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You Just Finished Inpatient Treatment – Now What?

life-after-treatment

Completing inpatient treatment for drug or alcohol addiction is a major accomplishment. It’s also only the first step towards achieving lifelong sobriety. Recovery is an ongoing process that requires continued support and the right life habits.

Once your inpatient treatment has ended, you’ll need a stable, supportive living environment. Although you can certainly celebrate your accomplishment, it’s important to maintain recovery as your top priority. Being overly confident and ill-prepared for the challenges that lie ahead greatly increases the risk of relapse.

Staying the course after addiction treatment, or helping a loved one stay the course, is all about finding and taking advantage of the right resources. While inpatient rehab offers a highly structured and secure environment during the earliest stages of recovery, the outside world is rife with challenges, triggers, and temptations. Knowing how to navigate these obstacles and understanding which resources will provide the best and most needs-specific help is key to success.

Utilize the Support Network You Created in Treatment

Exiting inpatient treatment doesn’t mean leaving all of the connections you’ve made behind. In fact, this is far from the case. Exiting patients are highly encouraged to remain in touch and to continue their journeys using the additional treatment services that are offered. At Recovery Bay Center, we provide both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment.

Many of our clients seamlessly transition from our inpatient program to our outpatient facility. By doing so, they’re able to continue flourishing under the accountability and structure that professional rehab supplies. They also experience progressively higher levels of independence and self-responsibility along the way. 

Our post-treatment services offer the perfect bridge between on-campus rehab and completely independent living. Studies show that the risk of relapse is at its highest during the first year of recovery. After spending just one to three months in an inpatient program, outpatient care and other ongoing support services make it infinitely easier to move through this high-risk period without relapsing.

Create a Stable Environment

One of the most important things that recovering addicts and their families can do to ensure long-term success in recovery is to create a stable living environment. When people leave inpatient treatment centers to return home, they shouldn’t face condemnation or shame, and they definitely shouldn’t have to experience overwhelming temptation. A stable living environment should be free of emotional and physical trauma, and absolutely free of illicit drugs, habit-forming prescription drugs, and alcohol.

Homelessness is a common cause of relapse. Homelessness causes:

  • Greatly diminished physical and mental health
  • Overwhelming stress
  • High levels of exposure to illicit drugs and other substances
  • Extreme depression and feelings of hopelessness

Both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment centers take concerted steps to ensure that housing instability is not an issue after rehab has ended. To this end, addiction recovery programs include:

  • Life-planning and skill-building workshops
  • Efforts to help clients learn more about local resources
  • Stress management training
  • Goal-setting activities

and more. Before exiting inpatient treatment, all patients should know how to find and secure transportation resources, how to apply for public assistance, and how to get career-building and job search support. Patients have the option of staying in sober living homes and halfway houses, and of applying for transitional housing assistance. There are a number of low-cost housing opportunities that additionally offer onsite counseling, sober meetings, and other forms of post-treatment assistance.

Continue Treatment in an Outpatient Setting

Choosing to continue treatment in an outpatient setting is often the best bet. After just several months in inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment allows people to gradually ease their way back into the routines of normal, everyday living. These services revisit many of the lessons and skills that were taught in inpatient addiction treatment. They also give participants a greater opportunity to practice their new coping skills while facing real-world challenges.

During outpatient treatment, people learn more about practicing proper self-care. They meet new friends and find sober partners, and they can better define their plans and expectations for the road that lies ahead. Outpatient addiction treatment often requires just a 12 to 35-hour commitment each week depending upon its level of intensity.

Our outpatient programs are flexible and adaptable enough to meet a diverse range of needs. Best of all, while attending outpatient treatment, people have sufficient free time for going to school, returning to work, and meeting with life-planning counselors or resource agencies.

Explore Options in Sober Living

Sober living houses provide structured living environments for people exiting inpatient treatment who aren’t completely ready to go home. These spaces are perfect for anyone who’s dealing with the prospect of returning to enabling relationships, toxic or traumatic living environments, or spaces that are rife with temptation. 

Much like outpatient services, a sober living home offers a supportive bridge between inpatient treatment and independent living. Sober living homes require residents to abstain from all onsite and offsite drug and alcohol use. Residents are routinely tested, and they also have a number of other household rules to live by. Lasting approximately three to six months, sober living gives people more time to establish long-term plans for their recoveries while providing access to important skill-building, career-building, and long-term housing resources.

Create Good Habits

Self-care is hardly a priority when living with addiction. Learning good self-care and making it a regular part of your everyday routine is critical for avoiding relapse after inpatient treatment. This includes:

  • Good sleep hygiene
  • A healthy, balanced diet
  • Regular physical exercise
  • Diligent stress management
  • Regular social interaction

Recovering addicts are taught to never let themselves become too hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. The acronym H.A.L.T. helps keep the importance of these efforts in mind. When you’re upset, famished, sleepy, and lacking in social interaction, you’re far more likely to succumb to triggers, temptation, and stress. 

Another important part of your self-care is staying on top of treatments for existing comorbidities. If you’ve undergone dual diagnosis treatment for depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or any other co-occurring mental health issue, you should diligently adhere to the ongoing management strategies you’ve been given.

Continuing to take prescription medications for mood disorders will keep the symptoms and discomfort caused by these ailments under control. If ongoing counseling has been recommended, this should definitely be continued as well.

Surprisingly, another incredibly common cause of relapse is boredom. Actively cutting things out of your life to avoid temptation can leave you feeling under-stimulated and empty. When you don’t have worthwhile activities to pursue, the desire to use drugs or alcohol can return. Being sober gives you the time, mental clarity, and opportunity to pursue new hobbies and interests, and to explore new forms of learning and social activities. Leading an active and interesting life will expose you to new people, and allow you to experience the true pleasure and fulfillment that drugs and alcohol were never able to provide.

Whether you’re just now entering addiction treatment or are nearing the end of your inpatient rehab, we can help you establish a solid plan for lasting sobriety and health. At Recovery Bay Center, we offer a comprehensive range of addiction services and support options for meeting the needs of patients at all levels of recovery. Call us today to speak with one of our counselors and to find the right resources for you or your loved one.