Leaving rehab can be tough for a number of reasons. It is likely that you entered rehab at your lowest point, and going back out into the world without the protective blanket of your addiction can feel terrifying. You are also likely to have a lot of people and situations outside of rehab that you associate with using, meaning that you might not feel very hopeful about staying sober.
However, just in taking the step to go through rehab you have already done the most difficult part of escaping your addiction. With the right support behind you, you’ll find it a lot easier to stay sober after everything that you have been through – but here are some tips to help you along the way.
Get as much exercise as you can
In the early days after rehab you might be feeling quite drained and think that exercise is the last thing that you want to do. However, this is exactly why you should start getting some exercise.
Even just a relaxed, low impact exercise gets your heart pumping and oxygen flowing into your lungs, gently detoxifying your body and getting your circulation going. Exercise also helps your body to release serotonin and dopamine – two chemicals which may well have been affected by drinking or taking drugs.
Finally, exercise is proven to help curb your impulse to drink or take drugs, and is often suggested to those concerned about relapse. If you don’t feel that you are strong enough for high-impact exercise, you could consider a quick walk, doing gentle yoga or even swimming to get your body moving again.
Make healthy relationships
One of the biggest hurdles to get past once you are sober is how to socialise effectively again. It is more than likely that during the worst of your addiction, drinking took over the majority of your time, and the people that you associated with were part of this. Although it is obvious that you would need to cut off people who are simply drinking buddies or dealers, you might also want to think carefully about the other people in your life.
You may find that you need to cut off friends with whom you had a co-dependent relationship, as it is important for you to break out on your own and stay strong at this point. There are likely to have been a number of enablers in your life, even without them realising it themselves, who won’t have your best interests at heart now you are sober.
Try to find meetings in your town where you can meet other people coming out of addictions, if you are feeling lonely and need to talk. Meanwhile hobbies and exercise classes are a great way to meet people away from the pub.
Stop beating yourself up
One of the biggest triggers for drinking or taking drugs is feelings of guilt and shame over your behaviour in the past. If you are reminded of this once you are out of rehab this could send you straight back into the arms of your addiction.
Try to remember that you were not well when you were struggling with your addiction, and that your behaviour then does not reflect the way that you are behaving now. Allow people from your past to forgive you, and believe them when they say that they do.
Take one day at a time
On leaving rehab it is easy to say that you are completely prepared for a life of sobriety, but when put into practice this can seem utterly overwhelming. It is the scale of this undertaking that might send you straight back to your addiction so try to just take it one day at a time.
Decide each morning that you will not drink today, and leave tomorrow’s choices up to your future self. This way every single sober day is a small victory, making you feel that much more rewarded for your choices.
Go back to work
It is likely that during the worst of your addiction you either quit your job or was fired. This may mean that you have burned some bridges and feel unsure about how to get back to work.
However, going back to work is one of the best things that you can do for yourself after leaving rehab, helping you to get back on top of your finances, keeping you busy and making you feel connected to a new goal and achievements that can help you to carve out your new life.
You could return to your old employer and see if they would take you back, but why not take this opportunity to try out a new career path? You could choose to retrain in something that you have always wanted to do, and use this to anchor yourself to your new life even more strongly.
Be wary of new hobbies
Whilst new activities in your life are a fantastic way to take back control and fill up all the time you have now that you are not drinking or taking drugs, it is a common problem for addicts to replace one addiction with another. When you are choosing a new hobby, try to make sure that you stick to practicing it only a few days a week, and don’t start spending excessive time or money on it.
Although it is tempting to just try to fill your time, and it feels healthier to be doing something to take your mind off of drinking, people often find that such compulsive behaviour leads to other issues in the future.
Remember that you are not a statistic
Reading about alcohol and drug addiction in order to understand yourself and how you have gotten to where you are absolutely makes sense. But finding out discouraging statistics which suggest that you are likely to relapse or worse can put you under a lot of stress.
As it is most often stress which is the major contributing factor to relapse, obviously this is a dangerous path to go down. Remember your choices are your own and you are completely in control of your destiny, so forget about meaningless statistics and focus on your personal journey to sobriety.
At Cassiobury Court you are not left on your own after you leave the centre. A 12-month aftercare service provides you with a detailed recovery plan, which is tailored to your own needs and takes into account your fears and worries, as well as giving you access to trained staff who you can talk to whenever you need to.
We can be reached on 01923 369161 or you can text HELP to 83222 to find out more about the services we offer, and how you can make the best possible progress in your recovery.