Even after leaving a drug rehabilitation and treatment center, it is still important that you keep yourself free of all drugs and alcohol. Some of the ways you can do this are by setting the right goals, creating new hobbies, and staying away from anything that could cause you to be tempted to start using drugs and alcohol again.
Alternatively, you might choose to move into a sober living facility, which will provide you with the support to promote your safety and comfort. In such an environment, you would have an easier time staying sober.
Sober living facilities can also provide you with the solid foundation as well as all the tools and that you need to continue healing and coping – even after you have checked out of these centers.
In many cases, you will find yourself asking the “how do I stay sober when I’m done with rehab?” question because most people find that moving from a rehab center is one of the most exciting feelings – but one that will bring up some new challenges as you continue learning how you should navigate through your newfound sober lifestyle.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure that you do not relapse. For instance, you might want to learn how to recognize all the temptations and triggers that are likely to come across your path, as well as how to manage or avoid these triggers. By so doing, you will have an easier time staying sober both immediately after rehab as well into your future.
How to Stay Sober and Clean
Although you might assume that you would never relapse irrespective of the temptations that you come across, the truth is that many people who are recovering from an addiction end up relapsing – especially in the few weeks or months after they check out of a rehab center.
In fact, studies estimate that over 90 percent of the people who found long term sobriety experienced at least one relapse during their recovery journey. Others experienced many of these incidents before they finally found long term recovery and sobriety.
To this end, even if you have the best intentions, there is always a risk that you might go back to the drugs and alcohol that you used to abuse. This is because it often takes way more than willpower and a desire for sobriety to avoid a relapse.
Since relapses tend to sneak up on unsuspecting recovering addicts, it is important that you learn how to recognize the basic warning signs that one is impending. This is because relapses tend to begin way before you actually engage in renewed substance abuse.
Even so, there are some things that you should be able to do to completely change your life and reduce the risk of such an occurrence. According to scientific research, some of these tips, tricks, and actions include but are not always limited to:
Make Drastic Changes
While trying to maintain your sobriety in the long term, one of the answers to the “how do I stay sober when I’m done with rehab?” question revolves around making some changes in your life.
While trying to stay sober, it is important that you get yourself away from all your old hangouts, habits, routines, and associates – especially those that you would typically associate with your former drug and alcohol using habits.
While still new to recovery, therefore, you will have to make drastic changes in your lifestyle. In the long run, it won’t really matter what you change – just as long as it differs from anything that could cause you to start using drugs again.
While trying to develop your new substance-free lifestyle, there are some immediate changes that will have to be obvious. For instance, you will have to stop hanging out with anyone that you used to take drugs with or buy them from. It will also be in your best interests to avoid your old drinking associates – because spending time with them inevitably means that you will not maintain your sobriety for long.
It might also be in your advantage to find new friends – especially those who have struggled with substance abuse, overcome it, and found full sobriety. In case you have a hard time making new friends consider joining support groups and attending fellowship meetings.
You could also start spending more of your time among your family members and friendship circles. Alternatively, you might consider planning activities that you can enjoy with these people while also learning how to develop a healthier lifestyle that could enable you to avoid any situation that could cause you to relapse.
Structure Your Schedule
Scientific research also shows that people who have a disorganized or chaotic lifestyle have a harder time finding full recovery in the long term than those who are more structured.
To this end, it is important that you structure your daily and weekly schedules. You should also structure to the structures that you have set up in place – a plan that could help you achieve many other goals in life.
At the same time, you might also want to develop goals that you can achieve over the long term. Although staying sober will be one of your high priorities, it would be in your best interests to also develop and pursue other goals – such as changing careers, going back to school, and becoming more active in your life. All of these goals will come in handy when you need help maintaining your sobriety and finding the right answers to the “how do I stay sober when I’m done with rehab?”
Improve Your Relationships
As a recovering addict or alcohol, you have got to a point where your best relationship was with your favorite substances of abuse. At this stage, the only friends – or associates – that you really had were the people who sold you drugs or who spent their time with you using these drugs.
After finding new recovery and sobriety, you might already have learned that these relationships were not the healthiest ones. Rather, they were so toxic that they continue sinking you further down the barrage of substance abuse.
Even so, it is not just your drug dealers, bartenders, or drinking buddies who could threaten your newfound sense of sobriety. At times, you might even find that it is the people who are closest to you who would cause you to relapse.
For instance, you might have a co-dependent relationship with caregivers with whom you have now become overly dependent. Alternatively, there might be empowered, friends, or family members in your life who could potentially enable you to start using again.
If you continue maintaining these types of toxic relationships, it is highly likely that you will relapse. To ensure that this does not happen, as well as remaining sober, consider developing new, healthier relationships with those who could potentially show you how to maintain your sobriety.
Become Physically Active
The fact that you were addicted to drugs and used to drink excessively, it is highly likely that these habits – and drugs – adversely affected your health and wellness. As such, you might not be in your best physical shape.
Research shows that both recreational activities and exercise are effective at reducing stress – which could potentially trigger your relapse. Through such physical activity, you can also reduce your boredom – another thing that could cause you to relapse. Finally, becoming physically active could potentially restore your balance in life and end up benefiting you both emotionally and psychologically.
One of the main benefits that you can also glean from physical activity is that you can rely on it to improve your health and wellness. Increased exercise – combined with improved nutrition – could also help you reduce any and all post-acute withdrawal symptoms that might occur.
While looking for answers to the “how do I stay sober when I’m done with rehab?” you might find that getting a job could enable you to maintain your sobriety and recovery in the long term.
Many recovering addicts and alcoholics find that they frequently experience problems meeting responsibilities at work, maintain their employment, as well as managing their money. In case your addiction was active for a while, then it is highly likely that you might also have developed – or develop – financial problems.
All of these factors – financial difficulty and problems finding (and keeping) a job – are among the major triggers that could cause you to relapse. As such, it is essential that you start taking the steps needed to ensure that your finances are in order.
At the same time, returning to work – in and of itself – can also prove so stressful that you end up turning back to drugs and other substances of abuse to quell this anxiety and stress.
To this end, you can be sure that having proper professional support could potentially ensure that you use this support to continuing maintaining your ultimate goal at this stage in time – that means that it can empower you to maintain your ongoing goal of full recovery and sober living.
For instance, it might be good for you to teach yourself how to budget your finances, go the extra mile to repair your financial credit, and get yourself out of any debt that you might have accumulated.
Other things that you can do – which will obviously take some time but will be worth it in the long run – to ensure that you are sober when you are done with rehab include but are not limited to:
- Attending parties with other sober friends
- Being thankful at all times
- Creating new and healthy habits in place of your old drug using ones
- Dealing with past mistakes
- Engaging in meditation
- Exercising more
- Finding a solid support system
- Finding balance in your personal and professional lives
- Finding outlets that provide support and community
- Going back to school
- Keeping non-alcoholic beverages in your hand at all times
- Keeping your follow-up drug rehab appointments
- Learning a new language
- Leaving any situation that causes you to feel tempted or uncomfortable
- Modifying your environment
- Planting a garden
- Playing sports
- Reading more often
- Setting drug free goals for the future
- Starting an online course
- Staying cool and calm
- Surrounding yourself with people that you trust
- Visiting arts and crafts courses and shops