Anyone who’s sought treatment for addiction knows that the road to recovery doesn’t end with the completion of a formal rehab program.
Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey. And like any journey, there’s a likelihood of encountering bumps on the road ahead — including challenges to your sobriety.
Sobriety is a term that’s traditionally been used to describe full abstinence from all drugs, including alcohol.
However, for some, this term may apply specifically to abstinence from a former drug of abuse, such as alcohol or opioids.
Taking medication for opioid use disorder, for instance, does not necessarily exclude you from the sober community.
Sobriety can also be defined as a process of abstaining from a former drug of abuse and developing healthy habits to support your recovery.
Tips To Help You Stay Sober After Rehab
There are various challenges that can arise in life after addiction — from post-acute withdrawal symptoms after detox, to cravings, to periods of high stress — that can thwart recovery efforts.
That’s why having tips and resources for dealing with various situations can be helpful across all stages of recovery. Here’s what we recommend:
Know Your Triggers
The best way to help avoid a relapse to drug use in recovery is to be mindful of your main triggers. That is, any person, situation, or sensation that could prompt relapse.
Examples might include:
- protracted withdrawal (e.g. insomnia, anxiety, depression)
- going to a bar
- being around someone you did drugs with
- strong emotions (e.g. anger, sadness, frustration)
- physical drug cravings
- feeling lonely
Fighting urges to drink or return to drug use isn’t always easy. But knowing what could prompt that urge can give you a place to start.
Create A Coping Toolkit
Once you’re aware of your triggers, you can start creating a relapse prevention plan, or a toolkit of sorts, for how to combat those triggers when and if they do arise.
The more specific and relevant to your life, the better. While general coping strategies (like practicing self-care) may work for some, you’ll learn along the way what works best for you.
A coping toolkit might include:
- a list of coping strategies/activities
- a plan for coping with very specific situations (e.g. seeing someone you used to use drugs or alcohol with, attending a large family gathering)
- contact information for people in your support network
- a list of support hotlines/emergency numbers
- daily affirmations
- reminders for why you have chosen sobriety
- a list of booze-free activities
Set Goals For Yourself
For many, one of the greatest motivators in sobriety is rebuilding a life after addiction, or deciding what you want to do and going for it.
Setting goals for yourself — for instance, going back to school, finding a new job, traveling — can give you something to focus on beyond drugs.
This also gives you a reason to stay well. A reason to avoid the disorientation, poor concentration, and other effects of drug use that could obstruct your ability to achieve your goals.
Don’t Quit Your Substance Abuse Treatment Early
Making progress, and feeling good about where you are in your recovery, isn’t a green light to stop your treatment altogether.
Stopping treatment too early is a common mistake that could be detrimental to your recovery.
Generally, it’s best to stick to the treatment plan recommended by your outpatient treatment team, or treatment provider.
If you’re unsatisfied with your treatment, talk it out. Together, you can figure out a treatment plan that works for you.
Recognize Signs Of Relapse
Another way to help prevent relapse in recovery is to be aware of what the common signs of relapse might be for you, a family member, or other loved one in sobriety.
Warning signs of relapse could include:
- spending more time alone
- skipping counseling sessions or groups
- stopping medication suddenly
- behaving irresponsibly
- engaging in self-defeating behaviors
Addiction Recovery And Sobriety Resources
Many resources exist for people who are sober. Here is a short list of some popular resources for people in drug or alcohol addiction recovery:
Virtual Support Groups
Many organizations and communities offer online, as well as in-person recovery meetings, for people with a history of substance use disorder.
Attending meetings on a regular basis can help you remain accountable in your recovery, provide structure, and offer a safe space to seek support.
Popular sobriety support groups include:
In addition to attending meetings, there are also other spaces online that specifically describe themselves as wellness communities for people who are sober.
Some online sober communities (e.g. Tempest) and recovery apps require paying a membership fee to gain access to resources, while others are open to all at no cost (e.g. sober Reddit communities.)
Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The SAMHSA is a federal agency that offers a wide variety of resources, including a list of virtual recovery resources for people with addiction and their families.
Resources from SAMHSA include:
What Should I Do If I Relapse?
Relapse is not uncommon in recovery, especially if you’ve struggled with chronic addiction, or lack a strong support system at home.
If you do relapse, it’s best to tell someone as soon as possible.
Here at Bedrock Recovery Center, we offer a number of resources and options for people who relapse after completing a drug or alcohol rehab program.
Find Drug Addiction Treatment And Support Today
If you, a family member, or another loved one have relapsed after rehab and need additional support, call our treatment center to discover your options today.
Addiction — Rates and predictors of relapse after natural and treated remission from alcohol use disorders https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01310.x
Shatterproof — Addiction Resources https://www.shatterproof.org/learn/addiction-resources
U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Treatment and Recover https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery