From the time you were admitted into rehab to finishing your treatment program, you have changed quite a bit. You are probably feeling ready, but very nervous, to start living your new normal. And while you have probably found comfort in your surroundings at rehab, you know it is time to get back to your everyday life.
As you say goodbye to rehab and your experiences there, you are walking back into a world that used to be very challenging for you to live in. However, now that you have the proper coping skills and aftercare plan in tow, getting into the swing of things may be easier than you think.
That first week that you spend outside of rehab can cause you to experience several emotions. You might be excited, happy, scared, sad, nervous, optimistic, reserved, and more. There is no “right” way to feel as you make this transition from rehab to home. There are several things that you can do when you leave rehab, however, it can be helpful to have a plan for your first week home prior to finishing up your treatment.
What to Do in the First Week Home
Going from rehab back into the life you left behind can be very dangerous. Not only is it probably not a place where you are not comfortable anymore, but it can also be a place that reminds you of your active addiction. Therefore, developing plans to help you continually move forward on your road to recovery can be pivotal. The first week back home can be made much easier if you have a plan. Consider the following:
Go to meetings
12-Step based meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, can help you get connected to your local recovery community. Going to a meeting every single day for the first week can be beneficial, as it can help you continue your care. It is also a good idea to get a sponsor right away, even if he or she is temporary until you find one that fits you best. Sponsors can be found right at your AA or NA meetings. All you need to do is ask, and those who are sponsors will reach out to you as you begin your journey.
Avoid old stomping grounds
There is no reason for you to leave rehab and go right back to the places where you used to frequent while actively addicted (such as bars, clubs, etc.). There is also no reason for you to reach out to people who are still using. Within this first week post-rehab, you are considered very vulnerable, and sticking around others who use can increase your risk for relapse.
Ask for help
No one who knows the experience you just had will have a hard time being there for you if you ask for help. The truth is, you cannot do this alone, nor do you have to. When you feel overwhelmed, reach out and connect with someone who you can talk to. When feeling on the verge of possibly relapsing, get in touch with your sponsor immediately. Whatever it is that you need to do to maintain your recovery, go ahead and do it. However, do not forget to ask for help along the way.
Make a therapy appointment
While you are in rehab, you can utilize the recommendations of your in-house therapists to find a therapist in your area. When you find a therapist that you like, making an appointment with him or her for the first week you are out of rehab can be extremely helpful. It can help you continue your therapeutic process without any break in the continuity of your care. When you allow periods of time to go by in between therapy sessions, it can be complicated to get the drive to get back into sessions. Therefore, going to therapy can help you maintain your treatment further.
Develop a routine
When actively addicted, it is more likely than not that you had very little organization in your life, never mind a full-fledged routine. After spending time in rehab, you probably became accustomed to a specific routine. That routine probably helped you stay healthy and feeling well. So, when you leave rehab it is important to develop a routine that fits your current needs. This can include having a healthy breakfast, going to the gym, attending a meeting, and making it a point to call your sponsor.
Practice good self-care
During your addiction, you were not paying attention to your health and wellbeing. However, now that you have achieved recovery, you know just how important it is to take care of yourself rather than neglect your needs. Good self-care includes taking care of yourself, such as through eating well, exercising, getting enough rest, and doing things that make you happy. When you make an effort to put your needs first during this fragile time, you are investing in your wellbeing.
These are not the only things that you can do during your first week out of rehab. It can be helpful to stay connected with your family, as they are the ones who probably understand what you might be experiencing. You can also plan out your week ahead of time, penciling in meetings, gym visits, and personal time. Doing this can take some of the anxiety out of this first week, as you have a better idea of what you can expect.
The idea of getting help for your addiction can be overwhelming and even embarrassing. You might be fearful of what others might think of you if you go to rehab. You might think that you cannot complete a treatment program. And, furthermore, you might be scared of what life might be like if you are away from the people, places, and things that you love.
However, getting help for addiction is the only proven way to treat this disease, and there is no shame in ensuring that you get the best care possible so that you can preserve your wellbeing.
If you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol and need help to stop, do not hesitate to reach out for help right away. We understand the many challenges that you are facing as a result of your disease and we are ready, willing, and able to help you overcome them. When you are ready to make the commitment to bettering your life, contact us. We can help you make the changes necessary so that you can support a happy, healthy life of sobriety and recovery.