Once you have completed a programme of detoxification and rehabilitation and it is time to head back to the ‘real’ world, you may be feeling slightly apprehensive about what lies ahead. You have probably been told by your counsellors or therapists to get involved in a fellowship support programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous or similar, but there are many other things to think about while maintaining your sobriety on the outside.
You need to remember that sobriety is something that you will have to work on for the rest of your life. Addiction is an illness that cannot be cured; you can keep it at bay, but you have to work at this. How you handle the first few weeks and months of sobriety can be the difference between staying sober for the rest of your life or heading back on the downward spiral towards addiction once more.
It may be necessary for you to have follow-up treatment with a professional counsellor once you leave rehab, to strengthen your recovery. These sessions will help you to ease back into normal life and will give you support in terms of dealing with issues that could threaten your sobriety. You may also need to have additional counselling such as family therapy or marriage counselling.
Relapse prevention is an essential part of sobriety, and it is important that you have a plan in place to help you avoid a relapse. You need to know what your triggers are and then work out a plan to avoid them. This will mean staying away from certain places and people. There may also be some activities that you will have to stop; for example if you always headed to the pub after going to watch your local football team, try to avoid the football until you feel stronger in your recovery.
Now that you are back living at home, there may be some significant problems that need to be addressed. It is likely that some of your relationships were damaged by your addiction so you will need to think about what you can do to rebuild trust. This may take time, and in the early days, much of your focus has to be on your recovery. Let your loved ones know that you plan to do everything in your power to make things right, but ask them to be patient with you.
Filling Your Free Time
In the very early days of recovery, you will likely spend a lot of time visiting counsellors or attending fellowship support group meetings. This means you will have very little free time. However, once you are further along in your recovery, you may stop visiting your counsellor and will reduce the number of meetings you attend. So what will you do with all this free time? If you are not working, you may be thinking about what to do now that you are no longer drinking or taking drugs.
If this is the case, it is a good idea to look into taking up a hobby or partake in other activities. Think about starting something new that will keep you busy and may allow you to make new friends. Join a gym or a sports club, or sign up for some education classes in your local college and learn a new skill.
Once you leave rehab, it is important to address any health concerns you may have. Alcohol and drugs can cause a lot of damage to physical and mental health, so it is important to visit your doctor as soon as possible. You may experience a number of minor health issues in the early days, most of which are related to the addiction. However, if you are particularly worried, seek medical advice as soon as possible.