It’s an exciting time after outpatient treatment, but it can also be a time filled with uncertainties. You’re now without the support outpatient treatment provides. What are the best ways to stay sober and healthy once you’ve completed your outpatient program?
1. Be Mindful of Triggers
Triggers are situations, locations and emotions that make people want to drink or take drugs. In outpatient therapy, you learned how to identify your triggers. After outpatient treatment, keep identifying your triggers in order to maintain your ability to avoid them. Also, have a plan to react in positive ways to triggers that you can’t avoid.
2. Join Aftercare
Long-term sobriety needs support. One of the best means of support is an aftercare plan. There are different types of aftercare services, many of which can be provided through your outpatient program. Maintenance therapy and relapse prevention groups can be useful.
3. Attend 12-Step Groups
12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide group support and sponsors. 12-step support groups also offer blueprints for recovering people to stay sober after outpatient treatment. Regularly attending meetings helps keep you focused on abstinence.
4. Find Sober Friends
5. Put Yourself in a Sober Environment
You may find yourself surrounded by places where drugs are sold, or bars and liquor stores you used to visit. The people who you used to drink or take drugs with might keep popping up. If so, it might be a good idea to move. A new location removes these daily reminders that can turn into strong temptations.
Volunteering helps you feel good about yourself. Getting involved in giving back to the community boosts your sense of belonging and connectedness. Also, helping someone else gets your mind off your own issues and problems.
7. Stay Alert
After outpatient treatment, you came away with new, healthier ways of thinking and behaving. If you become complacent, old patterns could creep back in. Be on alert to identify your thoughts and feelings. Identification stops destructive thoughts and behaviors in their early stages, before they lead to relapse.1
Activities You Can Do to Jumpstart Your Daily Routine
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet
- Get plenty of quality sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Take time to unwind and destress at the end of the day
- Read a book
- Get a massage
- Enjoy a hot bath
- Watch a funny movie
- Watch an informative documentary
Relapse After Outpatient Treatment
Reach out for support. Begin your recovery program again. Process the situations, circumstances or people that led to the relapse. Use these discoveries as a basis for avoiding another relapse. Learning from your mistakes will only help you in your recovery journey.