober friends. That may seem like a daunting task and may even seem impossible. You may feel as though you can’t reach out to a family member because of your past actions. They may be guarded at first, but if you continue to show them that you are serious about your recovery, over time, that will hopefully pass and you will find yourself with another supporter. You can also use this time to work on those relationships and hopefully strengthen them.
Finding new sober friends can seem like a daunting task. If you aren’t going to the places that you went to in your drinking or drug-using days, you aren’t seeing familiar faces. Try going to a coffee shop instead of a bar, or going to the mall instead of where you used to go to get high. Be conscious of the places that are likely to trigger a want to drink or get high. Once you identify those places, be aware and stay away from them! Find other safe and comforting places to hang out. Once you get into a routine, you may find the same people there and be comfortable striking up a conversation.
Easier said than done, right? Maybe you can’t reduce your stress as easily as you can find something else to turn to in times of stress. Instead of reaching for that drink or drug of choice, pick up a healthy habit. Craving a drink? Wanting to go and see your old friends who are still using? Here are some alternatives:
- Focus on your Nutrition: Drink water infused with lemon, lime, or cucumber. Start juicing! Look up a healthy recipe and learn how to cook it. Invite a new sober friend or a supportive family member for dinner.
- Revamp your body with Exercise: Do some pushups or jumping jacks when a craving hits. Find a yoga class. Find a kickboxing class. Take a walk. Go for a run. Whatever you choose for exercise, know that after you’ve chosen something other than drugs or alcohol, you’ve made a great choice.
- Emotional/Mental: Read a book. Meditate or pray. Learn a new language!
- Get out of your head: Try something new. Learn to ski, golf, or skateboard.
Be purposeful and over time these things will become healthy habits, things that are good for your body and your mind!
Break the Cycle of Addiction
You’ve already accomplished something huge, but addiction recovery doesn’t end after addiction rehab. You may be tempted to start using drugs or alcohol again and if you can’t make the choice to do something else in the time of need, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Have a sober friend, family member, or your counselor from rehab available to help you pay attention for signs of relapse. Talk to them about this before the craving starts or the urge hits and you can feel more confident about things. It is also helpful to have a recovery plan or recovery contract in place. Whatever you decide to do, stick with it and know that the reward of being sober is an awesome one and you should be proud of how far you have come.
Don’t Be Ashamed That You Went to Rehab.
Be proud of the fact that you sought out help for a problem and that you are fighting for a successful recovery.
If you are struggling with relapse after addiction rehab, contact a counselor at Ocean Hills Recovery today for help.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.