When you’re in rehab, you have a support system of therapists, group leaders and fellow patients. However, when you go back to your everyday life, you may suddenly find yourself alone. It can be difficult to get through work and your other responsibilities without anyone there to soothe you.
Perhaps you don’t live near family and friends, or they’re enablers. They also may just not understand what you’re going through and not be able to help. If you don’t have a therapist you see regularly either, you may feel lost.
After rehab, it’s crucial that you have a period where you can transition back into your everyday life and get on your feet again. This can be difficult to do, especially when substance abuse was your primary coping mechanism. You need people you can turn to who are reliable, as well as places you can go if you feel like you’re slipping back into your old behaviors.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can garner support during this tough time. The following are places to look for support during your post-rehab recovery period:
Individual or Group Therapy
Before you exit rehab, you should be set up with a private therapist who has addiction counseling experience. If that didn’t happen, ask your rehab for referrals.
Depending on your situation, you may want to visit a marriage or family therapist, too. An alternative to individual or family therapy is addiction group therapy, which may be lower in cost and give you more of a support system.
Peer-to-Peer Support Groups
Recovery support groups, or peer-to-peer groups, are essential to your recovery. It’s been proven that when you join these types of meetings, you are much more likely to stay sober. Similar to rehab, you are connected with people who are going through the same or similar situations. They’ve all struggled with addiction and know where you are coming from, so you won’t feel like an outcast or like you don’t belong. In fact, you should feel accepted and related to.
Two popular peer-to-peer groups are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. You can use Addiction.com’s meeting finder to determine the most convenient location for you. In AA and NA, participants stand up, explain why they are in the group and how it has changed their life, as well as what their path to recovery has been like. Then, other members can volunteer to talk about their stories too. You may even establish a relationship with a sponsor you can call if you’re in need of help or you just want to check in. These are informal settings, so there is no pressure to share or connect with a sponsor if you don’t want to.
Organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence give you information on the various types of meetings available as well.
You may also find support within your local church, synagogue or mosque, or you can use a toll-free telephone hotline if you find yourself in need. Most of these hotlines are staffed 24/7 with helpful individuals who can give you referrals for additional support.
Your Rehab Facility
If you live near your rehab facility, they may provide support to you as part of an ongoing outpatient program. Most likely, your rehab will set you up with support outside of the facility. They will be there for you in your time of need, however, so don’t hesitate to reach out to them at any point.
A Successful Recovery Is Possible
Addiction recovery is not easy. Without the care and support of friends, family and professionals, you may feel like you can’t get through the hard times.
But don’t despair. Wherever you live, you can find a meeting, a therapist, friends, or simply pick up the phone to talk to someone on a hotline. Always remember that it’s normal to need help from a variety of sources at this time, even if it means going to groups and talking one-on-one with mental health professionals.
A full recovery outside of rehab is possible. It just takes time, patience and a little work to find the support you need to succeed.