Completing a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program can be challenging but it is one of the best ways to achieve sobriety. If you have recently done this, congratulations. Though a feat in itself, finishing a treatment program does not guarantee anything and it is important to understand that recovery truly starts when the program is over.
As you the exit the controlled environment of rehab, there are often many things that need to be accomplished. Finding a job, discovering a new group of friends, adjusting to a new lifestyle, and locating a place to live are just a few of the many challenges an individual just starting recovery will face.
With so much information and misinformation out there about how to succeed after treatment we’ve created this guide to assist you.
To get started, select the statement below that best describes what you’re looking to learn more about. This will take you to the appropriate portion of the page which answers your questions and suggests the best way to proceed. Finally, we’ll go over some of the myths that exist about what to do after treatment and provide you with the real information, so you continue on your road to a drug free life.
I Just Got out of an Inpatient Treatment Program
First off, congratulations on completing your program! It is important to realize that the transition from treatment can be difficult, and now that you are back to your “normal life” you will be faced with challenges. Outside of the controlled environment of a rehabilitation program you may find yourself having trouble coping with the stressors of the “real world”, and without the guidance of trained professionals it is normal to feel slightly overwhelmed. You mustn’t let this stress negatively affect your sobriety.
You’re going to have a major adjustment. During inpatient treatment, your days are scheduled and filled with activity. Upon returning home, you may find yourself wanting to take a break and have some down-time. Be careful with this, as it may start you off on a trend that leads to danger. Boredom, becoming introverted, and low morale could lead to relapse. You likely have a lot to accomplish and shouldn’t wait to get started. Whether it’s finding a job, transitioning your living arrangement, or going to follow-up care like outpatient treatment it will make you feel better to get these things started.
Your living situation may be in question. If you lived by yourself before treatment, it may not be a bad idea if you have to stay back your family for a little bit. The added support probably won’t hurt. If this isn’t possible, maintain a close connection with your support group regardless. It could even be that you don’t have anywhere to live. Ideally this would’ve been handled before discharge. You may have to consider a halfway house or something of that nature. The good news about this is these settings usually require structure and accountability, continuing the tempo set in rehab.
If part of your treatment involved things like 12-step meetings and support groups, continuing this will be helpful. It could be that your treatment center hosts these meetings and they’re open to the public or alumni. Look into this. Otherwise, AA and NA meetings are easy to find, and you can find one’s near you online.
I Just Got out of Outpatient Treatment
At this point, you may be pretty comfortable in your recovery. Your outpatient sessions have likely wound down to once or twice a week. This means it’s time to make the final transition to complete independence.
Continue the things that’ve been successful for you. While this won’t include outpatient sessions, you can maintain the helpful lines of communication that’ve gotten you this far. Continuing support group meetings may be helpful for you as well.
Aside from the above, you should now be well-equipped. If you don’t feel so, make sure you tell your treatment provider so they can help you before your treatment ends. It’s okay if you need to keep going for awhile or increase your schedule. There’s no shame in that but you must be honest.
My Loved One Just Completed a Treatment Program
Once your loved one returns from treatment you need to display a healthy balance of support and accountability. Trouble can arise if you go to the extreme on either side of this spectrum.
All too often people think that once an individual has completed treatment, they are “cured”. Treatment is the foundation and true sobriety is attained through operating in the real world and refraining from reverting to past behavior. Don’t allow your loved one to fall back into the same old habits under the pretenses that they are sober now so it’s fine. Remember that their old behavior was part of their problem so allowing them to pick up where they left out will almost always end in relapse. Support them, but keep in mind that their addiction did not only affect them.
On the other end of the spectrum, be careful not to overwhelm them with unrealistic boundaries and restrictions. Putting them on house arrest, taking their phone or anything like that will likely backfire by causing them to feel like they’ve made no progress. This can be one of the most destructive things to a person’s recovery. It also gives them little lines which they’ll likely cross, even if it’s not to use drugs. They may sneak out or borrow a friend’s phone simply because they can rationalize that there’s no harm in it, which may even be true. But re-starting this pattern of revolting, hiding it and lying can kickstart the