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7 Things You Should Do When You Leave Rehab

It is often said, that when it comes to an addiction, “recovery is a lifelong process”. Just because you might have completed an addiction treatment programme does not mean that is the end of your recovery. Rather, this is just the beginning.

In our experience, we have seen some people leaving our rehab facility with conflicted emotions and a fear of being back in the world. Others were excited and eager to start their life over. Regardless of what a person might be feeling, rehabs need to place an emphasis on the importance of adhering to an aftercare programme.

Most drug and alcohol rehab programmes  are between 28 and 90 days. Siam Rehab will take clients up to a year when appropriate. During the time in an inpatient programme patients will have structure, security, and 24-7 care. Outside of rehab, a person will have to adjust to daily life and rely largely on the tools they learned during treatment. The rehab you attended should have taught you a broad range of tools and techniques that can help you adjust to life after rehab.  Some of the addiction recovery techniques Siam Rehab encourage include the following:

1: Create a Post- Treatment, Aftercare Plan

Whether you are moving to an outpatient programme or returning home after an inpatient programme. you should create a practical plan that helps you to maintain your sobriety. Generally, this plan will be created with the guidance of your counsellor, therapist, or case manager. Some elements that may be included in the plan are:

  • How you will practice a healthy lifestyle?
  • Who you can connect with for support?
  • Where you can receive continued healthcare, including counselling?
  • How you will manage a situation that could trigger a relapse?

Many private drug rehabs offer aftercare programmes. This may also be known as a recovery community, alumni services or continued care. Aftercare programmes will be overseen by trained addiction specialists and typically include:

  • Individual counselling
  • Group therapy (including online sessions)
  • Medication
  • Recovery checkups (online, by phone, or in person)
  • Support groups
  • Resources for housing, legal issues, or employment
  • + more

2: Locate a Support Group

Many drug and alcohol rehabs will incorporate a recovery support group of some kind. The most popular ones include, SMART RECOVERYAlcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. AA and NA groups are based on the 12 Steps and encourage a strong fellowship between their peers. SMART Recovery is a newer more evidence based approach still using groups and a sober social network. 

Following rehab, it might be tempting to skip these meetings in lieu of staying at home or spending time with loved ones. However, these groups are a vital source of ongoing support. You will be able to give and receive advice, learn more about your addiction, and enjoy sober outings (as scheduled by the group).

3: Make Sober Friends

Many addictions begin, or worsen, through peer pressure and the influence of others. If you have built friendships around drinking or using drugs, it will be in your best interest to break off the relationship. Regardless of how difficult this might be, your life may depend on it. After rehab, look for sober friends who will encourage your sobriety and help you to stay on the path of recovery.

4: Take Care of Your Mental Health

Leaving a drug and alcohol rehab and returning to your home can cause stress, confusion, and worry. This is common for people in early recovery. It is important to express gratitude in your daily routine, and avoid focusing on things that are negative or stress you out. Remember, a large part of suffering comes from our own imagination. So, if you find yourself thinking too much about negative things or ideas, take a deep breath and focus on something that is positive (i.e. the sun, a child, a pet, a flower, a funny moment, etc.)

5: Exercise Everyday

Exercise and meditation are also important and have a key role in your well being and overall addiction recovery. Take time everyday to focus on your breath. This will help to reduce any noise in your head. Regular exercise can reduce your anxiety or feelings of depression. Be sure to take at least 30 minutes everyday for some kind of exercise. If you feel overwhelmed, it may be a good idea to talk with your therapist or a sober support buddy.

6: Try New Activities and Hobbies

While in active addiction many people will give up on hobbies and activities that they use to enjoy and love. Now that you are sober, think back, before the drugs or alcohol what did you love to do? Did you love running, playing music, golf, whatever you use to love to do. Can’t think of anything? Go try new things and find something you love, just try and think of activities that don’t mix well with drugs or alcohol.

7: Help Others

You might have heard of the expression “To help yourself, you must help others.” Research suggests helping others is an integral part of the recovery process. After going to a drug and alcohol rehab you should make an effort to be of service.

Some ways you can do this, include:

  • Share your experiences, wisdom, encouragement, and vulnerability with other addicts
  • Volunteer at an animal shelter
  • Visit elders at a nursing home facility
  • Mentor children who have limited attention in their home life
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Talk about your addiction recovery with others who may relate to your own experience

Acts of kindness, in the form of helping others, cultivates a sense of purpose and improves self esteem. If you don’t know where to begin, you can contact your local SMART Recovery, NA or AA Group, a religious organisation, such as a church or temple, or your community social services centre.

7 things to do after rehab


Congratulations on being clean and sober, it is easy to stay off drugs and alcohol in an inpatient rehab. The real work starts now that you are out of the 24/7 safe environment. 

It is ok to be afraid and worried, a little bit of fear is a good thing since you don’t want to go back to where you were before inpatient rehab. 

But remember you are clean and sober now, you are not physically dependant on drugs or alcohol, you can choose to stay clean or you can choose to use. Your entire new life is waiting for you if you decide to stay abstinent. Go live it!

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