Well, congratulations! You have finally completed your drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and are on your way to living your life substance-free again. You should be proud of your accomplishments and excited for the future and what it may bring for you. We have one last request for you; please don’t forget to keep up with your aftercare!

We’ve all seen it in the magazines before or have even watched other family members and friends go through the cycle of falling into addiction. They become ill, start attending rehab, work on getting clean, make it out into the real world again, operate alright for a while, and then suddenly end up succumbing to substance abuse again and restarting the process. It is incredibly frustrating to see someone you love fall into this cycle, whether they are your favorite celebrity or uncle. You sit and wonder where they went wrong, where the process of healing failed them.

Well, in all honesty, the system didn’t fail you, your family member, or your friend. The fact is that millions of people struggle with substance abuse and addiction for years. Addiction is a severe illness that alters the brain chemically and physically, changing aspects of an individual at a fundamental level. The way they think, act, and process information all changes, and it can take a long time for someone to entirely rewrite the working blueprints for life in their brain again. Relapse is often a part of the recovery process, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to avoid relapse at all costs and prepare yourself for what to expect from life after rehab, here are a few tips to help get you ready for life outside of treatment again.

Have Realistic Expectations for Yourself

Before you do anything else, take a moment to bask in the light of finishing rehab. Completing a drug or alcohol rehabilitation program plan, let alone the entire treatment regimen is no small task. You should be incredibly proud of your accomplishments and how far you have come. And you should celebrate your achievements in a safe, sober friendly manner, to help yourself stay motivated for the long stretch of recovery now.

That’s right. The path to recovery does not end once you finish treatment. Completing rehabilitation is just your first step in your recovery story. Now you have to live every day chasing the better version of yourself you have taken so long to cultivate. It may sound like a complex, time-consuming, and frustrating process to work through, but we promise that the work you put into continuously chasing after sobriety is worth all of the effort you exert. But of course, you must have realistic expectations for yourself in life after rehab.

You will have amazing days. Days that make addiction seem like it never existed. Moments where you feel on top of the world, and nothing can bring you down. And you will also have days where you struggle, where old thoughts and cravings seek to topple you. In the end, you will have days where you are victorious and instances where you are faced with setbacks. Victories and setbacks are all a part of the recovery process and life after rehab. Realizing this fact will help you set a standard of realistic expectations for yourself as you navigate sobriety outside of treatment.

Take the time to recognize your strengths and your weaknesses. Realize when you may need to ask for help, when you push yourself too hard, and even when you may need to challenge yourself more. Recovery and sober living are not a one size fit all narrative. You need to experiment with your living situation to see what will work for you and what will not, all while realizing that you are human along the way. Don’t expect yourself to be a master at sober living straight away. It may take you time to get a handle on yourself and the situation you are in. Ask for help when you need it. And try not to beat yourself up too much when you encounter a setback. Instead, move forward and get back on the proverbial bike.

Get Acquainted with Your Aftercare Options

Hopefully, if you are enrolled in a good drug and alcohol rehab center like St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP), your program directors and therapists have discussed with you the importance of structured aftercare. Hopefully, they spoke with you about how you can get started in either a program they offer or one outside the treatment facility. It is vital that you know your aftercare options before completing rehab to have a structured way and plan to help keep yourself motivated even before treatment ends. If you don’t, it is not the end of the world, you can also inquire about aftercare programs ost completion of rehab, but it will help you to have this step done before even leaving the campus grounds.

Some drug and alcohol rehab facilities like SJRP work to provide their clients with precise, structured aftercare services. And if you decide that you don’t wish to engage in these activities, program providers like SJRP will often offer you other types of support services to help you. Some of these supports can be opportunities like the ability to call them at any point when you are struggling so that you can talk to a therapist or another treatment professional. There are all different types of continuing supports you can utilize post-rehab, including:

  • Frequent check-ins
  • Individual counseling sessions
  • Group support services
  • 12-step programs

And more. The journey towards recovery continues well after official treatment ends. To be successful in your new sober life, you must take the necessary precautions to help build yourself up. Don’t just depend on your treatment center’s aftercare services to carry you through recovery. Have realistic expectations for yourself, focus hard on building your professional persona, create a new social network and support group for yourself, and even do the best you can in helping others on their post-rehab journey. Addiction may have been a solitary, lonely experience for you to work through, but recovery is a communal way of life.

Build A New Life for Yourself!

Yes, recovery is 100% a community effort. But ultimately, you need to be working towards recovery for yourself and yourself first and foremost. There will be plenty of aspects of life after rehab that is scary, uncomfortable, and uncertain. But luckily, life after recovery can also be exciting, full of life, and happy. This is your time to build a new life for yourself! You’ve already worked on reimaging and cultivating a new way of begging for your identity, now is the time for you to create the life you want around it.

Sober living is a lifelong process. You will always need to be working towards remaining sober. Some days will be easier than others. You may fall into relapse, but as long as you get back up and try again, you can still have a successful life of sobriety post-rehab. Attending a drug and alcohol treatment program will not fix all of the issues you suffer with, but the programs you work through will give you the foundational tools you need to continue working on yourself and the life you want to live. You will be able to see life in a new light, restore your relationships with scorned loved ones, discover new hobbies, and so much more.

Maintaining a sober lifestyle after treatment ends can be difficult. You may be afraid of falling into relapse, but if you can make it past the first six months of life after rehab without such a significant setback as relapse, you will likely be able to avoid reverting in the long term. But even if you do relapse, it is not the end of the world. It is just another opportunity for you to take the time to focus, buckle down, and work on yourself. Working towards recovery does not end after discharge from inpatient rehab; this is just the beginning! But we promise you, the victories and happiness you discover as you continue working towards sobriety are worth the effort you put in.