If you have been through a programme of rehabilitation at an inpatient treatment centre and are getting ready to leave, you may be thinking about what will happen once you get home. You have probably been advised to join a support group such as AA or NA, but is there anything else you should be doing?
You may be feeling great and ready to face the world now that you are free from drugs or alcohol addiction, but it is important to remember that this is still early days and relapse may still pose a risk. Addiction is not something that goes away overnight – you will have to work hard, for a long time, to maintain your sobriety. How you approach recovery after alcohol rehab will influence your chances of long-term success.
In most instances, your counsellor will have put an aftercare plan in place with you and will let you know the best course of action for the early days after treatment. You will typically be advised to join a support group as soon as you leave and, in most cases, you will have been given a guide on what to do in the event of a slip.
It is likely that you and your counsellor have already worked at identifying the underlying causes of your addiction and you have now learned how to identify triggers. You probably have a clear set of guidelines on how to avoid these triggers. Make sure you are familiar with these and that you are confident you can follow them.
You may need to continue seeing a counsellor for individual therapy after you leave rehab. This is not uncommon and can be something you do in conjunction with attending support group meetings. You may need help in integrating back to society and in learning how to nurture relationships with others.
Marital or family counselling may also be necessary. You and your spouse or children may be finding it difficult to get back to normal now that you are no longer using. You may have forgotten what normal actually is; counselling will help.
As previously mentioned, you should have a plan in place for how to avoid relapse. This could include places and people you need to avoid as well as activities that might not be a good idea. You should have a clear idea of the activities you can do as well as the individuals that will be helpful to your recovery.
If you do have a relapse, do you know who to call? You need to have someone to turn to in an emergency situation. It is important to remember that many recovering addicts suffer from a relapse at some stage. Some will have a small slip and will be able to get back on track straight away with the right support. Others will have a full relapse and will need to go back to rehabilitation treatment.
It is important to realise that even if you do have a relapse, you can get back on track. Many recovering addicts will go on to live long and sober lives after one or two relapses.
Day to Day Life
You need to be able to cope with day to day life after rehabilitation and this means rebuilding your relationships with your loved ones. You also need to find ways to socialise without chemical substances. There are plenty of things you can do to have fun such as going to the cinema or theatre.
Getting back to work is a good idea provided your job is not too stressful. You may even want to start volunteering to help other addicts get their lives back on track. Many recovering addicts find that this is very rewarding and helps with their own sobriety.