If you have an addiction to alcohol, or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), you will need to go to alcohol rehab to regain a sober lifestyle. Depending on how severe your AUD is, rehab can take up to several months. During this time, you will learn to live without alcohol, developing healthy habits and coping strategies for stress. At the end of every alcohol rehab program, the hope is that patients can live normal lives once again, away from the influence of alcohol.
But life after rehab isn’t always easy. You may still encounter a lot of temptations to drink, which may lead to relapse. In fact, only 20 percent of patients after rehab stay sober for an entire year after treatment. To reduce your chances of relapse, you need follow-up therapies after you’re done with rehab. These are also known as aftercare.
What kind of support will you receive during aftercare? Read on to find out more.
Will my life return to normal right away after alcohol rehab?
After you have completed your rehab program, it takes some time and effort to adjust to normal life. It helps to have a list of things to prepare for before your rehab is over, such as:
- Where to live
- The people you will live with
- Making a daily schedule
- Staying away from temptations and triggers
- Meeting up with sober friends and family
- Finding support groups near you
- When to ask for help
- What responsibilities to take on
Make sure not to overwhelm yourself with too many things to do immediately after rehab. Take your new life slowly, one step at a time. Having too much on your plate will only overwhelm you. In turn, you will get stressed, and this is a potential trigger for drinking.
With appropriate aftercare, you can stay alcohol-free for a longer time. The risk of relapse also drops the more years you stay clean.
It’s crucial to know that recovering from AUD takes a lifetime. It takes effort and discipline on your part, even after alcohol rehab.
What are my options for aftercare?
Often, patients would go home after they’re done with alcohol rehab. This is a good choice if your home environment is supportive, healthy, and relaxing. If not, you may have to move into a sober living home.
In a sober living home, you would live inside a peaceful, safe, alcohol-free place. Staff would also encourage you to get help from local counselors and AUD support groups.
The effectiveness of sober living homes is also backed by evidence. Based on research, people who live in them are more likely to abstain from alcohol, less likely to commit crimes, and have better chances of finding jobs after rehab. Going home to a safe and healthy environment has these benefits.
You may also meet regularly with an alcohol counselor. He will help you deal with the emotions you got from your AUD, as well as any mental health issues that might have popped up. Talking with your counselor is also a big help in getting back into the rhythm of fulfilling responsibilities.
At first, you may need to meet with your counselor several times a week. You can tell him of any struggles, temptations, or challenges you’re going through. He will help you find ways to stay sober.
Later on, you and your counselor will not have to meet as often. But you still need to meet to evaluate your recovery goals and results. If you still experience triggers, reach out to your counselor right away for advice on how to deal with them.
It would help a lot if you go through family therapy. It’s common to have strained family relationships as a result of your AUD. Family members may feel threatened, betrayed, manipulated, or even abused because of your alcohol-related behaviors. Even after alcohol rehab, your relationships with your family will not be the same as before the addiction.
With the help of a family therapist, you will learn how to rebuild those broken relationships. The therapist will teach you and your family how best to communicate with each other. In most cases, he will meet with each family member individually at first. Later, he will ask everyone to gather and resolve issues together in a healthy way.
Family therapy helps you and your family to be less hostile towards each other. As a result, feelings of resentment, anger, and any negative emotions will be reduced. The more you live at peace with your family, the better it will be for your recovery. This is especially true if you are living with them after alcohol rehab.
Joining a support group is another option. When you’re in the company of people who are also committed to long-term recovery, your chances of staying sober are much higher. These people also understand your struggles, so you can easily relate with each other. They can help you, and you can help them too.
A popular support group for people recovering from AUD is Alcoholics Anonymous. A similar group called Al-Anon is for their families. These groups are free of charge to join, and there are a lot of these groups all around the US. Ask your therapist or rehab center to find a group near you.
What can I do to stay sober for longer?
One very helpful thing is to do physical activities regularly. Include exercise in your daily routine, as it helps you clear your mind and improve your health. Choose an activity you enjoy for best results. For example, if you enjoy sports like tennis, make it a habit to play several times a week. You can even join a local tennis club.
Think about your professional goals as well. Consult with a career counselor for assistance in developing these goals. It’s never too late to chase your career aspirations again. It pays to talk to a financial advisor as well to set financial goals. Saving, investing, and knowing where to put your money go a long way.
Most importantly, have a person you can talk to at any time should you face any challenges to sobriety. It could be a trusted friend, or better yet, a therapist you know well.