Now that you have completed an extended stay at an inpatient rehab facility what happens next? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse as many as 60% of people relapse after treatment. This is why something like outpatient treatment is so important. Maintaining sobriety is a lifelong process, it’s not as though you’re “cured” after spending time in treatment. Ideally, you’ll develop a plan prior to discharge giving yourself the best chance of sobriety. Creating a specific plan that utilizes the tools learned in treatment will keep you from falling back into old habits. Counseling, sober living, outpatient services, and support groups; or some combination of these services can all aid in successfully getting back to a normal life. Before checking out of inpatient treatment you should:
- Locate healthy living arrangements
- Construct a healthy daily routine
- Find multiple local support groups
- Determine possible triggers and develop a plan to avoid or address them
Addiction is more than just a chemical dependency. There are often underlying issues that have gone unresolved possibly for all your life. A stressful lifestyle and poor coping mechanisms frequently precede a substance abuse disorder. Professionals specializing in certain types of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, can aid a person in recovery in understanding the underlying issues and tackle their addiction holistically. One on one counseling permits a person to unveil the reason behind specific feelings and why they use substances to deal with these emotions.
Sober living is exactly what it sounds like, an environment where you live surrounded by a supportive network where you can begin a new life free from drugs and alcohol. These homes are usually found in residential neighborhoods and participants have easy access to transportation, employment, and shopping. Sober living programs are commonly called three quarter houses, which is a good way to look at the arrangement. You can see yourself as being three quarters of the way back into the real world while still having a safetynet to fall back on. Think of it as though it’s an opportunity to live life with the training wheels on. Where you have the opportunity to practice your new skills and coping mechanisms while having the chance to build your new life with other people who are facing similar circumstances.
Outpatient rehab teaches lessons similar to inpatient treatment without requiring you to check in and stay overnight. Typically groups will meet multiple times each week over a specific period of time. It’s implemented around your regular weekly schedule and can be done in groups or individually. Oftentimes outpatient rehab’s will regularly drug test in order to keep participants accountable. These programs allow a person in recovery to get back to a normal life while continuing to build off the treatment started during inpatient.
Members of support groups are former substance users that come together to help one another cope with the struggles of addiction. 12-Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are the most well known of these groups. These programs follow a series of steps to maintain recovery. They focus on turning your lives and your will over to a higher power and making amends for what you’ve done wrong. There are a number of alternative options to traditional 12-Step support groups. Some of these groups include: Secular Organizations for Sobriety, SMART Recovery, Families Against Narcotics, and Women for Sobriety. What’s most important is continuing to participate in services that allow you to sustain sobriety. Whether this is through Anonymous 12 Step programs, SMART recovery or other community or church groups you participate in depends on the individual. What is important is that they result in a positive support system.
One of the most important aspects of recovery, if not the most important aspect, is creating your social network. You may find that you need to distance yourself from previous acquaintances. Especially if those acquaintances abuse drugs or alcohol. Building a new social life can be intimidating but it’s also an exciting opportunity to rediscover yourself and make new connections with people that don’t revolve around substance abuse. Additionally, a lot of the services mentioned above provide opportunities to create a new social network. Creating a healthy environment is key to long-term success in sobriety. Furthermore, developing a new daily routine can go a long way in maintaining sobriety.
Lastly, prepare for relapse. Relapse following treatment, whether it’s shortly after rehab or years into recovery, is a real possibility. This doesn’t mean you or your treatment have failed. Remember relapse is often a part of recovery. Have a plan in place for if you find yourself having a relapse, including immediate help from an addiction professional.