Life After Rehab: Applying Skills Learned in Rehab To Your Life

November 22, 2022

Life before treatment is often hectic and chaotic, a whirl of stress and substance abuse. Completing treatment can pave the path for successful, lasting recovery. Still, reentering life after rehab can pose its own unique and difficult challenges. The skills that you have learned in rehab need to be carried over and integrated into your life. If you are nervous about it, that’s ok and completely normal. The good thing is that you have already proved your commitment to recovery through detox and treatment. Now, it’s time to use the skills you already have to find a life free from addiction. 

The relapse rates for drug use are comparable to relapse rates for other chronic diseases; however, relapse rates for drug use are lower. Relapse rates for patients with substance use disorder (SUD) are about 40-60%. While this rate can be scary, it can be helpful to understand how to integrate the skills you have learned in treatment to help decrease your likelihood of relapse.

Skills Learned in Treatment For Use in Life After Rehab

Although the main goal of treatment for substance use is to achieve sobriety, doing so requires more than just quitting drug use. There are many factors that must be addressed in order to maintain long-lasting sobriety. These factors may include:

  • Unresolved trauma
  • Disrupted relationships
  • Legal or financial problems 
  • Impaired performance at work or school
  • Underdeveloped social skills 
  • Lack of knowledge of effective coping skills to manage stress
  • Co-occurring medical or psychological conditions 

For each person, there will be skills that are lacking and need work. These are commonly missing pieces that may have contributed to the initial use or abuse of a substance. Below you will find a list of skills taught in rehab and what it could look like to integrate these skills into your life after rehab.

Overcoming Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Untreated mental disorders, including depression, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, personality disorders, schizophrenia, and others, are common with SUD. While these are not necessarily cause-and-effect in either direction, leaving a mental disorder untreated can increase one’s risk of relapse. Within treatment programs, clients learn to address their specific psychological needs. This can include medications and life changes to help maintain their mental and emotional well-being. 

After treatment, it is important to maintain this self-care. While it can look different for every client, it can include continued counseling, support, medication, and lifestyle changes. Remember, you made these changes in the structure of rehab. You must continue to make self-care a priority as you take on your recovery independently.

Strengthening Physical Health

Addiction can cause serious physical health issues, which are initially addressed through detox and therapy. Learning to care for yourself physically is very important as it has been shown to aid in stress reduction, help regulate emotions, and improve the functioning of both the mind and body. In rehab, you learn to recognize physical sensations and ailments, which is the beginning of physical self-care. When you reenter life outside of rehab, it is important to maintain your physical health because doing so decreases your risk of relapse. 

Every person will prioritize their physical health differently. Examples may include:

  • Adjusting your diet to include whole food and protein
  • Finding the time to add exercise to your weekly schedule
  • Making time for a stress reduction activity like meditation, taking a walk, or playing music
  • Staying connected to positive social relationships 

Learning Additional Life Skills

In rehab, you get to look at your life from a different perspective, and therapeutic interventions may include investigating your work and life skills. These skills may include budgeting, job-seeking, interviewing, professional communication, and creating a safe and clean home. Challenges will differ for each client. For example, some may struggle to budget and find financial security, while others may need more help in creating a safe and supportive home environment.

These skills are fundamental, as they are tied to a client’s ability to remain sober after treatment. Bringing these skills into your life can be a challenge, as it may require you to make big changes in your life. It is helpful to remember that these changes can happen one step at a time. Likewise, it is important to be patient with yourself as you truly learn these skills. While it is helpful to learn a basic understanding, it takes time and energy to learn how they will look in your life after rehab. 

Improving Communication 

Communication is a key factor in your personal and professional life. It is essential to be able to tell others what we are feeling and need. This will help build better boundaries and improve intimacy. In rehab, you may have learned to share your experience with group therapy or mental health professionals. After you have returned home, it can feel strange to communicate in different ways. Inevitably, it will take time to adjust. 

However, learning how to communicate healthily is key for lasting recovery. Creating community and setting boundaries are incredibly important skills that are worth the effort. If this is something you are struggling with, that’s ok! Try finding one person you trust and start there. Practice your communication daily and allow yourself time to learn your own limits outside of treatment.

Entering a treatment program is a big step and a start of a new journey. While the main goal of addiction treatment is to stop using drugs or alcohol, sustaining recovery requires us to learn various crucial skills. Rehab programs will help you initially address the issues that have led you to substance abuse and have kept you in the chaotic lifestyle of addiction. However, you must learn how to integrate these skills into your life outside of treatment to decrease your risk of relapse.

Buena Vista Recovery is a treatment center that wants to help you transition out of rehab with ease. We offer support programs to help you continue to learn about yourself and what skills can help you recover. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and needs help in any part of the process, call us today at (480) 741-9414.