What Happens After I Leave Treatment?

Completing your rehab program after battling addiction is a significant accomplishment, and one you should be proud of. But as the day of reentry approaches, every rehab graduate has the same question – “What now?”

It’s important to remember that recovery doen’t end when you leave rehab. Sobriety is a lifelong journey, and one that you have to consciously choose over and over, using the tools you were given in treatment. It’s normal to be anxious when you leave treatment, but preparing yourself for the transition and seeking support will help you prevent any relapses.

Use What You Learned During Treatment

We know that when you first enter treatment, it’s difficult to imagine your life addiction-free. When your stay is over and you leave rehab, your future looks different. This can be exciting and motivating and exhilarating – but it can also be overwhelming, confusing, and scary. It’s especially difficult to picture a new life if you’re returning to the same family situation you were facing previously.

Take a deep breath and remember that being overwhelmed is completely normal. Throughout your time in recovery, you’ll be taught valuable coping skills for triggering or stressful situations – skills that you’ll likely have ample opportunity to practice and strengthen in the first few weeks after rehab. While your routine may be different outside of the treatment center, the skills you developed still apply.

The most important way you can keep yourself centered and away from relapse is to start applying the tools you’ve gained right away. Whether it’s journaling, meditation, deep breathing, distraction, or other CBT exercises, start implementing them before you’re in the middle of a crisis. Relapses are most common withing the first six months after treatment, so having those coping mechanisms already in place can help keep you on track.

And remember – don’t be too hard on yourself. Cravings and stressors are common and to be expected. Having a bad day – or even a bad week – doesn’t mean that your recovery wasn’t successful. As long as you’re sticking to the plan and using your new tools, you’ll be okay.

Focus On Your Mental Health

As you transition out of rehab, it is vital that you practice self-care. Maintaining your mental health takes effort every day, but it sets you up for success in the long term. Practice personal hygiene, do soothing activities that you enjoy, eat well, drink a lot of water, and get outside when its possible. All of these things are proven to counteract depression and anxiety and give your mental health a boost.

As you make these positive life changes, you’ll find that you hit a groove. This is your new behaviors solidifying into habit. Once you’ve replaced negative habits with positive ones, it becomes a lot easier to stay sober and focus on other areas of your life.

Treatment Post Rehab

Remember, leaving rehab doesn’t mean that your treatment is over. Going from full-time supervision and treatment to being absolutely on your own can be jarring. That’s why we recommend planning out your post-rehab care plan. Talk to your treatment team about the options that are available and would be most helpful to you.

12-step programs like AA are an excellent form of support for many recovering addicts. Aside from the philosophy, having a support group of people that understand what you’re going through can be extremely beneficial. If you don’t like the feel of the 12-step programs, ask your treatment providers about other support grous in your area. Every community has at least one.

There are also intensive outpatient programs available for some patients. These programs can help you transition back into your normal life. It’s a slower process, but many people prefer this to the culture shock of being thrown back into their everyday lives. These part-time programs typically involve a few days of treatment per week. Outpatient programs were developed to help you practice coping skills in the real word while still having regular support from your treatment team to fall back on.

Individual therapy is also an excellent option post-rehab. Choose a therapist who has addiction-specific specialties to ensure that you’re getting the care that you need. If you have any mental health struggles outside of addiction, seeing a mental health professional can help you keep those issues under control and lessen the likelihood that they’ll trigger a relapse.

Recovery is a journey that looks different for everyone. If you have questions about your recovery journey after you leave rehab, contact Palmetto. We’re happy to schedule a consultation and discuss your long-term treatment and recovery options.