Re-entering society after rehab as a sober person can be challenging in many ways. Not only is maintaining your sobriety difficult, but you may also be faced with employment issues, a lack of education or professional skills, social isolation, financial problems, or a need for safe, sober housing.
All of these challenges can be very overwhelming, but there are several steps you can take after completing IOP to ensure your success in recovery. If you’ve recently completed IOP, here are eight important steps to take that will help you to establish a secure and healthy life in recovery.
- Find a safe and sober living environment.
One of the best ways you can maintain your sobriety after rehab is to make sure you have a safe and sober place to live. If you are surrounded by alcohol, drugs, or people who use regularly, you are much more likely to relapse and fall right back into your old ways of addiction. On the other hand, if you live in a healthy environment alongside people who support your recovery, you are much more likely to succeed in sobriety. A sober living home can provide a supportive, sober, and safe living environment as you transition to independent life after rehab.
- Follow a plan for continued treatment.
Drug rehab is just the start of a new life in recovery. After IOP, your counselors or addiction treatment specialists will likely provide recommendations for ongoing care. Depending on your needs, financial ability, and circumstances, you may choose to enroll in a sober living program, aftercare, and/or a personal monitoring program. All of these programs are designed to help you continue a lifestyle of sobriety and enhance your recovery with continued support, opportunities for personal growth, and positive interactions with sober peers.
- Make a plan for relapse.
Relapse happens and sometimes it’s just a part of the recovery process. After IOP, it’s important to establish and follow a plan of action so you know exactly what to do after a relapse. Often, your treatment team will help you create a relapse prevention plan before you even leave rehab, but it’s helpful to review it again with your counselor, AA sponsor, or therapist once you’ve completed IOP. This process can also help you recognize the signs of relapse early and reach out for help before it happens.
- Attend a community support group regularly.
Regularly attending local recovery meetings after completing IOP is a great way to bridge the gap from rehab to independent sober living. Twelve-step fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), CA (Cocaine Anonymous), and others are located all over the country and can be easily found via an internet search. There are also many other types of support groups that you can attend, such as Smart Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, Women for Sobriety (WFS), Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS), and LifeRing Secular Recovery, among others.
- Avoid people, places, and things that trigger cravings.
After the “pink cloud” phase of early recovery has worn off, you may find that you still struggle with cravings for drugs or alcohol. This is also a normal part of recovery and will fade with time. However, avoiding any people, places, or things that trigger cravings for drugs or alcohol is wise. While you may not need to be this cautious forever, it’s a good idea to maintain some distance from those things while you are still in the early stages of recovery and have less experience being sober.
- Set personal and professional goals and start chasing them.
If your only goal in life is to stay sober, you may burn out quickly. Finding fulfillment, happiness, and joy in other things can help you find meaning in life and re-establish your identity as a sober person. For example, if you liked to play soccer before you started using, try getting back into it with a community league or meet up regularly with other sober friends who also like to play. Or, you can try new activities you haven’t previously experienced to develop new hobbies and interests that will keep you busy.
Volunteering in recovery is an excellent way to give back to your community and become an active, contributing member of society. It also provides a lot of great personal benefits and works to help you maintain your sobriety. Research has proven that engaging in helping behaviors like volunteering improves your mood and makes you feel happier.1,2 It also decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety, improves your overall quality of life, and provides a rewarding way for you to connect with other like-minded people.3,4
- Take steps to establish a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Developing a healthy routine can help you to prevent relapse and maintain a sense of balance in your life, even as you navigate the murky waters of a new life in recovery. After IOP, you can establish a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, going to bed at the same time every night and maintaining a bedtime routine, eating healthy and nutritious foods, engaging in sober social activities, and making time for personal reflection, whether that be journaling, meditating, or praying.
Making the transition from rehab to independent life can be hard, but many treatment programs provide resources and assistance to make the process easier. If you’d like to learn more about recovery support services, sober living programs, and/or personal monitoring services, call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today for more information.