5 ways to stay sober after drug rehab. You never have to use again!
Some people can use a month of drug rehab and stay sober for life, most of us can't. Here are 5 things you can do to improve your odds of sobriety after the end of drug or alcohol rehab.
Staying sober is hard, takes work, and there is no guarantee; and anyone that promises you differently is lying.
A month or more of residential rehab gives you the tools you'll need to stay sober, and almost half of all people participating in a rehab get enough out of the experience to stay clean, sober and happy for good. Unfortunately, slightly more than half (even a lot of people committed to abstinence and sobriety) find that despite their efforts and commitment, they cannot resist the pulls of temptation and find themselves using and abusing again; and often not long after graduation from a drug or alcohol rehab.
There are no guarantees, but following these 5 steps to sobriety after rehab gives you a much better chance of never again feeling the pain of abuse and addiction.
5 things you need to do to stay sober after rehab
1) Stay in aftercare
The single greatest thing that you can do to ensure success and sobriety is to maintain a long and intense commitment to aftercare therapy. Aftercare can mean 12 steps group meetings, group peer support sessions and can mean continuing regular sessions with a therapist. Find something meaningful and resonant to you and stick with it, and stick with for longer than you think you need to. Overconfidence and a minimization of aftercare are incredible predictors of relapse.
2) Keep busy
Too many of us recovering addicts coming out of rehab have no idea how to spend free time without getting drunk or getting high, and filling free time without use challenges our creativity, and too often leads to temptation and abuse.
You need to have plans for those moments of boredom. They will come, and they will trigger temptations to abuse. Get out and get busy; volunteer, join a club, play sports do whatever you enjoy and whatever keeps you busy enough that you don’t have to worry about free time temptations to abuse.
3) Take care of yourself
Getting hungry, getting tired and getting lonely all trigger cravings to use, and so by taking good care of your body and your soul you preempt risks to sobriety before they emerge. Eat right, get enough sleep and make sure you have a long list of sober friends you can call at any hour of need.
4) Follow your relapse prevention plan.
You worked long and hard on it in drug or alcohol rehab for a reason, and you need to follow that plan to the letter. The relapse prevention document is the bible of the first year, and those that start to ignore the recommendations of the plan, ignore the known triggers to use, and the situations likely to prompt cravings; are surely asking for trouble.
Wait a year; if you make it that long, you can reconsider you plan, until then, don’t mess around with success.
5) If you slip, it doesn't mean you need to fall back into full abuse.
Even if you do everything right, there is no guarantee that you'll never again have a moment of weakness and find yourself again using. The next morning, when the weight of your actions sweeps over you, it's too easy to accept defeat and fall back into old ways and destructive habits.
A slip doesn't have to become a relapse. Get immediate sober support, learn from the experience, and get back into aftercare with a vengeance.
If you handle it properly, a slip can strengthen your ultimate resolve, and increases the odds of long term success.
Recovery is hard, it takes work and it requires commitment. You need to do everything in your power to minimize the temptations to use, and even then there are no guarantees. Follow the advice of your therapist, follow the advice of other addicts with years of sobriety, and follow the 5 steps to sobriety as outlined above; and you have a great chance at a lifetime of better living.
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