What to Expect After Rehab
Your life after rehab will be different than it was before, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t live your best life. Addiction recovery isn’t something that happens in just a few months and then you never think about it again, but with hard work and dedication, it can be overcome so that you can feel like your true self again and have the healthiest life possible. Here are some things to expect after rehab.
The benefits of going to rehab
Going to rehab can save your life, and it’s not uncommon for people to come out of rehab with a better outlook on life. No matter how severe your addiction was before rehab, rehab is likely to be worth it: It may help you increase your life expectancy and reduce your chances of chronic health problems such as liver failure or cardiovascular disease. Plus, studies have found that recovery after rehab can boost self-esteem, decrease depression and stress levels, increase social functioning, improve family relationships and prevent relapse. If you think you might need professional help overcoming an addiction or substance abuse problem (including alcoholism), consider giving up these habits cold turkey—or at least considering checking into an inpatient program.
The challenges of living with recovery
Recovery is never a straight line, and it’s not uncommon for people going through treatment to face challenges before they ever reach sobriety. The thing about addiction is that it takes over your brain—and changes how you perceive yourself and your world. That makes it difficult to make healthy choices, even after treatment. Those changes might be physical (for example, learning healthy eating habits), or psychological (such as building a support network). But one thing you shouldn’t worry about? Whether or not you can beat your addiction. Addiction isn’t something you can beat—it’s a chronic disease of your brain that requires lifelong management and support.
If you’re recovering from addiction, it’s easy to feel like your whole life has fallen apart. But staying positive is an important part of staying sober. In fact, one study found that positive moods are more predictive of sobriety than negative ones. When you’re feeling discouraged or down, try turning on some feel-good music and thinking about things that make you happy, such as special memories or a vacation you look forward to.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
You may think asking for help is a sign of weakness or incompetence, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, seeking guidance and support is a sign of great strength and confidence. Your friends and family want to help you; let them know what you need from them in order to improve your life after rehab.
Let go of the past, but don’t forget it.
One of the hardest parts of recovery is getting sober, but there’s also one of its easiest: getting over feeling disappointed. Of course, it can be difficult not to feel let down if you’ve just wasted months or years following false leads and wasting your own time and money—it can feel like you’ve just wasted all that time for nothing. But consider that anything in life worthwhile requires dedication and hard work.