Tips on How to Stay Clean After Rehab

Tips on How to Stay Clean After Rehab

Rehabilitation clinics or centers tend to offer a solid and secure foundation for the addict to heal himself from his drug addiction or alcoholism. They also help develop the skills that are needed to recover and cope better with his addiction tendencies well after he has left the facility. The main concern here of course is to prevent relapse after rehab, since relapse is the most common issue among recent rehab graduates.

To stay clean after leaving rehab, aftercare and follow-up treatment is offered in centers like Lanna Rehab. Dual diagnosis is also of great help because more often than not, the underlying condition might be the root cause or act as an exacerbating factor to the addiction. The addiction might even be a symptom of disorders like depression or PTSD.

Starting to Move on from Rehab

Moving on from rehab can be quite exciting after spending all that time treating your addiction. After all, once you’ve completed rehab treatment, it is assumed that you’re ready to resume your life – one that’s better than the one you abandoned for three to six months. But this is not necessarily the case; it’s just like how graduating from college doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re guaranteed a good job for the rest of your life. You still have to get that job and – more importantly – keep it. In a similar vein, after rehab, you still have to deal with the challenges of relapse and going back to your old (dangerous) patterns.

You will be faced with various obstacles after rehab, particularly when it comes to navigating a more sober lifestyle. Living in sobriety before addiction was you on autopilot. However, once addiction becomes your autopilot or new normal, you have to unlearn these self-destructive patterns and relearn what it’s like to live life without drugs, enablers, and suppliers.

You need to be more self-aware of your strengths and weaknesses while having an honest understanding of what triggers your cravings. This will keep you from relapsing and can allow you to be more aware of your emotional states that can contribute to falling off the wagon, so to speak.

The Nature of Addiction

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Addiction is a type of experience that encompasses all. It also produces effects on addicts and those close to them that cover a wide range and variety. The most commonly abused drugs or substances are alcohol, methamphetamine, ecstasy, cocaine, and heroin. Relapse is common even after you’ve been treated in a rehab center. Therefore, addiction to drugs might need repeated inpatient clinic stays in order to achieve success. Or you can have a follow-up aftercare so that you can get back to society faster without using the seclusion of rehab as a crutch.

Fortunately, there’s a way out of this rut. You should recognize the temptations you face after leaving rehab. Through cognition, you can learn to manage or avoid these triggers so that you’re not a slave to your impulses. It also makes it easier for you to stay sober even after leaving the comfortable confines of a treatment facility. Ex-addicts who’ve achieved success in their ongoing struggle for sobriety take note of several tips for keeping clean after rehab and functioning in their everyday life outside the center while fighting their inner demons of sorts.

The Triggers That Can Lead to Relapse for Addicts

After you’ve left the rehab center, you might find yourself in a situation that can trigger your relapse or circumstances that spark the thought of reversion or going back to your old vices in order to satisfy your itch for addictive substances. Things like certain emotions you feel from out of the blue, seeing old friends and family, or returning to your old neighborhood can tempt you to go back to using drugs or drinking alcohol.

These triggers typically include the following:

  • Stress from work or family
  • Gaining respite from the use of various substances
  • Negative emotions such as depression, anxiety, frustration, and anger
  • Interpersonal conflicts from family members, neighbors, coworkers, or your boss
  • Social acceptance of drug use in your environment like in the case of alcohol or tobacco at parties
  • Even positive emotions such as elation or success can lead to pressure to maintain your successfulness or else you’ll let down those around you

Staying Clean After Rehabilitation is Tough and Requires Self-Awareness


The existence of these triggers or cues is linked with drug use because they induce a Pavlovian reaction of craving and consumption. The cues in and of themselves won’t make non-addicts turn to the bottle or take drugs, but for addicts they’re like fingers poking at light switches that turn on their addiction every time they’re around. It’s through avoidance that you can maintain your being sober as you rebuild your life.

  • Abstinence and Avoidance: One major step towards overcoming your addiction is avoidance. This is why treatment centers are so secluded and you’re encouraged to go to far-off places like Thailand to get rehab. You’re supposed to avoid the people, places, and situations that you used to associate with in order to fulfill your addiction cravings. You’re supposed to avoid triggers that trigger your cravings for drugs since half the battle against addiction comes from abstinence or drug availability.
  • Awareness of Triggers: Be aware of your triggers to relapse as well. You’re likelier to go back to normal life if your drug of choice wasn’t so readily available and the people around you aren’t themselves addicts and/or enablers. Such triggers can overwhelm you and lead you to relapse before you know it. Drop your former addict friends and cut off toxic family members in order to half space in your social network for a new circle of supportive friends and family.
  • Craving Activation and Behavior Influencers: The triggering events outlined in the previous section activate the cravings that influence their behavior every time. This is because it’s also the same happenings that led them to avail of drugs and alcohol in the first place, leading them to the downward spiral of addiction and bad habit formation that’s easier for some to develop than others.
  • Staying Clean Is a Daily Struggle: Trigger avoidance and staying clean after all those months in rehab are a daily struggle. It’s certainly easier said than done. After all, the environment or society you’re in is probably filled with people who participate in activities like smoking weed or tobacco and drinking alcohol, thus you’ll feel left out if you’re not able to join. They’re probably around every corner, in fact.

At any rate, going to rehab involves learning invaluable skills needed to react to these temptations and triggering situations. If you’re triggered, you don’t necessarily need to retreat into a safe space bubble to keep you from relapsing. Instead, it’s all about learning self-control and cognition of these triggers.

How to Avoid or Manage Common Temptations After Rehab

It can be quite tough transitioning from living in a supported and secluded environment of inpatient rehab treatment to normal living with your friends and family even though the whole point of going to rehab was to return to them without the baggage of addiction. However, the truth of the matter is that relapse rates are among the highest from those who recently left rehab and completed their treatment.

There are several things you can do in order to manage or avoid these triggers to relapse in your everyday existence. They include the following:

  • Find a Support Network Following Drug Addiction Treatment: You should get a post-rehab support network. It’s one of the most important methods of helping addicts deal with situations in normal life that can lead to relapse after drug addiction rehab. This social network isn’t an online one like Facebook but more like your real-life group of friends, family members, neighbors, or coworkers who are aware of your struggle and can support you through trying times of temptation.
  • Create Structure in Your Life: During rehab, you will be taught how to create structure in your life. It’s the norm for addiction programs to ask you to make a daily schedule in order to make your life less chaotic and more orderly. This also prevents you from having so much free time that you end up relapsed or with a new addiction just to spend it. It’s important that you stay busy doing constructive work with hobbies, exercise, family activities, school, and work to avoid getting enough alone time to start thinking about your cravings.
  • Cognition Can Help You Avoid Relapse Triggers: Don’t lead yourself to failure and use cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT to become more aware of your emotional and psychological processes. It keeps you on guard without necessarily stressing yourself out with worry and ironically leading you to use various substances just to keep the pressure down. CBT allows you to objectively identify the triggers without letting emotion get the best of you, thus you’re able to avoid them and remain relaxed without necessarily being complacent.
  • Modify Your Environment: Before going home from rehab to resume your life, ask your loved ones or trustworthy persons to remove any paraphernalia in your house that’s related to drugs, like bongs and any drug stashes. Try to avoid places that trigger or spark feelings of longing towards drug usage. You should also establish a support system that’s solid by surrounding yourself with sober people as well as those who have your best interests at heart. You want people who care about you and want to help you become sober instead of merely looking out for yourself.
  • Never Believe You Are Safe From Relapse: Don’t let your guard down. Complacency can lead you to keep yourself vulnerable to relapse by carelessness. It’s as tempting to let go of everything and feel relieved that your addiction phase is over, only to have you end up back to square one with your alcohol, cigarette, or drug addiction. You might feel that it’s okay to visit places associated with your substance abuse or see old friends who still use drugs or serve as your addiction enablers.
  • If You Slip, Get Help and Start Again: Don’t be discouraged. If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again. Recovery by rehab isn’t a straight line from addiction to normal life. It’s instead fraught with peril, slippery slopes, and winding roads that can lead to nowhere or where you were before you underwent treatment. Aftercare can serve as your GPS or road map towards sobriety or normalcy before you began using drugs. It’s tough for an addict to stay clean after rehab because of relapse.
  • How to Specifically Deal with Rough Patches: Even though you know you’re supposed to avoid your triggers and temptations, you will slip up because you’re only human. Once you hit that rough patch and relapse, you should immediately get back into the path of sobriety through aftercare or going back to rehab center if worse comes to worst. Help yourself by accepting that relapse will happen and it’s part of the recovery process. Also, once faced with relapse, you shouldn’t give up and double your efforts to become drug-free.
  • Don’t Be So Down on Yourself: Keep in mind that once you relapse, you can still avoid falling further into addiction by remembering the treatment advice, meditation techniques, and cognitive behavioral therapy you’ve received while in rehab while they’re still in recent memory. Your rehab isn’t for naught, you merely slipped up. Don’t let that time you’ve lost become for naught only for you to become an addict again. Avoid ending up in a Sisyphus-like punishment of going in and out of rehab by allowing yourself to fail and learn from your mistakes.
  • Set Goals for The Future: By setting goals for your future, you’ll have a much easier time to go about temptation management as triggers arise. When you have a sense of why you want to stay sober—whether it’s to stop being the black sheep of your family, stop burning bridges with your closest friends and acquaintances, or to make your son or daughter be proud of their mother or father once again—it will be much easier for you to keep on track to sobriety. You should also deal with things one step at a time, minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day until you altogether forget what it’s like to be high or stoned.
  • Create New Healthier Habits to Replace Your Vices: Replace your bad habits with good ones. That’s practically what you’ve been doing or learning to do in rehab on top of dealing with withdrawal symptoms, after all. According to a European Journal of Social Psychology study, it takes more than 2 months before you can make a new habit automatic or second nature to you. This means you need to do something continuously and with zeal for 2 months until you can do it on autopilot. If you’re going to form new habits, make them positive ones to fill in the holes left by all your drug-taking or alcohol-drinking.
  • Find Outlets that Provide Community and Support: Regardless of where you live and where you decided to go to rehab at originally, you should be able to find positive outlets that provide support and community during your life after rehabilitation. It’s imperative that encouraging individuals, your loved ones like friends and family members who haven’t abandoned you, and your fellow ex-addicts at a support group surrounds you. Attend their counseling sessions and participate in their meet-up activities for good measure.

You can also keep your mind occupied with the following constructive and healthy activities as you transition from rehab to normal life in order to replace those times when you’d instead think about doing drugs or drinking alcohol.

  • Read
  • Exercise
  • Meditate
  • Volunteer
  • Play sports
  • Plant a garden
  • Learn a new language
  • Visit an arts and crafts shop
  • Go back to school or start an online course

You can even apply for rehab aftercare programs as provided by the rehab center you left or some other continuing care outfit that includes alternative support groups, 12-step meetings from Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, checkups, and individual therapy. In other words, get a formal support group in your area for good measure.

Transitioning from Rehab to a Normal Life

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Rehabilitation from drugs or alcohol, particularly inpatient rehab, is all about getting the addict in a supported living environment that secludes him from his usual triggers to use and abuse substances. Going to rehab as his home away from home will prevent him from interacting with his drug dealers, his enablers, and his stressful family or work life that might’ve pushed him to the edge into drowning his sorrows in alcohol or relieving his stress with drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Rehab serves as an addict’s safe space that promotes comfort and relaxation so that it’s easier for him to stay sober as he struggles with his addiction. It takes time for someone who’s addicted to undo the things he learned that led him to become dependent on various drugs and other substances. It takes double the time if he’s genetically predisposed to being an addict at that. However, the greatest challenge he’ll face might not be completing rehab but returning to his home life!

Are You Ready to Get Help?

Before you or your loved one who’s addicted can transition from rehab to a normal life, you need to go to rehab first. Before crossing that bridge, you need to traverse rehab mountain. Thankfully, the Lanna Rehab Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand is here to help. It is one of Thailand’s fastest growing rehabilitation clinics for alcoholism and drug dependence treatment.

Found at the secluded city of Chiang Mai, this resort-like clinic is renowned the world over as a quality destination for world-class addiction treatment that includes detoxification, dual diagnosis, individualized therapy, group therapy, psychotherapy, CBT, DBT, aftercare, and so forth. Please contact them today for a FREE consultation and immediate booking.

Martin Peters

Martin Peters has a BA (Hons) Dip HE Dip RN CSAT III and is the Group Program Director Lanna Healthcare. He is a Registered Nurse and Certified Substance Abuse Therapist working in the mental health field since 1994; Martin has had a wide range of experience in management and supervisory roles within established healthcare systems, and has provided consultancy services to a number of private and public sector organizations in the UK and Asia in terms of management, policy writing, accreditation and recruitment. Martin’s addictions experience has been in developing inpatient services in Thailand since 2009, both clinical and operational. He has been instrumental in expanding and developing a non 12 step inpatient treatment centre and opening a further inpatient centre with a 12 step approach, implementing KIPU Electronic Records, strengthening hospital partnerships, introducing a Scholarship for students under the Masters in Addiction Studies Program at The ASEAN Institute for Health Development and working with an international accreditation body. Martin has also been a speaker at several international conferences on addiction, including ASEAN conferences and has also guest lectured at Mahidol University (Thailand), University of Sarghoda (Pakistan) Institute of Medical Sciences (Pakistan) and has been a representative on the CARF Standards Advisory Committee for 2016.In 2015. Martin became a Co-Founder of Lanna Healthcare, launching Lanna Rehab in March 2016 and opening Jintra in January 2018. In June of 2018, Martin was involved in the merger of Lanna and DARA, becoming Thailand's biggest private licensed operator. Martin is currently a Joint and Asia Health Co Ltd Owner Operator of Lanna Healthcare Co Ltd, which under its umbrella manages Lanna Rehab in Chiang Mai, Jintra Rehab in Chiang Mai and DARA Rehab in Koh Chang - all Thailand MoPH Licensed Addiction Facilities providing world-class treatment in Thailand.

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