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Taking the step to seek help and enter a drug or alcohol rehab program is often the most difficult part of the journey to sobriety. However, the months and years following treatment have their own challenges as well. Trying to rebuild your life after addiction can be complicated, emotional, and challenging in many ways.

In the beginning, you must conquer cravings and withdrawal symptoms that could tempt you to use again. During your time in an addiction recovery facility like, you will be taught how to cope with the stress in the real world without turning to drugs or alcohol. This stage of recovery, when you are going back into the real world and trying to live a sober lifestyle, can be like coming out of the dark and back into the light.

This transition period requires support, resolve, and a commitment to make the changes you must follow carefully to achieve success. If you are working on your recovery or if you have recently become sober, staying on the path to recovery is a must.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind if you are trying to rebuild your life after addiction.

Don’t Try To Rush Things

In many cases, people who complete treatment will feel much better and want to just put their addiction behind them. You may think you are ready to just jump back into normal life. However, it’s important to take things slow, as there are many new aspects to your life you will have to navigate all at once. You may not be completely ready to make all the changes at once. 

While you may feel recharged and reinvigorated to live life to its fullest, you need to take things slow. The pace of “normal” life will feel different from it did before, and it may take time to become reacclimated to normal life. Remember, when it comes to recovering from substance addiction, sticking to a slow and steady pace will help ensure your success. Set small goals you can work on each month, and keep track of your progress to motivate yourself along the way.

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Take Steps To Make Things Right

There’s a good chance that while you were abusing, you hurt some of the people around you. Even though those things happened in your past during your addiction phase, the actions still resulted in people being hurt or becoming upset.

While most people who love you will be happy to see you sober and healthy, starting to realize the impact of these past actions will help you with your recovery. You must find ways to repair the damage that you caused to make sure that things are settled and right between you and the people you love. Talk to a counsellor or professional to help guide you through these difficult conversations, and give your family and loved ones time to heal as well.

Do What Is Expected Of  You

Another step you need to take when trying to mend relationships with family and friends is to find out what they expect from you and your behaviour. For example, did you begin using alcohol or drugs while you were a teenager, and now you are in your 30s? If so, life will have changed significantly. You may remember your sober life as a teen but have no idea what is expected of you now. The relationships that you have with your family and friends now could be different now that you are older. 

It is important to have these conversations for your benefit, and for the benefit of your family to ensure everyone is on the same page. They will have become accustomed to seeing you as an addict and may continue to view you this way unless you show them something different. 

Other family members may believe that you should be completely fine and “normal” now that you have become sober. Make sure that you try to show them what you can achieve in your new sober lifestyle, and what you are still working on.

Follow Through With Promises

After rehab, there will be an adjustment period in your life. Everyone will be looking at your progress, and you may feel a lot of pressure during this stage.

As you learn what your life will look like now, try not to make promises you may not be able to keep. In the same way, be sure to follow through on the promises you do make. It could be time to change some of your habits in terms of how you treat others and interact with them. 

For example, if you failed to attend family functions as an addict, make a promise to always show up from now on, and stick to it. Your family and friends will appreciate the effort, and it will show you are trying to make positive changes when it comes to handling obligations. 

This will also help to rebuild strong relationships by showing that you will follow through with commitments that you make, both now and in the future.

Leave Your Old Friends In The Past

Once you leave your rehab program, it is important to cut ties with all the people you may have known while you were an addict. No matter what type of support they promise to provide to you while working toward sobriety, the fact is that just their mere presence could hinder your progress. Even in a situation where it is a family member or close friend, you have to let them go, at least in this first vulnerable stage. 

While engaging in your rehabilitation counseling, you will learn that family and friends who are still addicts may not completely approve of your new lifestyle. You should never take this personally. In most cases, they are just concerned that you will try to get them on board with living a clean and sober life, too. Unfortunately, they may not be ready for that change yet. Eventually, they will realize that your lives are now headed in unique directions, with you and them on very opposite sides of the spectrum.

Even if those family and friends do support your new sober life, it is still not a good idea to spend time together. Being around people who are using drugs or drinking will tempt you to do the same. One event or encounter could trigger a relapse, so it is best to stay away or keep things formal in the beginning. While the sentiment may be there, it is not worth your happiness, sobriety, or health. Now is the time to leave these old friends in the past.

New hobbies
Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels

Find New Hobbies

When you were drinking or abusing drugs, your day-to-day life likely focused on getting and using alcohol or drugs. The moments when you were not doing this were likely taken up by thinking about how you could use it again.

Once you get clean, you are going to have a lot of free time, so you need to find something to do.

Sometimes, drinking and substance abuse can leave a rather large hole in your life. Now is the time for you to fill your time with something fun, engaging, and productive. Take time to find a new hobby you enjoy, volunteer your time, learn something new, or find another type of fulfilling and positive hobby that will help you keep your new, sober lifestyle on the right path.

Get Active

Chances are your addict lifestyle did not include regular trips to the gym. Now that you are living a sober lifestyle, it’s time to make your physical health a priority again. When you start exercising, you may also feel a huge difference when it comes to your mental health. You will likely have more energy and an overall sense of well-being, and you may even see an increase in your self-confidence.

It doesn’t matter what type of activity you choose to do – join a gym, Pilates, team sports, swimming, cycling, yoga, hiking, or something else – exercise will help you take your life to an entirely new level. Another reason you should be exercising is to meet other people who are also dedicated to living a healthy lifestyle. This is going to help you support your new healthy habits.

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Eating after Addiction

Like most people who have spent years drinking or abusing substances, you probably did not have the best eating habits during that time. The condition of your body is influenced by what you are eating. In some cases, you may even be malnourished, which is caused by long-term instances of neglect. It is important to reduce the high-fat, high-sugar foods you may be eating, and start adding healthy foods like fish, veggies, lean meats, and fruit to your diet. You should also drink plenty of water and reduce your consumption of energy drinks and coffee.

Making a change in your eating habits may not occur overnight. However, as time passes, your tastes will change, and you will begin to crave the new healthy food you have started eating. Once this happens, you will start to see significant changes in your energy level, immunity, appearance, and health in general. However, this is only going to happen when you begin following a healthy, well-balanced diet.

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Get Enough Sleep

Regardless of your sleep schedule, your previous lifestyle involving addiction probably didn’t include long nights of restful sleep. Abusing drugs or alcohol is not conducive to good physical and mental health in general, and a lack of sleep from late nights or sleeplessness can exacerbate the problem.  

For example, some heavy drug users go days with no sleep and then crash for 24 hours at a time. This does not rest, and it will take some time for you to adjust to a normal sleep schedule again.  

You will notice a huge difference in your mood and energy levels when you start sleeping for a solid eight hours, each night. You will also feel a higher sense of mental alertness, and a better overall health. To see these changes, you have to ensure you are getting plenty of rest.

Set And Meet Your Goals

Another important thing you can do once you have completed a rehab program is to begin to think about goals for your future. Making plans for the months and years ahead will give you motivation and hope for a better life. Take some time to determine what you want to accomplish, and outline how you will do it, by focusing on one step at a time. Work with a professional to set these goals if you need to, and look to them for support when you need to be held accountable. 

Once you start down the path of achieving your dreams, including being good to your loved ones, getting adequate sleep, and exercising, you will see that other things begin to fall back into place as well.

Your future is essentially a blank slate. By looking at this as a time of opportunity, you can decide what you want to do and who you want to be. However, these are decisions that you must make and then decide what steps you need to take to make them happen.

Finding Peace And Success After Addiction and Rehab

Going into rehab is a difficult decision. However, the hard part of recovery doesn’t stop there. You have to maintain your new, sober lifestyle, which will be challenging at times. From repairing broken relationships to starting a new fitness regiment, to setting goals for the future – all of these are important steps in the journey to recovery. 

By implementing these changes, you will have a good chance at staying on the path to long-term sobriety. Being informed, knowing what to do, and taking the right steps will pay off in the long run. 


Richard Clayton

Richard Clayton owns a gardening shop in Texas. He is an avid gardener and loves sharing his love of plants and flowers. In his spare time he is a freelance writer on health and wellness.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.