Aftercare Essentials: Equip Yourself for Post-Rehab Success

When you take your first step outside of a rehab facility, that’s just the beginning. Recovery is a long process that far outlasts any rehabilitation program.

Once you’ve gotten clean and sober, set yourself up for success so you can stay that way. There are certain resources and techniques available to help you stay on track.

Find New Habits

Come up with a collection of activities that you enjoy to take your mind off of using substances. Try doing something artistic, like drawing, or an coloring in an adult coloring book. Pick out a few good books that can take you into a different world for a while.

Open up a puzzle, or even start a household project, like re-organizing your bedroom. Being busy will help take the edge off when the addiction creeps up on you, with the added bonus of being productive.

Learn Other Ways to De-Stress

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Image Credit: Isabell Winter

Leaving the supportive and controlled environment of a rehabilitation facility can be a bit of a shock. It’s easy to get overstimulated and stressed out. Try a few relaxation tricks to calm yourself down. You could even try making a coping skills toolbox.

Listen to soothing music, use some calming essential oils, strike a few yoga poses or have a wild dance party in your room—whatever you need to do to let go of your stress.

Spend Time With People Who Support You

Take stock of the people in your life who are going to help you feel better and stay sober, and those who will suck you back into your pre-rehab routine. Avoid friends who may pressure you into drinking or doing drugs. Even if they support your decision to stay sober, spending time with friends who abuse substances is a slippery slope.

It can be hugely helpful to have the support of someone who is going through, or has already gone through what you’re dealing with—someone who gets it and supports your decision to be sober.

Set Achievable Goals

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It is important to always be looking towards the future. These goals could be anything—they don’t have to be related to your recovery. Perhaps you have a goal of reading a new book every month, or taking a course in a skill you’ve always been interested in, or getting daily exercise. Setting goals gives you a sense of purpose and helps to remind you of the benefits of sober living.

Schedule Follow-Up Care

You can schedule follow-ups or check-ins with your rehab center or with your doctor to keep you on track. They can give you suggestions and answer any questions you have about withdrawal and managing your cravings. Keep your appointments. Making yourself accountable to other people will help with self-motivation.

Remember that help is always there if you ask for it. If you’re struggling emotionally, don’t hesitate to see a counselor. Just because you’re out of rehab, that doesn’t mean you have to deal with things on your own.

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