young woman thinking on beach

Useful Tips on What to do After Substance Abuse Rehab

Leaving substance abuse rehab can be incredibly daunting, and many recovering addicts find the prospect of re-entering the normal world frightening. What are you supposed to do after rehab? You can’t go back to drugs or alcohol, but you also won’t simply be able to go back to the same life you had before your addiction. What you can do is continue to focus on recovering in the following ways:

Group Therapy

For anyone who has struggled with a substance abuse problem in the past, group therapy is often the most beneficial way to avoid relapse and can be found in different places and within different groups. One way to gather with like-minded individuals who have had similar experiences and ease into the routine of every-day life is by attending an outpatient rehab program, which often follows on seamlessly from inpatient treatment. Other variations of group therapy are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings that can be found in local community centers.

One of the most important aspects of group therapy is that it helps you realize that you are not alone. During inpatient rehab, an addict will be surrounded by other people who have committed themselves to rehab in an isolated environment, however upon completing the rehabilitation process an addict can feel lonely, thrust back into a world where the majority of people have not experienced what he or she has been through. Group therapy then allows this person to connect with people who are also recovering, and thus decreases feelings of isolation and alienation.

Another appealing aspect of group therapy is that it encourages both the giving and receiving of support. Unlike individual therapy, where a person is listened to and given advice from one other person, group therapy allows all members to contribute to the healing process. If one person is feeling lonely or unsupported, other members can take turns making him or her feel welcomed and affirmed. The positive, accepting atmosphere allows members to relax and feel like they belong. They are then able to carry the support of the group with them in their daily lives, making them more confident and accepting of themselves. Providing support to others will also encourage social skills and allow members to learn how to engage with other people again.

The 12-Step Program

As the name suggests, the 12-step program is a dozen ‘steps’ that a recovering addict can focus on completing after leaving rehab. These steps aim to help addicts re-integrate themselves into society by making amends, accepting that they cannot control their addiction, and recognizing a higher power that can help restore their sanity. The program is about self-help; it doesn’t promote any quick fixes to recovery, can’t be used as a scapegoat, and won’t help unless you want it to. In essence, the 12-step program is a structured way for recovering addicts to re-learn how to live life without drugs or alcohol while simultaneously providing a template on how to become personally responsible for your addictions, as well as become more in-tune with your feelings and emotions.

Mentors and Sponsors

Unlike group therapy, the mentor-sponsor relationship is a personalized relationship between two recovering drug addicts: one who has remained clean and sober for a long period of time, and one who has just started their recovery journey. A sponsor is a personalized guide, someone who a newly recovering drug addict can call for assistance at any time, day or night, when they feel tempted to relapse. They are able to provide insightful advice and help without judgment and can be an invaluable support system, especially for people who do not have anyone else to talk to. Plus, once you’ve been around the block long enough, you yourself could even become a mentor to someone in the same position you where in and pay it forward.

If your interested in learning more about what happens after leaving rehab, contact one of our professional admissions counselors to help answer your questions.