The days after you leave rehab are incredibly intimidating. When you are staying at a center, there are restrictions in place that prevent temptation as well as resources to help you cope. You are surrounded by people who are in the same position as you and professionals who are eager to help. Outside of those walls, it can be a daunting experience trying to stay sober without having the support that you got from residential treatment centers. You aren’t alone though, and there are a few things that you can do to set yourself up for success.
1. Look for a local center that offers therapy.
Just because you were discharged from a rehab center doesn’t mean your work is done. You will more than likely need to continue therapy in an outpatient program and work with accountability partners who can help you stay clean. As you settle into your new life, it’s important to find support systems in your area similar to the drug rehab centers in Los Angeles, such as CAST Centers. These facilities offer AA meetings and other therapy sessions for you to attend that will keep you accountable for your sobriety and support your mental health.
2. Find new hobbies that you love.
Now that you are sober, you will need something to fill up your time. The hours you spent using may now seem slow and boring if you don’t have anything to do. However, this is a great opportunity to test out a few different hobbies to see what you like and what isn’t for you. If you’re someone who enjoys water sports and being out on the water with a paddleboard or a kayak, take this as an opportunity to get some exercise while also keeping yourself distracted. A fun and active way to keep yourself busy is to enroll yourself in stand-up paddle boarding lessons, or you may just prefer getting into the habit of swimming laps at your local community pool.
Finding a consistent hobby that you enjoy can help you meet new people and form bonds around common interests instead of drugs or alcohol.
3. Identify your personal triggers.
Since your sobriety, your mind may have developed a series of triggers that tempt you to crave drugs or alcohol. These can be caused by stress at work, anxiety about social situations, or environmental cues like parties or concerts. Each person has their own triggers with different levels of power. As an addict, you need to learn yours. Spend some time identifying your own triggers and taking steps to prevent them. This could mean taking yourself out of a situation such as avoiding bars or seeking help for coping with stress.
4. Avoid old routines and toxic relationships.
While in rehab, many beneficial resources are available to you such as meeting with a counselor and identifying certain patterns in behavior. However, when you leave, you may need to evaluate your current lifestyle in terms of your relationships and routines. This will help you to see what you can and can’t return to. Ask yourself if there’s a particular person that causes a trigger in you to want to drink? Do you hang out in places where alcohol and drugs are common? It’s important to identify whether being with certain people or hanging out in certain places tempt you.
Take a close look at each aspect of your life and see what changes you need to make in order to help you stay sober. This doesn’t mean you need to avoid these people or places forever, but you might feel too raw right at first to be around them.
5. Maintain a structured schedule.
One of the main benefits of taking on a hobby such as paddle boarding, surfing, or even gardening is that it gives you a schedule. During the first few weeks or months following rehab, time is your enemy. When you are bored, you are more likely to think about using which can lead you to develop higher stress levels.
Instead, develop a schedule that you can follow every day. Between work, recovery meetings, and your hobbies, most of the day should be accounted for. This routine will also lower your stress levels because you know what to expect each day.
Most importantly, know that you are not alone in your recovery. There are people who want to support you, whether it’s your family, friends, colleagues, counselor, or even other addicts who have been in your shoes. Turn to these resources in order to stay sober and rebuild your life.