Rehab provides a sheltered environment that helps you get firmly established on the road to recovery.1 You will eventually leave the rehab facility and get back to living a normal life. For many people, that means returning to school or work once treatment has been completed. When preparing to return to the routine of everyday life after rehab, there are important steps to take.
Use the Tools You Learned in Treatment
During rehab treatment, you will learn many tools and coping skills to help you deal with the inevitable urge to turn back to drugs or alcohol. Therapy will help you identify the triggers that may push you toward relapse, and you will learn many techniques for coping with these. You will learn about the many ways in which you can develop more positive responses to these triggers, and to identify the stimuli that can lead you to think about using substances again. It is very important to keep all this knowledge at the forefront of your mind when you reintegrate into society after rehab.
Never forget that addiction is an illness, one that is shared by millions of other people. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 21.5 million Americans over the age of 11—8.1 percent of the population—had substance abuse disorders in 2014.2 While you may feel shame or guilt about experiencing addiction, you should try to adopt a positive mental attitude. You have already taken a huge step in rebuilding your self-esteem by attending rehab treatment.
You can build on this by striving to contribute in a positive way to society. Forget about the negative aspects of your disorder and concentrate instead on performing to the best of your ability at work or school. Show your colleagues that you are committed to making meaningful and worthwhile contributions.
Follow Through with Aftercare
Treatment teaches you about the many useful activities you can take up to ward off stress and boredom. Draw up a clear plan to use as many of these as possible. Being physically fit is important in staying mentally fit. Have a schedule of activities that will help you build physical fitness. Physical exercise encourages the brain to produce healthy chemicals that make you feel good. When you feel good, you will be less inclined to think of drugs or alcohol.
Try to create a more structured approach to your daily life. Routine is good, provided it does not become boring. Talk to your family members about how they can help you bring more structure to your life.
Seek Help When You Need It After Rehab
There is a very good chance that there will be people in your organization who have experiences with the same illness you have. They know what you have been through, and they will be more than willing to help you. Rather than feeling shame and trying to hide your disorder, seek out these people and make use of their help and advice after rehab.