Nearing the end of your rehab program may have you jittery with excitement – you are finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You will soon be done with all the program activities and all that structured living. You can kiss group sessions goodbye and do what you want to do when you want to do it.
Halt right there.
Are you ready for all that freedom? Do you think that throwing yourself back into real life full throttle after leaving rehab is the best option for a successful, long-term recovery?
Why a Sober Living Home?
Choosing a sober living home is the smart choice for someone who is serious about succeeding in their recovery. This is an opportunity for a bit more freedom, while still maintaining some structure to your life. In other words, it allows you to take baby steps back into life.
Sober living homes provide you with:
- Rules and structure
- Daily living skills
- Group therapy
- Job and/or education assistance
- Goal setting
- And so much more
They help you get ready to live your new sober life in a healthy manner, with all the skills and tools you will need to obtain a successful recovery. If you chose this method for integrating back into the real world, then applaud yourself because you are a step ahead of many others.
There comes a time, however, when you must leave the sober living facility and return to life. And, there are a few things you will want to make sure you take with you.
Never consider leaving your sober home without having some reinforced empowerment in place. What we mean by that is you will want to ensure you still have a support system that will still help you lift your sails while trying to navigate on your own. This can – and should – consist of support groups, individual therapy sessions, and a friend and family support system at the very least.
You are going to have rough days and there will be many hurdles placed in front of you. You will need to be able to stand on your own two feet, but you will also want to have these empowering individuals on your team in case you start to fall. They may not be able to keep you from relapsing, but they can sure make a relapse a bit more difficult.
Self-empowerment and strength come from all the positive, sober people you surround yourself with.
Create a New Sober, Social Life
You should know by now that going back to doing the things you did before you went into treatment is not going to be the same things you do when you leave the sober living facility. That includes the friends you once had, the places you used to frequent, and the activities you used to partake in. All of these things can trigger old habits and may be connected to your old life of using.
So, what does that mean for you? It means that while you transition back into life again, you will need to focus on creating a new social life.
- Don’t tell yourself that you can still hang out with old acquaintances and visit old watering holes because you are strong and sober and can handle it. You may very well be all of those things, but there is no reason to intentionally put yourself face to face with triggers.
- Don’t believe that you can sit at home or not engage with others socially. This is not an all or nothing deal. A social life is a necessity for a healthy life – you just need to be smart about it.
Find new friends. Find new places to go. And discover new social activities that will make you happy and keep you occupied.
- Find a new hobby.
- Join a team sport.
- Frequent places that interest you – and are healthy for your sobriety (this is a great way to meet new, like-minded individuals, too).
The Family Adjustment Period
If you think you are the only one who needs a period of adjustment when returning to life, think again. Your family does too. They cannot fully understand what you are going through, and this may make the interactions between you very difficult and stressful.
- Be sure that your family has the resources they need to understand your situation as best as they can.
- Be clear about what you expect from them.
- Tell them to be clear about what they expect from you.
- Help them understand your trials and your triumphs. Include them on your journey.
- Make sure to apologize for past situations and clear the air between you and your family.
Spend some time with each family member. Show your support and learn about how your addiction affected each one of them. This is a fantastic way to reach a better understanding of the situation as a whole and definite learning, strengthening, bonding, and growth period between you and all your family members.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do for your successful transition into life from a sober living home is to take care of yourself. If you are not well, you may find it more difficult to have the strength to succeed.
- Eatproper meals. A healthy diet of whole foods and a variety of fruits and veggies can fuel you with all the vitamins and nutrients you need.
- Start an exercise Not only does exercise make you feel better, but it can also be a positive way to get out strong feelings and overcome struggles.
- Get plenty of sleep each night. If you want to be functioning at your best, then you will want to be sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
Remember, if your body isn’t healthy, then neither is your mind – and that can be dangerous for someone in recovery.
Leaving a sober living facility means you are as equipped as you can be to reintegrate into the real world and enjoy a successful recovery. Taking these extra steps can only add to the tools you have already gained so that you are prepared to live your life to the fullest.