Coming home from rehab isn’t an easy transition. After rehab, here are some simple steps to take to promote success in recovery.
At Workit Health, we offer online addiction treatment that many people choose instead of going to inpatient rehab. So a lot of our members don’t go away from home to get sober. But each person’s path to recovery looks different, just like addiction does, and people come to our online treatment programs in many different ways. Many join our program to help them stay on track after rehab.
Leaving rehab and entering the real world again can feel shocking, especially when you feel very raw in early sobriety.
How can you set yourself up for success and stay on track in those early days after leaving treatment?
1. Ditch your bait.
At Workit Health, we call all the paraphernalia that was a normal part of your addiction “bait.” We recommend tossing it all as soon as you get home. This means any extra drugs (duh), mirrors, pipes, old baggies, needles, or stash kits for those who used drugs, all of the bottles, special glasses (shot glasses, wine glasses, beer glasses, etc.), barware, and mixers for those who used alcohol.
If you can, contact someone and have them get rid of it all with you. Just seeing the stuff you used to get high or drunk can be enough to make you want to use, so it’s safest to have backup.
Not sure if you’re ready to ditch your bait? Here’s an exercise unlocked from the Workit program, called Mindset Lockdown, about ditching not only your bait, but also all the old mindsets that go along with it.
2. Plan your days.
One thing you’ll discover in early recovery is that drinking, drugging, and practicing other addictive behaviors took up a ton of your time.
In recovery, you might suddenly find yourself with free time. If you have small children or weren’t able to take too much time off work, this free time might come as a luxury. But if you’re not used to relaxing sober, free time can feel uncomfortable and make you antsy.
Building a schedule for your unstructured days can help with this. It can be as simple as waking and going to sleep at the same time each day, and aiming to hit the gym at 4pm some days and hit up an online meeting or 12-step meeting at 4pm on other days.
If you lost your job or aren’t currently working, look into volunteering. This can give you some experience, fill your time, and may even provide a future recommendation on your resume to help you get back into the workforce.
Daunted by downtime? Check out my video explaining how I began to appreciate downtime in early recovery:
3. Focus on self-care.
When we’re using, our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social needs are totally turned off. We act like all of our needs are met by a drug or booze. That’s a lot of unmet needs to tend to once we’re sober.
For me, the hardest part about early recovery was learning how to identify my own basic needs and tend to them. Even just feeling basic emotions was strange and foreign, as I was used to being high and numb all the time. Things like eating healthy, talking to people when I was lonely, or exercising were totally foreign ideas.
Spend some time focusing on getting your basic physical needs met, and then move out from there to the rest of the needs that might not have been met during addiction.
4. Find other ways to soothe yourself.
Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or hanging out with supportive friends, you need to find a solution to life’s uncomfortable moments and a healthy way to blow off steam in recovery.
There will be bad days and rough times. What matters most is that you find healthy coping skills you can turn to when you’re feeling down, as well as when you’re feeling good.
It will be easier to turn towards healthy behaviors rather than your old, addictive behaviors in bad times if you start to make this new stuff into habit. This means picking up the phone and calling someone just to say hi and ask how they’re doing, or beginning to take a walk every day. Find what feels right for you.
Not sure about meditation? Try this quick exercise on mindfulness, unlocked from the Workit program: Into Breathwork.
Welcome home. It’s a beautiful day to begin the rest of your life. Appreciate the little things, and roll with the big stuff. Hopefully, these four tips set you well on your way to success in recovery.