Graduating from residential treatment is an important milestone in your recovery journey. As you prepare to return to independent living, you’ll need to work on putting the skills you learned in residential treatment to work in the real world. Here, the treatment team at St. Joseph Institute for Addiction shares some tips that can help guide you through this transition.
Tip #1: Surround Yourself with People Who Are Supportive of Your Addiction Recovery
At this point in your addiction recovery journey, you need to be surrounded by people who support your efforts at self-improvement. This means you need to avoid contact with:
- Anyone who may encourage you to go back to drinking or using. People who don’t accept your sobriety may urge you to “cut loose” or ask if “just one” night of partying is really all that bad. Don’t let them convince you to put everything you’ve worked for at risk.
- Anyone who engages in toxic relationship behaviors that negatively affect your mental health. No matter what mistakes you’ve made in the past, you don’t deserve to be treated poorly. People who lie to you, belittle you, and gossip about you behind your back aren’t worth your time.
It’s normal to mourn the loss of relationships, but keep in mind that people can grow apart over time for many different reasons. You are entitled to set boundaries that protect your long-term health and well-being. Staying involved in the recovery community can help ease your feelings of loneliness and encourage you to expand your social circle in a way that won’t jeopardize your recovery.
Tip #2: Create a Daily Routine
Routines provide structure and promote accountability. For most people, their routine is centered around employment. If you’re not up to returning to work yet, here are some ways to help you create a daily routine that reinforces the wellness-focused lifestyle you worked on developing in residential treatment:
- Set a consistent time to wake up and go to bed
- Have scheduled meal times—eating with your children and/or spouse if possible
- Consider joining a fitness class at a local gym or making plans to work out with a friend or family member
- Schedule regular times to attend 12-Step meetings
- Make plans to regularly check in with your sponsor
- Attend scheduled worship services and church-sponsored activities
Tip #3: Embrace What Makes You Happy
In our fast-paced society, we’re often conditioned to see hobbies as a frivolous waste of time—especially if we’re just learning something new or trying out an activity that won’t immediately produce a tangible result. The reality is that hobbies can relieve stress, boost self-esteem, help you expand your social circle, and support your overall mental health.
Whether you’re painting, gardening, woodworking, knitting, baking, or making music, hobbies are a valuable form of self-care. Setting aside time to pursue your hobbies is an essential part of living a balanced lifestyle that is free from the burdens of substance abuse. Recovery is a time of reinvention and personal growth, which means this is the perfect opportunity to do whatever is necessary to find your true passion.
Tip #4: Set Realistic Expectations
When you graduate from residential treatment, you may feel like you’re ready to conquer the world. People in Alcoholics Anonymous sometimes call this “high on life” feeling the pink cloud. It feels amazing but can lead to overconfidence, arrogance, and impulsiveness if riding the pink cloud isn’t balanced with a dose of reality.
The truth is that substance use disorders are chronic illnesses. Your success in rehab doesn’t mean that you’re “cured” of your condition; there will always be a risk of relapse that you’ll need to manage.
Sometimes, you may even find yourself taking one step forward and two steps back in your recovery journey. This is OK, as long as you stay committed to self-improvement. Strive for progress, not perfection.
Tip #5: Take Advantage of Relapse Prevention and Continuing Care Services with Addiction Treatment Resources
At St. Joseph Institute for Addiction, we’re committed to your success. All graduates of our Pennsylvania residential substance abuse treatment program have access to a wide range of relapse prevention and continuing care services to support their transition back to independent living. This includes ongoing counseling support, alumni gatherings, retreat programs, and Trac9 app access to help identify potential triggers before they happen.
If you do experience a slip or a relapse, our team can work with you to get back on track. We’ll help you pinpoint what aspects of your addiction treatment program weren’t meeting your needs and develop a plan to move forward. Our goal is to help you face the future with confidence.