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Rebuilding Your Life After Addiction – 10 Things To Do After You Leave Rehab

Written by: Stephanie Gillespie, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

Executive Contributor Stephanie Gillespie

Rebuilding your life after rehab can be a daunting, but rewarding journey. For many who have struggled with substance abuse, the transition to a drug-free and healthy lifestyle is a crucial step in their recovery process. Life after addiction involves addressing mental health issues, establishing a strong support system, and making positive changes to everyday life.

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Leaving rehab is just the beginning of this chapter in your new life, and with the right guidance and determination, it is possible to build a fulfilling life, free from the grips of addiction.

Is there life after drug addiction?

Prioritizing both physical and mental well-being is crucial for lasting recovery from substance use disorder. Failing to anticipate potential relapses, withdrawal symptoms or other challenges can hinder your ability to manage and overcome obstacles.

According to the National Institute of Health, between 45-56% of people who have completed an addiction treatment program and start rebuilding their lives, relapse within the first 30 days of sobriety. Therefore, it's important to focus on ongoing maintenance of your recovery, not just the initial treatment. By addressing all aspects of your health and equipping yourself and your support systems with necessary tools and knowledge, you can better navigate the complexities of the recovery process and increase your chances of long-term success.

What to expect when you get out of rehab?

Leaving a substance abuse treatment center can be both exciting and terrifying. On one hand, there is the promise of a fresh start and newfound freedom; on the other, the real world may pose challenges, in your new life, that were not present in the structured environment of rehab. It's essential to approach this transition with a realistic mindset and a well-thought-out plan.

10 Things to do when you leave rehab to change your life

1. Leave bad influences in the past

One of the first steps towards a successful recovery is to distance yourself from old friends and negative influences. Cut ties with toxic people who may have contributed to your substance abuse and surround yourself with a positive and supportive network. Building a strong support system and fostering the new friendships you made with sober peers, while in treatment, is crucial for maintaining sobriety in the long run.

2. Live a healthy lifestyle

Rebuilding your life after addiction treatment involves adopting a healthy routine that nurtures both your physical and mental health.

  • Exercise

Physical activity not only helps in releasing endorphins, but also provides a positive outlet for stress. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can enhance your self-confidence and foster a positive outlook, and consequently, can help you in moving forward from your life of abusing substances.

  • Eat a balanced diet

Nutrition plays a vital role in recovery. A well-balanced diet helps in restoring physical health and can have positive effects on mental health as well.

  • Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is fundamental for the healing process. Aim for a consistent sleep schedule, ensuring you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

3. Repair your damaged relationships

Drug addiction often strains relationships with family and friends. Take proactive steps toward rebuilding relationships by communicating openly, seeking forgiveness, and demonstrating a commitment to change. Family therapy can also be a valuable resource in mending relationships and taking steps in the healing process.

4. Get a hobby

Engaging in a new hobby provides a healthy outlet for stress and boredom. Most alumni of addiction treatment report that boredom is the one of the biggest contributors for relapse, especially for those in early recovery. Whether it's a creative pursuit, a sport, or a skill you've always wanted to develop, new hobbies can be positive distractions and contribute to a sense of purpose, thus preventing relapse and helping you have fun in sobriety.

5. Attend regular therapy sessions with a mental health professional

Continuing therapy after rehab is critical for addressing an underlying mental health issue and living a fulfilling life after addiction treatment. Regular sessions with a mental health professional provide a safe space to discuss challenges, develop coping strategies, and receive ongoing support.

6. Find local support groups

Being part of a local support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), provides a sense of community with individuals who share similar struggles. These groups offer a platform to share experiences, receive guidance, and build friendships with those committed to a life free from drug abuse.

7. Set goals for your recovery journey

Breaking free from the chains of substance use opens up a world of possibilities where your goals become clearer and actually reachable. With drugs out of the picture, you now have the opportunity to define what you want both your personal and professional life to look like.

Take a moment to write down these goals, creating a tangible list that you can prominently display in your daily life. This intentional act serves as a constant reminder, steering you toward the path of a fulfilling, sober life. Tell you goals to a trusted friend or family member who can help keep you on track and hold you accountable.

While considering your goals for the future, don't forget to practice gratitude and acknowledge yourself for all the hard work you have done to get to this point in your recovery. Overcoming addiction and eliminating drugs and alcohol from your life is not an easy task, and rebuilding your life is something to celebrate.

8. Forgive yourself and put your recovery above all else

Experiencing shame and guilt are common challenges for individuals who are in addiction recovery. While these emotions are entirely normal, they can present hurdles in the journey towards positive change and a new life. It's crucial to continually remind yourself that addiction is a nasty disease, not a personal failure. Embrace that recovery is a commendable achievement, and allow yourself to take pride in the remarkable strides you've made on this path to healing.

Further, at the core of long-term recovery lies the crucial element of self-care and an unwavering commitment to prioritizing your recovery above all else. Logistically, this may pose challenges, demanding you to detach from employment, friendships, engagements, or even family connections that either foster drug use or fail to encourage your journey to addiction recovery.

Ultimately, living a life free from drugs after leaving rehab requires holding firm in the principle that your recovery stands as your most important priority.

9. Build a strong support system

Surround yourself with people who understand your journey and are committed to supporting your recovery. Family members, sober friends, and support group members can form a crucial support system, offering encouragement during both highs and lows.

10. Seek professional help, when needed

Recognize that recovery is not a linear process, and seeking professional help when facing challenges is a sign of strength, not weakness. Therapists, counselors, and addiction specialists can provide tailored guidance and interventions to ensure you stay on the right path.

The importance of continuing care for your substance abuse recovery journey

Recovery from substance abuse is an ongoing process that requires dedication and support. Continuing care, which includes therapy, support groups, and other resources, plays a pivotal role in the long-term success of your recovery journey.

Sober living homes

Sober living homes provide a transitional and supportive environment for those in early recovery and just finishing an addiction treatment program. These homes offer a structured setting where residents can gradually reintegrate into everyday life while maintaining a focus on sobriety. Living in an environment with sober peers fosters a sense of community, accountability, and mutual support among residents, creating an atmosphere conducive to staying sober.

Transitional living homes

Similar to sober living homes, transitional living homes serve as a bridge between the structured environment of rehab and the freedom of independent living, but are usually funded by the state government rather than a private agency. These homes provide a safe and supportive space for those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction to practice the skills acquired during treatment, gradually easing back into the responsibilities of everyday life. Transitional living homes often include peer support, counseling services, and guidelines to help residents navigate challenges and maintain their commitment to a drug-free lifestyle.

Support groups and counseling

Engaging in support groups and ongoing counseling is a cornerstone of continuing care. Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA), offer a sense of community and shared experiences. Regular participation in these groups allows individuals to connect with others who understand the complexities of the recovery journey, providing encouragement, understanding, and valuable insights.

Counseling, whether individual or group-based, remains a vital component of ongoing care and life after addiction. Professional therapists and counselors specialize in addressing the underlying issues contributing to substance use disorders. Regular sessions provide a confidential space to explore personal challenges, develop coping strategies, and receive guidance tailored to your individual needs. The combination of support groups and counseling creates a comprehensive support network that addresses the multifaceted and complex aspects of addiction recovery.

Substance use disorder does not have to rule your life

Rebuilding your life after addiction is a transformative journey that requires commitment, self-reflection, and the support of others. Leaving rehab is just the beginning, and by implementing the suggested steps in this article, you can pave the way for a fulfilling, drug-free life.

Remember that every individual's recovery journey is unique, and progress may not happen overnight. Embrace the process, celebrate your victories, and seek help when needed. Life after addiction is not only possible but can be incredibly rewarding with the right mindset and support system. Start rebuilding, and step confidently into your new, healthier, and more vibrant life.

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Brainz Magazine Stephanie Gillespie

Stephanie Gillespie, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Stephanie Gillespie is a dedicated professional who has made a significant impact in the fields of developmental psychology, Autism, and Addiction Treatment. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill with a B.A. in Developmental Psychology. Her 15 years of experience working with individuals of all ages on the Autism spectrum provided her with a strong foundation for her transition into the Addiction Treatment field, where she now works as an Outreach Specialist for Patientize Digital Marketing. In this role, Stephanie leverages her expertise to help addiction treatment centers increase their online presence, ultimately reaching more individuals in need of support.



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