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Maintaining Sobriety After Alcohol Rehab

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Support groups such as 12 step meetings and SMART Recovery can help you maintain sobriety.

For many people, alcohol rehab marks a turning point in their lives. During treatment, a person unlearns destructive, addiction-based behaviors and replaces them with healthy ways of thinking and interacting in the world.

After completing alcohol rehab, those in recovery must learn to navigate around the people, places and things that trigger old drinking behaviors. Maintaining sobriety after alcohol rehab can be challenging, but nonetheless doable.

As everyone experiences addiction and recovery differently, what may work for one person may fail miserably for another. Some people may require ongoing outpatient treatment supports, while others may only need to attend 12-Step meetings on a regular basis. Ultimately, knowing and understanding your treatment needs can go a long way towards maintaining sobriety after alcohol rehab.

Relapse Prevention

According to Oxford University Press, the risk of relapse runs highest during the first six months after leaving alcohol rehab. Relapse rates can vary depending on the amount of time that’s passed and the type of treatment received:

  • The first month after rehab sees a 19 percent relapse rate after inpatient treatment
  • The relapse rate increases to 34 percent (during the first month) for people who’ve completed outpatient treatment

Without needed aftercare supports in place, the risk of relapse increases considerably. Maintaining sobriety after alcohol rehab requires recovering alcoholics to integrate the skills and tools learned in rehab within their everyday lives.

Aftercare Options

Aftercare options provide recovering alcoholics with the types of treatments and supports needed to maintain sobriety once they complete alcohol rehab. A person’s individual circumstances will dictate which options will work best.

Aftercare options to choose from include:

  • Medication therapies, such as Antabuse or Suboxone
  • Ongoing individual psychotherapy sessions
  • Group therapy programs
  • Sober living homes
  • Family counseling
  • Life skills training

People coming off a long history of alcoholism may require medication therapies to help relieve ongoing withdrawal effects. People who suffer from other psychological problems will likely benefit from ongoing individual psychotherapy and group therapy programs.

Sober living and life skills training work well for people who are putting their lives back together in recovery. Those needing to repair family and/or relationship bonds may well benefit from ongoing family counseling treatment.

Co-Existing Conditions

For people recovering from chronic alcoholism, the effects of alcohol often cause other psychological problems to develop. Depression and anxiety disorders can easily result from the worsening chemical imbalances caused by an alcohol addiction.

In order to maintain sobriety after alcohol rehab, ongoing psychotherapy and possibly medication treatment is essential to keeping an addiction under control. Otherwise, the symptoms of the co-existing condition will make it even more difficult to maintain abstinence.

12-Step Support Meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous has a long-standing history as an effective long-term support for people in recovery. Many people first encounter 12-Step meetings while in alcohol rehab.

Ongoing attendance at support meetings helps to keep a person grounded in the recovery process. When the urge to drink becomes overwhelming, the support and guidance offered by others experiencing the same challenges can prove invaluable.

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