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What Happens When I Finish Rehab?

A recovering addict that is newly sober or just finishing rehab will have mixed emotions about the road that lies ahead of them.

As their friend or loved one, you need to understand that returning to a state of normality after rehab is a process on the journey through recovery. Recovery is a never-ending journey, that begins the moment an addict enters rehab.

This first step on the road to recovery is admitting that there is a problem and taking action to make a change. During this process, an addict learns coping strategies, takes personal inventory of themselves, and learns methods to follow for relapse prevention.

The process allows the individual to transition from treatment to recovery.

Addiction Is An Incurable Disease

When a person finishes rehab, they are not cured. A cure does not exist when referring to the disease of addiction. Treatment programs are designed to identify and address the underlying cause of addiction, such as self-medicating for mental health issues.

Once an individual has completed a treatment program, they integrate what they have learned into the real world. This includes preparation for relapse. Studies show that most people who relapse do so within the first 6-12 months of finishing rehab.

Relapse is part of recovery, and some people may relapse more than once.

It is not easy for your loved one to come to terms with their addiction. It is not something that they choose to face overnight. A person that is struggling with addiction will resist change in the beginning until they realise the dangers of their addiction and the need to free themselves from active addiction.

Some people will enter rehab with this mindset, however, treatment professionals are trained to alter this way of thinking and develop a treatment plan based on their needs.

This treatment plan will be used while they are in rehab and after they leave rehab.

Working The 12-Steps

Part of a treatment plan will include working the 12-steps of NA/AA. The 12-steps helps an addict to identify their problem, and undergo a spiritual awakening in response to this problem.

These 12-steps help people to develop routines and habits that are utilised once they finish rehab. As their loved one, you can help them by educating yourself on the cycle of addiction, recovery, and working the steps.


The Challenges Of Maintaining Sobriety

One of the things that are learned in rehab is to change people, places, and things to avoid relapsing. This means when leaving rehab to avoid associating with people you once got high with, avoid going to places that you frequented during your active addiction, and change the activities that you associate with using and abusing drugs.

The challenge of maintaining sobriety after leaving rehab is living and accepting life on life’s terms without using drugs. This requires an action plan or discharge treatment plan that outlines what their plans are after rehab and developing a support group they will provide lifelong support.


Attending Meetings Outside Of Rehab

The best way to form a support group is by attending meetings once rehab is complete. Support groups can be formed by networking NA/AA meetings. Through this network of supporters, an individual can obtain resources to complete volunteer work or to mentor others.

This helps fill a void that some addicts face when they leave rehab, which will motivate them to maintain their sobriety.


The Importance of Aftercare

Another intricate part of completing a treatment plan is attending aftercare. This can be compared to a transition period of leaving rehab and maintaining sobriety. It is set up prior to a person’s discharge from rehab and is part of a community-support group that is managed by individuals and organisations.

An individual’s needs, triggers, and issues determine the amount of aftercare needed to avoid a relapse. The purpose of aftercare is to assist with integrating the skills and strategies learned from rehab to live a sober life.

Making Changes In Life When You Finish Rehab

When a person finishes rehab, they should make changes in their life that involve a continuation of working the 12-steps. A good place to start is making a list of harm they inflicted on others and making amends with the individual(s).

When you finish rehab you want to make life changes that remove the possibility of using or relapsing.

This includes recognising the friends and family members that enabled you to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, by covering for you or allowing you to manipulate them.

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Recognising Relapse Warning Signs

When you were a full-time resident of a rehab centre, you learned a lot about yourself. This includes your reasons for using and what would cause you to use it. You also learned coping skills and strategies to use to recognise and manage relapse warning signs.

According to recent studies, 40-60 per cent of recovering addicts relapse at least once. When you finish rehab you are more vulnerable and susceptible to fall back into the old habits that triggered you to use.

Recognising these signs and identifying the thoughts and actions that lead to these signs is essential to avoiding a relapse.

Focusing On Recovery With A Strong Support System

Focusing on recovery after rehab helps when you have a strong support system. Not everyone has family and friends to help support them when they complete their treatment. These individuals find support through community support groups such as AA or NA.

Support groups provide an outlet for individuals in recovery to find a purpose in life by helping others.

Studies have shown that giving back to the community through volunteer work or mentoring others, gives addicts the chance to share their experiences and struggles with addiction.

This is an essential part of recovery because it fills a void that some recovering addicts have after leaving rehab.

As their friend or loved one, you need to set boundaries and avoid enabling them. Some family members will do this as a way to prevent confrontation about the addiction.

Remember it is not your fault if your loved one relapses, the best thing to do is to be their support system.

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