Recovery does not end when you graduate from rehab, and in treatment, you have learned techniques to stay sober and you should be connected with a 12 step or other peer support group. Hopefully, your family has become engaged in and is supportive of your recovery, and in an ideal world, you have developed new hobbies and new friends to replace those from your using life.
Here are a few things you can do to help yourself find success in life after rehab, prevent relapse and enjoy your life.
1) The treatment program should have worked intensely with you to develop a relapse prevention plan prior to graduation. This should include reminders about triggers for using, signs you may be headed toward a relapse, what to do when triggers happen and what to do if a relapse occurs. Keep this plan with you and use it when you need it.
2) If after care is available through your rehab program take advantage of this. You need to ensure you maintain the basics of recovery including proper diet, adequate rest, exercise, avoiding triggers to use whenever possible, and taking care of yourself in all areas of your life.
3) As a recovering addict, you need to remember you are still prone to slipping back into old habits even if substance use does not occur. You must continue to follow your recovery and relapse prevention program whether that is attending meetings regularly and working a 12 step program or avoiding old friends and hangouts.
4) Continue to read recovery related materials to keep your focus on sobriety and positive change. You may also find becoming active in the recovering community either as a sponsor in a 12 step group or as a speaker at groups offered in the rehab center to be options. Helping others get and stay sober makes it harder for you to slip back into bad habits.
5) You need to keep your focus moving forward, and this may mean continuing to develop new healthy interests like meditation, yoga, art or anything else that keeps you engaged in positive activity and meeting positive people. You need to spend as much time as possible with people who are successful in life and in recovery. Learning to take care of yourself and to be happy and joyful in life is a skill best learned from those who are living it.
6) Continue working to repair the relationships that were damaged during your time using, this will mean having hard conversations with loved ones who were hurt by your use. It will mean apologizing and making amends as best you can, it will mean accepting the fact some people may not trust you to be really making the changes. The best way to get through this is by being trustworthy, working your rehab program and making the changes needed.
Patience will be required to continue to make progress, but it can be done.
Melisa Cammack has been freelance writing for almost ten years, and loves to write self-help, parenting, and health. She is currently writing on behalf of Ascend Recovery.