Walking out the doors of an addiction treatment center and into the “real world” is an important step to take. It can feel like a very hopeful time, coupled with lots of gratitude and maybe a little fear. The nurturing and protective bubble of residential treatment may be gone, but a new sense of freedom has taken its place. And with that freedom comes lots of choices.
How will I stay sober?
What can I do to have fun?
What will life after treatment look like?
One of the many positive aspects of a drug and alcohol treatment center is that it teaches people how to start living life sober and prepares them for their return home. Most programs encourage their alumni to go to 12-Step meetings (or other recovery support groups), find a sponsor to work with, build a relationship with a Higher Power, and establish a sober group of friends. These suggestions have helped thousands of people to stay sober outside of treatment.
A lot of people who are new to recovery worry that sober life after drug rehab won’t be any fun. Having been so accustomed to the fast-paced and chaotic lifestyle that often comes with addiction, the slower pace of everyday life may seem boring at first. But there is plenty of fun to be had in recovery! Things that once seemed boring because they didn’t involve drinking or using suddenly bring joy, especially when you are with a group of people who understand and respect your sobriety.
There will be ups and downs and moments of boredom. That is why it is so important to engage in aftercare, work with a therapist and/or a sponsor, and build a sober community. Staying connected through meetings and service work will help in those difficult times and can help stave off boredom. Sobriety can become a joyful, rich experience when shared with others.
Life after addiction treatment may be easier at some times and harder at others, but having freedom from the bondage of addiction makes it all worthwhile.