How to Get Back into Regular Life after Drug and Alcohol Rehab

You just ended your time at drug and alcohol rehab. You’re incredibly proud of yourself. For the first time in months or maybe even years, you’re sober again. You feel like yourself, and you feel like anything is possible.

Now is a very crucial time in your life, since now is the time you get back to your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The choices you make next can determine whether or not you’ll stay sober. If you fall back with the old crowd and get up to the same dangerous activities, you’re probably going to relapse at some point. If you take this time to start your life over, though, you could enjoy the sober life you’ve always wanted.

How do you prioritize your sobriety right out of rehab? Here are some tips for readjusting to the life you once knew, but free of drugs and/or alcohol.

  1. Decide what YOU want out of life – Before rehab, you were a slave to the substance you were addicted to. You planned your whole day around getting your next fix. Now that you don’t have drugs and alcohol to focus on, it’s time to get back to what matters. Of course, what that is will vary. Maybe you lost your job because of your addiction and you want to get your career back on track. Perhaps you want to settle down and start a family. Use this time to carve out your own life.
  2. Disassociate from shady characters – However, if you’re still hanging around with other drug users or dealers, or if you’re sitting in a bar with other alcoholics, nothing much will really change. You need to be free of substances and those who use them right now. Say goodbye to these people and don’t look back.
  3. Reconnect with positive influences – Instead of dwelling on those lost friendships, spend time with the people in your life who really matter. It’s likely you’ve pushed them away in the throes of your addiction out of shame, anger, or a combination of both. Get to know your loved ones again, like a spouse, parents, siblings, and even children. If you damaged these relationships during your addiction, take the necessary time to repair them.
  4. Take care of your body and mind – You feel great after finally kicking your substance abuse habit, but that exhilaration will eventually wear off. You need to have a plan for staying healthy long-term. Set a regular bedtime and wake-up time each day. Eat nutritiously when possible. Don’t skip meals. Exercise when you can. This doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous activity; yoga or a simple walk around the block will do it.

Enrich your mind. Take up your old hobbies again and find new ones. Meditate daily. Reflect on what you have in your life and what you want. Consider starting a journal. Always be grateful.

  1. Deal with pressure and stress healthily – Inevitably, it won’t be smooth sailing every day. You will have stressors in your life and you will have to deal with these. Your first inclination is probably to turn to the substance of your choice, as this was your coping mechanism before. However, you have to train your body and your mind differently.

Exercise is a great means of reducing stress, so if you’re already active, you may notice your pressures don’t seem so insurmountable. Meditation is also a great stress-buster. Make sure you can rely on your circle of supporters-those both at the rehab center and in your everyday life-if you feel like you’re going to make a bad decision. Consider attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or group sessions so you’re held accountable. Most importantly, remember to take everything one day at a time. Sobriety will be a lot more manageable that way.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.