Life After Treatment: Six Steps for a Lifetime of Good Health & Sobriety

Life After Treatment - Freedom From Addiction

The truth is that a high percentage of individuals who attend treatment for substance use disorder may relapse at some point for a variety of reasons. What remains clear is that if one does not prepare for transitioning back into their reality, their chances of relapse increase.

Here are six steps to increase your chances of staying sober after treatment:

1) Organize your life; create structure.Creating a routine can help provide an individual with a structure, which is important especially early on in recovery. Creating a plan, keeping busy, and focusing on the positive actions that have worked while getting sober will help set one up to be successful in long-term recovery.

2) Build and foster your support system.Having a healthy social support system when focusing on staying sober can decrease the chance of relapse. Be sure to include others who are focusing on living a life free from substances in your support system. With a sober support system, you can re-learn how to have fun without alcohol or drugs, gain confidence, and are more likely to stay honest and on track. When you are struggling, spending time with your sober support system can help re-focus you.

3) Continue therapy with a licensed mental health professional.Continued psychotherapy on an outpatient basis with a licensed mental health provider with experience working with individuals with substance use disorder is a very good idea for those leaving an intensive treatment program. Psychotherapy is important in helping to understand factors that lead to use, processing feelings, and developing healthy coping skills.

4) Know your triggers and be prepared with action plans.Knowing your triggers can help you identify those situations that might be high risk for you. Limit your time in high-stress situations and have a plan in place for when you are experiencing cravings and triggers.

5) Focus on and acknowledge yourself.It is important to acknowledge all the hard work and dedication you have invested in your recovery. Be proud of yourself; you’ve earned it. Equally important, focusing on yourself and engaging in self-care is essential to your recovery.

6) Be aware of the signs of relapse!Things like being dishonest, slipping back into old patterns, allowing old friends you used with back into your life, not attending support groups anymore, being overconfident, or stressed can be some signs of relapse risk. Be on the lookout for these changes in mindset and behavior and have plans in place for if they do happen.

– Dr Rachel


Dr. Rachel Needle has specialized training in the area of substance use disorders. She is a professional consultant to substance abuse facilities and assists them in expanding and enhancing clinical programming. Dr. Needle also does expert training on the topic of substance abuse, mental illness, and sexual health for staff members at residential and outpatient facilities that specialize in alcohol and substance use disorders. 

| Facebook: Dr. Rachel Twitter: @DrRachelNeedle

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