Someone with a substance use disorder who decides to reclaim sobriety goes through five stages of recovery. Pre-contemplation (before there is any conscious thought of quitting), contemplation (thinking about taking steps, but not yet), preparation (taking steps toward action as the awareness grows of the need to stop using), action (committing to sobriety, usually by joining a rehab program), and maintenance. Maintenance—a lifetime of sobriety—is the goal, the final and forever step. For many, it is the hardest stage to contemplate and the one most likely to elicit questions.
There are many benefits to making a plan for what’s next. Knowing what steps you will take after rehab will alleviate some of the anxiety around what otherwise might look like an uncertain future.
How to Maintain Sobriety
Think of your post-rehab recovery journey as one that is undertaken by a re-imagined version of yourself. You have an opportunity to build a life for yourself consciously and with intention, rather than being at the mercy of the addiction that had control of you. This mindful, intended life is yours to envision and create.
Shift what you do, who you do it with, and how you do it. You are still you—but after rehab, you are healthy and sober and ready for the rest of your life. There may be bumps along the road. But if you re-imagine and re-create the way you pursue your days and weeks, you can stay sober over the long term.
Manage temptations. You want to avoid the triggers that you think might tempt you to use again. You can do this by asking a trusted friend to clear your home environment of paraphernalia, addictive substances, and anything else that might cause you concern—before you get home from rehab. Set future goals, both small and large, and surround yourself with a support group that holds your sobriety as sacred as you do.
New, Healthy Habits in Sobriety
Replace old habits with new, sober habits. What inspires you, feels both worthy and fun, and has the potential to sustain you for the long term? Some possibilities include:
- Spending time outdoors
- Meditation and mindfulness practices
- Joining a sports league
- Painting or drawing
- Going back to school or taking a few classes
- Household projects or gardening
- Practicing gratitude
Make contingency plans and visualize your strategies. Be proactive by envisioning yourself in triggering circumstances, how you would act, and what you would say. Visualization is part of successful planning. Let yourself navigate tough situations in your head before ever running into them in real life.
Dream big and visualize your best outcomes. Again, spending time mentally imagining your sober future is not a waste of time. On the contrary, studies show that habitual visualization can create pathways in the brain that make imagined outcomes more likely.
Finally, participate in your rehab facility’s aftercare program, if they have one. Such a systematic, supported, professionally moderated program is a wonderful scaffolding on which to build your post-rehab life of recovery.
Benefits of Sobriety
Living a sober life, you will reap a number of benefits:
- Renewing a healthy body – From improved liver and heart functions to better sleep
- Making new friends – Sober companions who will accompany you on your path
- Regaining mental clarity – Which in turn allows you to live fully and find your enthusiasm again
- Saving money – Which frees you to engage in other, more meaningful activities
- Feeling and looking better – Clear, bright, and shiny eyes, skin, hair, and a bounce in your step
- Inspiring others who are struggling with addiction
Much of the above starts during rehab and continues while you enjoy the benefits of aftercare. Because there is no absolute cure for addiction, rehab offers the best outcomes by providing the tools you need to live a substance-free life. An aftercare program is an opportunity to put those lessons to work in a setting that offers support and accountability.
Reach Out to Serenity Light Recovery Today
At Serenity Light Recovery, our aftercare program is designed to work for all clients who complete treatment. Aftercare at Serenity Light offers weekly group meetings, sustained connections with others who have experienced what you have, sober events and activities, and, most importantly, hope for a sober future.
Whatever stage you find yourself in your recovery journey, as you take those mindful, intentional steps toward a new life, let us help. Our compassionate, professional staff is waiting to answer your questions. Call us at 855.658.6109 or use our simple online form. And remember, maintaining sobriety after rehab is possible. We are here for you.