Life after rehab

Content Overview

Completing a rehabilitation programme and seeing it through until the end is a major achievement for anyone suffering from addiction, alcoholism or an activity based addiction. Yet, the journey doesn’t stop when rehab is complete. Recovery takes commitment to integrate sobriety into your everyday life, family, work and relationships.

This page will discuss how to put into practise what you have learned from the rehabilitation environment and what to expect after rehab.


Will rehab cure me?

Alcohol rehab and drug rehab are designed to treat the root causes of your addiction and challenge and change the maladaptive thinking processes that drive compulsive behaviours. Rehab can definitely be a life changing and lifesaving process. During the rehab process you will undergo intensive therapy to unearth and treat the root causes of your particular addiction. With the alcohol or drugs safely removed from your system with a medical detox, you will look better and feel better and be able to think more clearly. However, it is important to remember that addiction won’t disappear overnight. You must use all of your recovery tools, learned whilst in rehab, and apply them to your daily life to maintain remaining well and abstinent.

On leaving rehab treatment it is normal to feel a mixture of fear and excitement. Fear due to the fact that you will have learned the seriousness of the addiction and excitement due to returning back home to your family and loved ones. You may leave under the illusion that you are now able to deal with cravings easily. However, leaving the supportive environment of the rehab means finding the strength to continue recovery alone. Complacency and overconfidence is often what leads to relapse.

Life after leaving rehab

Before your admission to rehab you were probably in a place where you could not imagine life without your addiction, yet realised you could no longer live a life with it. Dealing with life on life’s terms is not easy, especially for the newly sober and clean addict. You will have to face up to the reality of the damage caused by your addiction. Sometimes this means that jobs cannot be returned to and a permanent break up with your partner or spouse. Over time, by continuing to maintain your recovery through the principles of recovery, everything will work out as it should; this will take time and patience and may not fit in with your wishes or expectations. Try to keep in mind the bigger picture and keep your head focused one day at a time on your recovery.

On leaving rehab, it is important that you continue to access local support and any aftercare that is available through the rehab treatment you completed. This will help you to adjust to sober and clean living and help you get through life’s challenges for the first year of your recovery. It is dangerous to leave rehab with the expectations that all is well and family will re-embrace you now you are clean and sober. Trust takes time and hard work with family members and loved ones; there are amends to be made and bridges to be built. The best way of doing this is by continuing in your commitment to your recovery, accessing ongoing support and above all staying clean and sober with a change in your perspective and thinking.

Changing your life after rehab

On leaving the rehab environment, it is likely that you will have associations with dealers and old using/drinking friends. We cannot stress enough that this needs to change! Maintaining contact with these individuals, especially in the early days of recovery, is likely to lead to temptation and relapse. As a newly clean and sober individual, it is important to surround yourself with those that support you in maintaining your abstinence based recovery. Support groups such as 12 step, aftercare and counselling are particularly helpful and highly recommended. Acceptance is key to changing your life; as an individual that suffers with a life threatening incurable condition you must put your recovery first, above all else. Attending ongoing support, aftercare and recovery self-help groups assists greatly with this process. Do not be fooled into thinking you are cured and will never returned to drink or drugs again; this thinking is fatal and often leads to relapse. With addiction it is vital to stay actively engaged in recovery. Addiction is a “chronic relapsing brain disease”. Permanent recovery is possible, only if you are willing to go to any lengths to maintain it.

Maintaining your recovery

After completing a detoxification and inpatient rehab programme, you will return to your home life. Challenges and events will have the potential to trigger an early relapse; this is why it is so important to stay engaged in recovery and make use of all of the support available to you.

Research shows that the majority of relapses occur within the first six months of leaving rehab treatment. By applying the tools gained in rehab and staying engaged in recovery and aftercare, you have a much better chance of successfully maintaining your recovery, without the need to return to destructive behaviours, alcohol or drugs.

On leaving rehab it is important to follow up with a discharge plan of continued support and care. The rehab you attend will help you with this. By following an action plan of discharge treatment you will find it far easier to reintegrate back into community living and society.

Types of follow on care after rehab

There are various treatment options and follow on care that are available on leaving the rehab treatment environment, which is temptation fee and safe. The real world is very different and it is vital that you continue to engage in practices that serve your ongoing recovery and help you to adjust to living a clean and sober life. Treatment options after rehab include:

    • Aftercare: all of our rehabs provide twelve months complimentary aftercare to those that complete their treatment programme. Here you will be able to gain support and understanding from your peers, learn from their experiences and also have the professional input of the counsellor or the addiction specialist conducting the aftercare service.
    • Individual Therapy: If attending aftercare, due to commitments or distance is not a viable option, we can arrange for you to continue your recovery work with a BACP approved counsellor locally. They will help you to address any issues that are new and help your to continue to process past issues relating to your addiction. Most individual counsellors use a variation of evidence based addiction treatments and techniques; we will endeavour to find you the perfect local counsellor that is qualified and experienced to meet your specific treatment needs.
    • Follow up checks: UKAT will continue to check in with you once your rehab treatment has been completed, to ask how you are coping and to suggest anything that might be of further help to you
    • 12 Step meetings: 12 step has been around for many, many years and provides a structured programme of recovery that covers most addictions. We can help you find and access your local meetings on leaving rehab. 12 Step also provides a network of recovery friends that support each other in their common goal: maintaining individual recovery
    • Alternative self-help/support groups: If 12 step is not for you, we recommend other groups such as SMART recovery. This is usually accessible through your local drug and alcohol team and includes evidence based methods to serve the individual in taking control of their recovery and addiction.
    • Secondary and Tertiary Care: Many of our rehabs offer secondary and tertiary care to assist with the reintegration process. Through accessing these services you will be gradually exposed to normal community living whilst still accessing support within an abstinence based environment. The rehab offering the service will also assist with retraining, education and getting back into employment.
    • Step down programme: After rehab, support is a crucial part of addiction recovery, involving the transition from intensive inpatient treatment to structured outpatient rehab support. UKAT’s step down programme helps individuals reintegrate into daily life whilst receiving continued guidance and services tailored to their needs.


The Family after Rehab

Addiction has a ripple effect that is very damaging to those close to the addict. Family are likely to be very wary and frightened; they will either mollycoddle the individual, thinking they can protect them from relapse, or keep a distance, due to the fear of the individual returning to their old behaviours and addiction once more. Children and close family members in particular can be gravely affected by an addict’s behaviour prior to treatment. All our rehab clinics provide a family recovery programme, as the family will also need support in healing from unhealthy situations and move forward from the past. Where this is not available, there are numerous self-help groups including Co-dependency Anonymous, Alateen and Alanon (Alcoholics Anonymous). In some instances we recommend that the family also undergo Counselling and individual therapy. With children, it is vital that they receive the correct professional help and support through their local GP practice. Children, in particular find difficulty in identifying and expressing emotions and are often the most damaged by a parent in active addiction. Time, trust, ongoing recovery and professional support can rectify this.


Living life in recovery

Completing a detox and rehab programme opens up the door to a lifestyle that may previously seemed impossible to attain. Those new to recovery need to prepare for many changes in order to maintain their recovery and continue to grow. Initially a sober and clean lifestyle may seem boring, but it can be anything but! Compare it to active addiction, where your only motivation was to get your next drink, drug, fix, hit or pill. This will have taken up all of your time; newly clean and sober, the addictive addiction needs be replaced; this often means developing strategies that that drive your passion for life and reaffirm your reasons to stay clean and sobers. There are many activities and hobbies that you can engage in that do not involve drink or drugs, here are a few examples that will help you to enjoy life sober and clean after rehab:
  • Going to the cinema
  • Training in a new skills or studying for a change in career
  • Volunteering
  • Playing sports, such as team sports, fishing, surfing or joining a gym
  • Taking dance lessons, Yoga or Tai Chi
  • Attending 12 Step conventions
  • Spending quality time with family and holidays away
  • Learning how to play an instrument or learning a new skill
  • Socialising with others in recovery
  • Having meals out with family and friends
  • Joining a church or spiritual group
  • Joining a befriending group of like-minded individuals
  • Reading
  • Travelling and exploring the world

Many individuals who do not suffer from addiction live their lives without centring it on drugs and alcohol. You do not need alcohol and drugs to enjoy life. In fact if you are an addict, substances and destructive risk taking behaviour will ruin your life. Clean and sober, life can take on a new meaning, you can meet new friends, engage in new activities and regain your confidence, inspiration and zest for life once more. Clean and sober, the world is your oyster; if you can overcome addiction, you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Put the same effort into recovery as you did into your addiction and life will become very worthwhile and fulfilling. Addicts are notoriously undisciplined, so it is important to get in place a routine and structure to maintain your recovery. Do what you enjoy and embrace gratitude for what you already have. Life after rehab doesn’t have to be difficult, not if you follow these simple suggestions. For further assistance and advice on coping with life after rehab please call or chat to us online live now!

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