If you or a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, getting treatment inside a rehabilitation centre is only the first step of a long recovery journey. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for addiction. It is a disease that will get worse and worse over time if left untreated. This doesn’t mean that all is lost. Addicts may still be able to live clean and sober, but it requires lots of hard work and dedication. In rehab, addicts will learn more about their addiction suffered and also how to avoid using drugs and alcohol in the future. However, the risks of suffering a relapse are at its highest immediately after discharge from treatment, therefore special care needs to be taken once it has been completed.

Below are FIVE tips on how to stay sober after rehab.

1. Look For Secondary Care

A stay in rehab is known as primary care. Secondary care is available for recovering addicts who are fresh out of treatment and want to make sure that they are able to successfully remain sober. Secondary care comes in many forms: outpatient treatment, 12-step group therapy, halfway houses and even individual counselling with your addiction counsellor, sponsor or therapist.

Whichever one chosen, make sure that you or your loved one are completely dedicated and committed to it. Any sign of overconfidence or thinking that it’s not needed, could result in a possible relapse.

2. Stay Occupied

Some recovering addicts find themselves with lots of free time on their hands when they come out of rehab.
The problem with this is that while they were addicted to drugs and alcohol, they used all their free time to use these narcotic substances and it may be the only way they know how to spend their newly found freedom.
Boredom can cause cravings, which is why it’s important to stay busy. Find a new hobby, play some sport, just do whatever you can to make sure you have no time to experience any temptations to use drugs or alcohol.

3. Look After Yourself

Did you know that things like feeling exhausted, hungry or lonely can all cause temptations to use drugs and alcohol again?
Taking care of your basic needs can go a long way in achieving long term sobriety after rehab.

4. Stick to Your Relapse Prevention Plan

In rehab, patients and their addiction counsellor will have devised a plan which will help them stay sober once treatment has completed.
The relapse prevention plan isn’t done for fun, oh no, in recovery, it’s a sacred document that will help addicts achieve their goal step by step.
The plan is customised for every patient’s needs, and when it is ignored, the likelihood of a relapse occurring becomes a strong possibility.
Over time, the relapse prevention plan can be adjusted, but it’s important to follow the instructions in it.

5. Failure Isn’t the End of the World

It’s important to understand that even if you do everything you were told to do by your addiction counsellor, you might still experience a lapse of concentration which could cause you to use drugs or alcohol again.
When this happens, it’s so easy to just give up and start using the narcotic substance again.
Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important that we learn from them. If this happens, seek help immediately and make sure that you get back into treatment as soon as possible.
This mistake could even make you stronger, increasing the chances of a successful long-term recovery.