Recovery from substance addiction is a lifelong journey. While it may begin with drug treatment, it doesn’t end there. Completing a rehab program is a remarkable step in the process, but it is just that – a step. A step in the right direction. A step towards a healthier life. A necessary step that sets the stage for your future.
Whether you are new to recovery or have a loved one in treatment, you may have many questions about the recovery process. For example, what happens in drug treatment? (We answer that here.) And, what happens after rehab is complete?
Understanding what happens during and after rehab is important in setting goals and expectations. While in rehab for addiction, you will work through your struggles with drug abuse. You will learn how to build healthy life skills, as well as coping mechanisms for overcoming drug cravings. You will establish sober and supportive relationships that will last you a lifetime. You will re-discover accountability.
After drug rehab, you will need to take everything you’ve learned in treatment – from following a routine, to exercise or meditation, to cooking nutritious meals – and carry it into your everyday life. You will need to make a commitment to ongoing care and management after rehab. You will need to make a promise to yourself. This essential to a successful recovery.
Of course, this doesn’t sound easy—and it isn’t. However, when it comes time to leave your treatment program, rest assured you will be prepared. With most rehab programs, you cannot graduate or leave treatment until you are deemed ready and fit to do so.
At Turnbridge, we ensure clients are ready for life after rehab through a slow reintegration process. As clients make successful strides through each phrase of treatment, they can move onto the next.
- Phase I: Reconnection
Phase I of treatment is the most structured for young men and women at Turnbridge – complete with clinical care and therapy, individualized treatment plans, and 24/7 support. This is a time in which they are encouraged to reconnect with themselves – getting a better understanding of who they are and why they are here. They work with counselors to help get to the root of their drug problems, and begin to form a connection and respect for themselves once again. This is also a time in which they will begin to connect with others in their treatment program, and start to connect the dots of their lives. In Phase I, clients learn how to establish healthy sleeping, eating, exercise, social, and self-care routines.
To move onto Phase II of treatment, clients must have accepted the possibility of a successful, sober life beyond drug addiction – realizing that there is a better way of living – and have begun to embrace themselves and their life ahead.
- Phase II: Reintegration
After establishing a foundation for healthy living in Phase I, clients can begin Phase II, which involves planning for life after addiction and rehab. In Phase II, clients develop more independence and begin to follow routines on their own: preparing meals for themselves, shopping for groceries, budgeting, attending classes, taking public transportation, going to 12-step meetings, and enjoying sober, leisure activities with friends. All the while, they still receive individualized care and therapy in our clinical facilties.
Phase II often marks a physical and emotional transformation for clients. Not only do they feel better physically, they also have a healthier state of mind. They have developed the skills needed to take on what happens after rehab is complete – and it is at this point, they are ready for Phase III.
- Phase III: Revitalization
Phase III involves practicing real-world living. It is like life after rehab, without actually leaving rehab completely. We call this structured sober living. In this stage of treatment, clients have gained more independence and are in greater control of their day-to-day. They are working outside the facility, attending classes or volunteering, and regularly traveling for these activities. They are also exercising, eating nutritiously, attending meetings, and practicing self-care on their own volition.
This type of sober living in Phase III is designed to bridge the gap between treatment and life beyond it. It is designed to fully prepare them for what happens after rehab, and equip them with the skills to live a fulfilling and healthy lifestyle (all while still being under Turnbridge’s care).
Each client is given an individualized care plan at Turnbridge, supported by an integrated care team of clinicians and case managers. When we see – through performance data and behavior – that a client is fully engaged in recovery, practicing life skills successfully, and working towards positive goals, we begin planning for her departure. How?
Before a client leaves our treatment programs, we connect with the physicians, therapists, counselors, workplaces, and educational facilities that will become a part of his or her life and aftercare plan. This helps establish a network of quality relationships for each client, builds a bridge of therapy, and ensures the transition between treatment and mainstream life is as seamless as possible.
Tips for Life After Rehab
- Find transitional housing. After leaving rehab, it can help to find a transitional home where you will be surrounded by others in recovery. Look for structured sober living homes (also called halfway houses) that will help support your drug- and alcohol-free life. You may also ask others in treatment if they are or will be seeking roommates after treatment is complete.
- Have an aftercare plan. At Turnbridge, we ensure clients have a plan in place for continuing care. This means regular check-ups with a mental health professional and your clinician, as well as attending support groups to keep you on track after rehab. Maintaining a regular schedule of 12-step meetings can be an incredible recovery tool.
- Do healthy things you love. Building a happy and satisfying life after rehab can feel daunting. What will you do without the blanket of drugs and alcohol? You will do things you love, that are beneficial to your relationships and your life. Use your newfound life as a chance to do things you’ve always wanted to do, such as taking yoga classes, going back to college, joining a collaborative art studio, volunteering at a charity, or learning how to play an instrument. To learn how to build a positive sober social life after rehab, click here.
- Know that there will be hard days. Substance use and mental health disorders are chronic, meaning they will stay with you even after rehab is complete. Some days will be harder than others—especially those first few months, when you are getting used to this new way of life. However, these days won’t be as hard as they used to be, because you will have the skills needed to get through the difficult cravings, emotions, and situations when they do arise. You can turn to meditation, journaling, exercise, or meetings when you’re overwhelmed. And if you ever have a hard day, know that you can call on your sober support network – the connections you made in treatment – for help and guidance, too.
If it is not you, but instead your loved one who is in recovery from substance addiction, the best thing you can do to prepare for this next phase is to know the signs of relapse. It is estimated that between 40 and 60 percent of people in recovery relapse at least once, and this usually happens within the first six months of leaving treatment. This does not mean that treatment failed, but rather, that further work is necessary. Change is very difficult, especially for someone who was physically reliant on drugs every day.
In addition to knowing the common causes of relapse, get to know your loved one’s personal triggers. It may be academic stress, a toxic relationship, or a certain hang-out spot. It may be depressive episodes, or a surge of happiness. When you are aware of these seemingly little things, you will be able to make a big difference if and when a relapse is triggered.
Preparing for What Happens After Rehab
Leaving addiction treatment can be a scary thought. In fact, most clients at Turnbridge do not want to leave – not because they are not ready, but because they’ve become a part of a community that they love. They wonder what will happen to their newfound bonds and skillsets after rehab is complete.
We assure them they are prepared, and that they will always be a part of the Turnbridge family. Turnbridge maintains a strong and active alumni community, with many reunions as well as many alumni becoming staff members themselves.
To learn about the rehab and reintegration programs at Turnbridge, please do not hesitate to reach out. Call 877-581-1793 to learn more.