For most people with a substance use disorder, rehab is only the beginning of recovery. Many rehab programs today will emphasize this, encouraging graduates to join regular group therapy or continuing care programs.
This is because even if someone has been free from their drug of choice for the recommended 3-6 month minimum recovery period, their brain may still retain the old connections that resulted from their substance misuse. It may take several months or even years before the brain is creates strong, drug-free connections bypass these.
In other words, there simply isn’t enough time in most rehab programs for there to be a full recovery. Rehab programs can give a firm foundation and set them up for success. But in the end, achieving a full recovery is entirely up to individual.
Here are some things recovering individuals can do after rehab that may help them achieve a more sustainable recovery. If you or a loved one needs a safe space to heal after rehab, you can call Boston Drug Treatment Centers to learn more about transitional homes in your area.
While not for everyone, traveling for a couple of weeks after rehab can give the recovering individual some space and an opportunity to get a better perspective of their recovery. It’s important to pick destinations where the individual may not be able to access drugs or alcohol easily. Instead of party destinations, nature hikes or trips to less populated places may be prioritized.
2.) Reevaluate home and work lives
Though not universally true, a person’s personal and professional lives are highly likely to be contributors to mental health problems, including SUD. If one’s home and workplace situation gives a lot of stress and anxiety, the odds of relapse tend to increase.
Thus it’s important to see if there are any changes that could be made in one’s daily routines that could maximize recovery success. Recovering individuals can work with family and friends as well as with work colleagues so that more suitable work and home arrangements could be made.
3.) Move out or change jobs if necessary
Unfortunately, recovery can be impossible for some people if they stay in the same house or stick with the same job. While it might be a difficult decision, sometimes the only thing one can do to truly recover is to leave their old neighborhood or find some other means to earn an income.
4.) Attend regular therapy sessions
Most legitimate residential and outpatient rehab programs will stress the importance of regularly attending aftercare therapy sessions. As with treatment sessions in rehab, keeping to one’s aftercare treatment schedule can keep individuals grounded, allowing them to better focus on achieving a sustainable recovery.
5.) Take care of mental health
Though all people need to take care of their mental health, individuals recovering from SUD are especially vulnerable, given that stress can easily lead them to fall off the wagon.
Dealing with stress productively can be done in a number of different ways. Whether it’s one-on-one sessions with a psychotherapist, learning a musical instrument, aerobics, or yoga, recovering individuals should try different things. that help them maintain their mental hygiene through this phase of recovery.
6.) Watch out for triggers and relapses
Substance use triggers are different for everyone and they might not even be obvious to those that have them. With time, regular therapy, and periodic reevaluation, individuals that have completed rehab can be better in tune with their cravings and emotions, helping them avoid relapse more easily.
7.) Learn more about the science behind SUD
It’s important for people who have completed rehab to keep themselves informed and updated on various developments in how SUD and other mental illnesses are understood and treated.
Keeping up-to-date could provide one with insights into previously confusing personal experiences and give them ideas on how to better thrive in post-rehab life. It may also open the door for recovering individuals to learn about promising therapy approaches that better suit their recovery.
8.) Consider letting go of friends and family who are bad influences
Unfortunately, loved ones can all too often be the biggest barrier to recovery. When this happens, the recovering individual will have to decide whether it’s better to just love these people from afar.
However, there must be at least an attempt to save important relationships. Sometimes all that’s needed is to communicate one’s concerns to the other person. When possible, counseling sessions with the loved one can be key to maintaining both one’s recovery and the relationship.
9.) Pay it forward
Not only does helping others feel good, but it can also help people who have completed rehab have a frame of reference for their own journey. Just seeing how far one has come can be a great motivator for staying clean.
Many recovering individuals find the world outside rehab a daunting place. But whether they choose to move to a transitional home or begin healing on their own terms, it’s important to know that, given time, recovery is always achievable. Good luck, and be well!