Rehab is challenging for someone who is letting go of an addiction and a former way of life; but what is often even more challenging is the first few weeks after rehab. In order to successfully cope after rehab, the person in recovery must remember that they are not alone. There are people who can help them stay away from their old addiction and there are strategies they can use to become stronger within.
Challenges After Rehab
Rehab provides people with skills, strategies, strength and hope. When people leave rehab, they will be confronted with many of the same problems as when they went in. If they had financial troubles before, they will still have them. If they had relationship problems before, they will still need healing. It may feel overwhelming to some people to go from a world of rehab support in their recovery and re-enter the world from where they had started their addiction. The temptations they faced before will still be out there.
Recovering addicts will also have to face the family and friends whom they hurt with their addiction. Some will be supportive and grateful for the person’s recovery, yet others will still be hurting and may not offer any trust in that person or faith that the person has recovered.
Taking Coping Strategies Back Into the Real World
After rehab, a person must take responsibility to use the skills and strategies he or she learned in order to avoid relapse. Experts offer some advice for how to address those challenges after rehab.
- Use the support groups and teams offered by rehab specialists or find a sponsor that can give support and strength in times of need.
- Know what situations may trigger relapse and prepare strategies ahead of time. Dr. Seth Meyers says to remember the acronym, HALT. By remembering H (Hungry), A (Angry), L (Lonely), T (Tired) a person may better avoid these four feelings that research links to relapse.
- Build a network of friends who are in recovery, too. Meet with these friends either in person or anonymously in networks like Facebook.
- Find a purpose and meaning in life. Be mindful of the inner person beyond the addiction.
- Repair broken relationships.
- Find the inner child—let life be fun again. Go sledding, enjoy cartoons, and do whatever other activities bring back joyful, carefree times and memories. No matter the age of a person, they can still feel the joy of childhood.
Experts urge those who are going through rehab to use the strategies that rehab provides them. Knowledge, support from a sponsor, preparation and determination will help provide a person with the weapons and armor they may need to fight off relapse and rejoice in a new beginning.