10 Ways to Stay Sober After Rehab

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Learn ways to stay sober after rehab that will enable you to live a productive, sober life.

Completing a drug addiction treatment program and embarking on a newly sober life can feel amazing, inspiring, and may also be a bit frightening at the same time. When you leave rehab, you should have an aftercare plan and post therapy arrangements in place. While you may be prepared to reenter the world at large, it is impossible to foresee the entire road ahead. There will be days where you feel amazing to be sober and alive. There will also be days where you are feeling down, unsure of yourself, and in need of some inspiration to maintain your recovery.  There are many resources available that offer ways to stay sober after rehab:

  • Utilize your support system. An important tool for staying sober after rehab is staying accountable. Maintain communication with your sponsor. Your sponsor will act as your mentor and can effectively be there for you when you are feeling an urge to use, as he or she will understand what you are going through. Reach out to friends and loved ones that are invested in your recovery and available to support you. When you are looking for peer support and encouragement, check out NCADD – the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.  NCADD shares valuable resources for group therapy support and fellowships that can be just what you need when you are feeling vulnerable in your recovery.
  • Work with a counselor or psychologist for beneficial one on one therapy, especially if you have a co-existing condition such as anxiety or depression. In addition, group therapy is essential to your recovery. There are many tools and strategies you will learn in group therapy meetings. Many addicts in recovery grow to rely on this support network and are grateful to be a part of it. There are also online meetings and forums available.
  • Relapse prevention plan. After you ask, “How do I stay sober after rehab?” Create a relapse prevention plan. Staying sober after rehab requires preparation and commitment. A relapse prevention plan will include methods for coping when faced with triggers. Triggers can be places that symbolize your past, special dates, or memories that make you feel the urge to use. Methods for coping may include meditation, prayer, or contacting someone in your support system. This plan is there to remind you that you are in control of your recovery.
  • Build relationships with healthy people. Erase the contact information of people that you drank or used drugs with from your phone and electronic devices. Also, avoid the people who instigate negativity or make you feel angry. Instead, keep company with family and close friends you can trust and offer positive reinforcement.
  • Self-care. How do I stay sober after rehab? Taking good care of yourself, that’s how. Get as much rest, relaxation and sleep as possible. Always keep healthy food in the refrigerator. Be active each day.
  • Manage your time, routine is important. One of the best ways to stay sober after rehab is to keep your days productive and develop a routine that you can grow accustomed to relying on. Being a creature of habit is a compliment to your recovery because it provides structure and helps you avoid stress.
  • Practice forgiveness and forgive yourself. When you go through a drug addiction treatment program, you will ask forgiveness of those who were hurt by your addiction. In order for you to heal and maintain a healthy outlook toward your recovery, you will also need to forgive yourself and accept this fresh start.
  • Avoid Triggers – Internal and External. Recovering addicts want to know, “How do I stay sober after rehab?” Knowing how to deal with triggers is especially effective. Make an effort to avoid old connections that influenced your drug use, such as your dealer or old friends that use, stay away from old hangouts, and avoid emotionally charged interactions.  Some triggers may include negative thoughts, pain, or insecurity, or even certain holidays. Practicing stress and trigger relieving methods can be helpful in getting through these moments.
  • Work toward living a balanced life. Every newly sober person needs a period of adjustment to get used to a new routine, doing everyday tasks sober, being productive and rebuilding relationships while making self-care a priority. It’s a tall order, but each day it will become easier to manage and your mind will become sharper. Living a balanced life means resting when it is needed, eating well, have realistic expectations and don’t demand too much of yourself right now. Stick to your aftercare treatment plan. Eventually you will be able to think ahead, but for now think about getting through today.
  • Coping with urges. Refer to your relapse prevention plan and work with your counselor to come up with ways to cope when urges are present. These coping mechanisms will assist you in staying sober after rehab and may include simple activities such as shooting baskets, reading, meditating, joining a faith organization that supports recovery, or keeping pictures of loved ones in your wallet to look at for motivation as one of the ways to stay sober after rehab.