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Healing, Strengthening, and Advancing the Lives of LGBTQ People Seeking Recovery

What Does Life After Drug Rehab Treatment Look Like?

Life after drug treatment

Congratulations on completing your treatment program! Whether it was 30, 60, or 90 days, you’ve taken a huge step toward overcoming your substance use and addressing your mental health challenges. 

As the confetti settles, it’s important to consider what lies ahead. Staying sober is a lifelong goal you work towards one day at a time. Even if you’re doing well, you’ll still get cravings, feel triggered, and yearn for your old life sometimes. Remember, these feelings are normal. It’s how you handle them that matters.

This article will explore what to expect as you transition into life after drug rehab, as well as provide actionable tips for a smoother experience.

Learn about Southern California’s premier LGBTQ addiction treatment program by calling 888.903.9898. 

Continuing Care: The Lifeline to Recovery

We’ve got good news and bad news. 

The bad news is that substance cravings and triggers, such as work stress, financial worries, and difficult emotions, don’t magically disappear after rehab. 

The good news is that continuing care provides the tools and guidance needed to navigate these challenges and prevent relapses.

Not only does continuing care help you deal with triggers and keep you sober, but connecting with other people who understand your experience is a powerful way to combat isolation. 

Moreover, seeing other people succeed in recovery will give you the hope and motivation you need to overcome tough moments. 

There’s no right or wrong way to approach continuing care. What matters is finding a type of support that works for you and staying consistent with it. 

Some examples of continuing care include:

Individual or group therapy: Regular sessions with a licensed therapist or counselor, either one-on-one or in a group setting, to address ongoing mental health and addiction issues. These sessions provide personalized support, coping strategies, and a safe space to discuss challenges.

12-step meetings: Structured meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) keep you accountable and provide a community of peers with similar experiences.  

Support groups: Groups tailored to specific populations or experiences, such as grief support, LGBTQ support, or groups for veterans. These provide a sense of belonging and understanding among members with similar life challenges.

Sober living homes:  A supportive drug-free environment that helps you gently transition from rehab to the real world. These residences provide structure, peer support, and a safe space to develop independence while maintaining sobriety.

Alumni programs: Treatment centers keep graduates connected through regular events, support meetings, and ongoing communication. They help maintain a sense of community and offer continuous encouragement and resources for staying sober.

Developing New Coping Strategies: Tools for Resilience

Developing coping strategies is an essential part of your continuing care program, but because it’s highly individual, it’s also a skill you should practice independently. By identifying the best strategies for you and knowing when to use them, you’ll enhance your ability to stay sober, regardless of life’s challenges.

There are as many coping strategies as there are people, but some of the most common ones include:

Identifying triggers: Recognize places, situations, or people that may lead to cravings. Develop a plan for dealing with them, whether that means making up an excuse to leave or avoiding them altogether. 

Mindfulness and meditation: These practices help reduce anxiety, improve emotional regulation, and enhance overall well-being by teaching you to live in the present moment. 

Exercise: Moving your body releases endorphins, which can help reduce stress, manage cravings, and improve mental clarity.

Journaling: Write about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences to gain insight into your emotions and track your progress.

Reach out: Connect with supportive friends, family members, or peers when you’re feeling vulnerable.

Building a New Social Life: Reconnecting and Thriving

If addiction is marked by spending time with people who enabled your substance use, then recovery is about reconnecting with those who support your sobriety and forming new, healthy friendships.

We know leaving old friendships behind or distancing yourself from a partner or spouse is challenging. However, by exploring new hobbies and activities, you stay busy and build a fulfilling, sober life surrounded by people who truly care about your well-being.

Here are some activity ideas:

Fitness classes: Physical activity boosts your mood and provides a structured environment where you can form new, healthy relationships. Head to yoga, join a group hike, or dust off your high school basketball skills to take advantage of these benefits. 

Volunteering: Giving back to the community helps others and gives you a sense of purpose. It’s also a great opportunity to connect with people who share your values.

Art or music groups: Not only are creative pursuits an opportunity to express ourselves, but they also allow us to cope with complex thoughts and emotions. This can be particularly beneficial in alleviating anxiety, stress, and depression.

Gardening: Tending to plants is an opportunity to spend time in nature and practice mindfulness. 

Understanding Relapse: It’s Normal, Not a Failure

Relapsing, especially after substance abuse treatment, is highly stigmatized. It’s unfairly seen as a sign of failure, a weakness, or an unwillingness to commit to recovery. But nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth is that addiction is a tough opponent, and overcoming it goes beyond a single treatment program.

Don’t believe it? 

Studies indicate that more than two-thirds of people relapse within weeks or months of starting treatment. That number goes up to 85% within a year. 

As the statistics show, it’s far more likely to relapse than not. Knowing that, try to view relapse as a part of the recovery process, rather than a reason to call it quits. With this new perspective, you can focus on learning from it and strengthen your recovery. 

Some tips for managing relapse include:

Practice self-compassion: Beating yourself up won’t change what happened. Forgive yourself, think about what you’d like to do differently, and move on. 

Get help: Ideally, you reach out to someone before relapsing, but if not, contact your therapist and loved ones as soon as possible. 

Attend more meetings: Whether you’ve let your attendance slip or just need extra support, adding an extra meeting to your weekly schedule could make the difference when getting through a relapse. 

Do less: This one is easier said than done, but do what you can to clear your schedule so you have more time and energy to focus on your recovery. That could look like handing off work projects to colleagues, asking your parents to babysit, or ordering ready-made meals instead of cooking. 

Tap into your spirituality: Whether you enjoy praying, meditating, or spending time in nature, reflecting on the bigger picture helps you manage difficult emotions.  

La Fuente: Your Partner in Lifelong Sobriety

Life after drug rehab treatment is full of highs and lows. Some days, you’ll be celebrating your sobriety and feeling like nothing can stop you, other days, you’ll feel defeated and hopeless. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to go through sobriety alone. At La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, we pride ourselves on supporting graduates long after they finish our programs. 

One way we help graduates is through our sober living program. Located in Southern California, our LGBTQ sober living house is a structured, supportive drug-free environment where recent graduates attend therapy, get life skills training, and experiment with healing practices like yoga and meditation. 

We also offer support through our alumni program. Through this program, graduates attend dinners, volunteer, and participate in educational workshops. By participating, they build a sober support network and practice the life skills they learned in treatment.

Call 888.903.9898 to learn more about these programs and more.

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