What Happens After Drug Rehab?

Last Updated: September 25, 2023

Once the initial rehab is over some of the hardest work is just beginning. Attending drug rehab is often the initial step for an addict to get their life on track.

But, what happens after drug rehab?

Sadly, life after rehab isn’t always the easiest. In fact, rates of relapse are around 60 percent for drug addiction. This is due to the fact that addictions never truly go away, the temptations usually continue to exist for the rest of their lives.

But, even if relapse does occur this shouldn’t be looked at as a failure. Often, relapse is seen as part of the lifetime recovery process and should be thought of as a hurdle, not an end to your life of sobriety.

However, there are steps you can take to help prevent relapse from occurring.

Below we dive into exactly what these steps entail and how you can make the best decisions moving forward, once the initial drug rehab is complete.

Deciding to Go to Aftercare

Aftercare will help you make the most out of your transition to a newly sober life. When you’re just getting out of rehab you’re going to need all the tools and support available to help maintain your sobriety.

There are different kinds of aftercare available, but it could be in the form of support groups, counseling, group therapy, or life skills and coping methods training.

To increase your chances of maintaining your sobriety it’s a great idea to participate in some form of aftercare. Sometimes, the facility where you went through rehab will have an aftercare program built into treatment.

What Are the Common Causes of Relapse?

Unfortunately, relapse occurs for a variety of reasons. Staying off drugs is easy when you’re at the treatment facility, but this becomes an immense challenge back in the real world.

Every case is different when it comes to the reason the person decided to start using again. However, some of the most common causes of relapse are highlighted below:

Lack of support

Drug recovery is very difficult both physically and emotionally. For this reason, it’s crucial that you have some form of support. That could be your family, or new peer group, or even a support group of others who are dedicated to living a sober life.

Drug and alcohol cravings

Drug use can be a very hard habit to break. Especially, if you’re attempting to simply fall back into your old life. Without having healthy habits replacing your drug use, it’s all too easy to relapse.

Lack of lifestyle changes

It’s very easy to fall back into old drug and alcohol abuse patterns if you don’t make big changes in your life. Spending time with the same peer group, hang out spots, and even location can work to trigger a relapse.

Being dedicated to your sobriety might mean having to cut people, places, and things from your life that do not support your lifestyle changes.

It’s important to keep in mind that even if you slip up, this doesn’t mean it has to become a full-blown relapse. If you can get back into recovery as soon as possible you can minimize the damages and learn from your experience.

Can Relapse Be Avoided?

A successful recovery requires a series of permanent lifestyle changes. However, it’s recommended not to make too many large lifestyle changes at once, as this could lead to feelings of overwhelm and stress.

You might have a lot of things in your life that you want to fix, but it’s important to break these up over the course of months and years, not days and weeks.

Maintaining sobriety is all about learning and growth.

Below you’ll find a series of steps we recommend to help ease your transition:

Find a sober friend group

Seek out new friends and peers who are supportive of your transition into your newly formed habits and lifestyle.

Change any potential triggers

For some people this might mean moving to a new home, changing jobs, or even relocating to a new city.

Get support

It’s important to have additional professional support, as well as, the support of your family and friends.

Help others with the same problem

If you’re involved in helping others recover it’ll be that much easier for you to stay sober. For instance, supporting a recovering alcoholic will make it much easier for you to refrain from drinking.

Uncover reasons for your addiction

Therapy and counseling can be incredibly effective for helping you reveal the underlying reasons for your addiction. Working through these issues can go a long way towards preventing relapse.

If you require a little assistance with the transition into a newly sober life, then reach out to our team of treatment professionals today.


“How effective is drug addiction treatment?” NIH, Dec 2012. Web. 20 Apr 2016.

“Recovery and Recovery Support” SAMHSA, 5 Oct 2015. Web. 20 Apr 2016.

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