What to Expect During Your First Year After Rehab
Unfortunately, even in this day and age, addiction is still as present as ever. Many people around the globe are struggling with this awful disease. Thankfully, there is a way to get better, but it is not easy. The first and crucial step that people take is acknowledging the problem and going to rehab. There, they face their addiction head-on and start taking necessary measures to heal. While this step is vital to a person's recovery, you must remember that it is just one part of the journey. Because the battle against addiction continues when you leave the facility you have been staying in. It's a continuation of your healing journey and can be very challenging. So today, we will talk about everything that can happen in your first year after rehab.
You may feel like you have completely recovered
One of the common mistakes people make after leaving rehab is thinking that their recovery journey is over. It's easy to fall into that trap and feel overconfident. But the reality is much different. Even after you leave rehab, you must keep paying attention and adhere to the rules and lessons you learned while inside. You shouldn't put yourself in situations where you will be tempted to relapse. You may think you can handle hanging out with your old friends who are still addicted to mind-altering substances or frequent places where there is lots of alcohol, but that is a dangerous game. You are still not ready for those challenges in your first year after rehab. Some people will never be able to do those things again. It would be best to avoid people and places threatening your sobriety and focus on getting better.
Addiction affects both you and your loved ones
Your family life will be different
The horrible thing about addiction is that it doesn’t affect just you but also all those around you. Your family and friends were also very stressed during your addiction, and it has left consequences. So when you leave rehab and go back to your everyday life, don't be surprised if things in your family feel different. Your addiction was also a struggle for them, and they will need time to adjust. What you can and should do is talk to your loved ones. Try and makes amends and express your gratitude. Just don’t try and rush things. Take it day by day and be resilient.
The first year after rehab can be scary
Some feel very confident after rehab, and some don't. Whatever group you fall into, you must not let that feeling consume you. If you are scared of leaving rehab, that doesn't always have to be a bad sign. It can mean that you genuinely wish to stay clean and sober, which is entirely normal. But you shouldn't let that feeling undo everything you learned while in rehab because you did learn a lot. Now you will know how to recognize warning signs and things that trigger your addiction. You also have the tools to deal with them that you didn't have before: coping mechanisms, breathing techniques, and other exercises.
Some people thrive in group therapies, and some prefer private sessions with a therapist
You will still need aftercare after treatment
You left rehab, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need professional help anymore. It also doesn't mean you should be left on your own. It's crucial that you still have continued support on your recovery journey. While the support of your family is essential, professional help shouldn't be ignored. Today there are many aftercare programs to help you after you leave rehab. You need to choose what works best for you. Maybe you enjoy attending AA meetings and sharing your experiences with others. Some people thrive in those group therapies. But some prefer privacy. In this case, you can go to therapy sessions with a psychiatrist specializing in addiction issues. Whatever you choose, you must stick to it and stay focused.
Part of your new routine should include getting a healthy amount of sleep
Create a schedule in your life
When you are in rehab, you have a schedule you adhere to with no distractions. You were able to focus solely on getting clean and learning how to stay that way. Stepping into the real world after that can be a little overwhelming. So you must develop a healthy routine in your first year after rehab. That rehab has to include:
- Family time
- Hobby/relaxing time
- AA meeting/therapy etc
But a healthy routine doesn’t just mean going to therapy. You also need to take care of your body. That means eating healthy and not skipping meals. Don’t forget you also need a healthy amount of sleep to keep you going.
Don’t give up
The first year after rehab can be extremely tough. And it is not uncommon to relapse during that time. But that shouldn't discourage you. Yes, it's a step back, but it's not the end, and it's not the reason to give up. If you relapse, it is essential to turn to your support system, both familial and professional. It will help you understand why this happened and get back on track. Remember that this process is not easy, and sometimes, it's human to make a mistake.
As you can see, your first year after rehab has some challenges. But you can't let that paralyze you with fear. You have already done a very difficult thing by going to rehab and getting sober. Take this as a sign that you have the strength and the resilience that recovery takes. Look at this time not as a test of everything you learned in rehab but as a continuation of your recovery. Remember that there is help at every step of the way. Going back into the real world after getting sober is never easy. So don't be too hard on yourself and take it one day at a time.