What Happens After Rehab?
One would think the hard part is over once you have taken the leap to check yourself into rehab, worked through detox and withdrawal, and completed 30-90 days of residential treatment.
However, the recovery process is usually far from finished when a recovering addict is sent out into the real world.
Residential treatment provides around the clock support, which is essential to making it through the early stages of recovery; it keeps all outside influences, temptations, and problems at bay so you can focus on your own well-being without interruptions. Once you leave the residential facility – though support systems are still available to you – you are going to have to navigate your new reality on your own; so, it pays to have an action plan to make re-entry a little easier.
Transitional Housing Program
After completing the 90-day residential rehabilitation treatment program recovering addicts may be eligible to undergo the second phase of residential treatment; the transitional housing program. The transitional housing program is designed to help transition and integrate you back into the “real world” without feeling as though you are being thrown straight back into life.
We see a greater success rate in long term addiction recovery when clients complete the transitional housing program.
After completing rehab or the transitional housing program clients are able to undertake our aftercare and relapse prevention program.
The aftercare program is designed to help recovering addicts continue the process of reintegration with their lives outside of rehab, providing ongoing monitoring and support. Clients completing the aftercare and relapse prevention program reduce the risk of relapse compared to going straight back into society following their addiction treatment.
Online Aftercare Program
Alternatively, we offer our residents our online aftercare program, which provides invaluable resources at times of need through the HaderCare mobile application.
The app-based support program consists of addiction rehabilitation information, resources and activities plus weekly meditation videos, and real-time individual counselling sessions via video integration allowing you to continue your recovery when at home.
Getting clean and sober is hard – staying clean and sober is harder. Once you get back home, you can expect your cravings to go through a renewed peak; because you are likely going to be surrounded by triggers.
In order to make it through the first few months in ‘the wild’, you have to be aware of potential triggers and put strategies in place to cope with them as best as you can.
Triggers can include (but are not limited to):
- Friends you used to drink/use drugs with
- Places you used to drink/use drugs at
- Feelings of depression and despair
- Avoiding triggers entirely is practically impossible; however, as long as you are aware of them, you are going to be able to work around them.
Now is not the time to be polite. If old friends show up uninvited and invite you to join them for a few drinks, a little smoke or just a straight-up bender, you are absolutely allowed to slam the door in their faces…if you even open the door. If old friends/acquaintances are not supportive of your recovery, respectful of your sobriety or encouraging in your quest for long-term healing, they have to go.
If you are invited to attend a social event in a part of town that might be triggering – the city, the party district, your old local pub – you are well within your rights to refuse. If a location makes you uncomfortable, you do not have to go. If your friends are offended by this, don’t pick up the phone next time they call. You have enough on your plate without trying to please them.
If your home itself is a trigger location – after all, many addicts use at home – you may need to consider moving. Obviously, not everyone has the luxury of just packing up and moving house, but it might be worthwhile to explore some options, such as staying with parents/friends/siblings for a while or doing a stint of house-sitting in a different part of town. This may seem drastic, but if the sight of your old living room brings on heavy cravings, it might be necessary, even just in the short term.
Go to your Meetings
Once you graduate from residential treatment the best way to keep your recovery momentum is to attend as many support group sessions as you feasibly can. Some recovering addicts attend daily meetings for months and even years in order to stay strong. It is a great way to stay in touch with your peer group, exchange coping strategies for everyday challenges and generally remember that you are not alone in this.
Many rehabilitation programs offer regular individual counselling sessions for as long as you feel you need them, which is a great way to supplement the group meetings and stay on track for long-term recovery. Loneliness and isolation are both powerful triggers that can lead to relapse; so keeping in touch and staying social with the right kind of crowd is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Now is the time to focus on getting yourself well in every possible way. Re-vamp your diet, schedule daily exercise, explore meditation and mindfulness practise (or continue on with practises you were taught in residential treatment), regularly check in with sober friends and recovery buddies and allow yourself to take pleasure in little things every day.
Note: this doesn’t mean you need to beat yourself up every time you don’t feel like going for a walk, eat a bag of chips or can’t bring yourself to do half an hour of breathing. Self-compassion is just as important as self-discipline when it comes to recovery.
Be Relapse Aware
Around half of all addicts in recovery will experience at least one relapse during their journey to long-term sobriety. While this is not ideal, it also does not spell the end of your recovery, it is simply another setback you have to overcome.
If your relapse is an isolated incident, simply pick up the phone once you’ve sobered up and call your counsellor, sponsor, recovery buddy, your mother, your best friend…anyone who is going to listen to you and offer support to get you through this rough patch. There is no need for shame, you are not the first person to have relapsed and you’re certainly not going to be the last.
Stick With It
Yes, recovery is hard. Yes, recovery can feel like a never-ending process. Yes, recovery can absolutely suck some days. But you need to stick with it. Every day you stay sober is a good day, even if it doesn’t feel great at the time. The fact that you entered rehab is proof of your strength and the fact that you get up every morning now, post-rehab, to face the world as best as you can mean you are just getting stronger. Take it one day at a time. You are doing amazing.
Queensland’s only private rehab centre with ACHS accreditation
We are proud to be the only private drug and alcohol addiction treatment centre in Queensland to be independantly accredited.