How Do I Stay Sober After Rehab?

One of the great misconceptions about addiction treatment is people can be cured. While addictions are diseases, there is no cure for any addiction. As long as the addiction sufferer lives, the addiction will be living as well.

The good news is an effective addiction rehab program can render an addiction dormant. With the right set of coping skills and the drive to stay sober, any addiction sufferer can live a happy life without being caught up in the cycle of addiction. With that said, the addiction will be off to the side doing exercises while looking for the opportunity for a curtain call.

The above information is very important because someone who has done the hard work in rehab to get sober needs to know the battle is far from over. If you did that hard work, it’s a wonderful thing you have done. You took the time to care enough about yourself to battle something that wants to destroy you. Now, you are charged with the task of trying to figure out how to stay sober after rehab.


It’s normal to be nervous about talking to an employer about an addiction. It’s even normal to be embarrassed about it, though there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Just like you perform a job for your employer, you’re going to have the job of sitting down with them to discuss your job and a possible stay in rehab. Honesty is always the best policy in life, and this situation is no exception. Be candid about your desire to enter treatment, and be honest about the amount of time you feel you’ll need to be away from work.

Assure your employer that you will finish any work projects you have before taking time away. Let them know that part of the reason you’re seeking treatment is that you want to do better at your job and to rid yourself of something that might be hindering your performance in the workplace. Remember that you have no responsibility to tell your co-workers about what’s going on. You can tell them that you’re taking a leave from work. That’s all they need to know.


The drive that got you into rehab is the same drive you will need to stay sober. No one is going to lie to you. It’s hard to live with the disease of addiction stalking you. Just the same, you have already shown the fortitude you need to battle your addiction and stay sober for the rest of your life.

While in rehab, you hopefully got the opportunity to discuss and develop a good relapse prevention plan. This plan should include the steps you are going to take should your sober knees start getting a little weak. A continuing commitment to battling temptation and your triggers will serve you well as will a solid relapse prevention plan.

As for how you can stay sober after rehab, please read on.


Staying sober requires you do the little things as well as the big things to protect your sobriety. As for the little things, that amounts to nothing more than you doing the practical things you need to do to make sure you don’t tempt yourself.

You can start by being honest about your living environment and the people around you. Are you safe? Are the people you are returning home to after rehab going to continue being part of the problem, or will they be part of the sober solution? If you see the potential for problems, you might have to make changes. Whatever it was that drove your addiction is your enemy. If that includes work, friends, family, or your home life, you have to make whatever changes are necessary to stay sober.

Another reminder: If you have an addiction to alcohol, don’t go near bars. Don’t tempt yourself. If pills are your kryptonite, don’t have pills in the house. Avoid the neighborhoods where your drug dealers and drug-using friends roam. Like you did in rehab, keep fighting the good fight and never let your guard down. Most of all, focus on staying sober “one day at a time.”


Now for the big things. The big things would be the relapse prevention resources you hopefully learned about in rehab. All of these resources are designed to help you stay sober. While you may have learned about as many as a half a dozen different relapse prevention options, the following discussion is going to focus on the following areas:

  • Sober Living
  • 12 Step Meetings (AA and NA)
  • Additional Outpatient Counseling


In many cases, the person who is walking out of rehab with a brand new recovery in tow is not quite ready to return to all the responsibilities that await them. That’s why sober living homes are such a vital part of any relapse prevention plan.

A sober living home is a place for people in recovery to use as a bridge between rehab and returning home. In a sober living home, residents get the opportunity to continue building structure in their lives. They keep working on their issues as well as continuing to distance themselves from their drug/alcohol dependence.

While in a sober living environment, residents are required to follow certain rules. The most common rules include:

  • Handling chores around the house
  • Staying sober
  • Attending scheduled meetings and counseling sessions
  • Submitting to random drug testing
  • No inappropriate fraternization with other residents
  • Continuing to make progress towards independence

If that sounds a little bit like rehab, that’s not a coincidence. The purpose of this structure is to protect the resident until they feel strong enough to resume managing their affairs.

While in the home, residents are encouraged to re-establish important relationships at home and work. If unemployed, they are given an opportunity to start looking for work. When their affairs seem in order, and they show signs of responsible behavior, they are encouraged to head out on their own. Important: sober living is voluntary unless dictated by the courts.


No one is expected to battle sobriety without support for others. The best place to find support is in 12 Step meetings (AA and NA). These programs have been around for decades and can lay claim to helping tens of millions of addiction sufferers find and maintain sobriety.

Membership in AA and NA is free. The only requirement for members is a desire to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. The great part about 12 Step meetings is they are designed to allow addiction sufferers to help one another. There are no dues, though members are encouraged to make small donations to cover literature and meeting room costs.

As a member, everyone is expected to work the 12 Steps of Recovery with a sponsor eventually. The steps focus on helping members take responsibility for their past actions, make amends to people who may have been harmed along the way, and to dedicate themselves to helping others who are suffering from a similar addiction. It’s worth noting that while these steps are not built around any religious ideology, they do require each person to put their faith in a higher power of their own understanding.


Sometimes, the person is recovery begins to feel things slipping away. If they are lucky, they might not need more than a few outpatient counseling sessions to get back on track. These counseling sessions are usually available by appointment in their rehab of origin. There’s nothing wrong with a little touch-up work now and again if it means staying sober.

You should be proud of every day that you are able to stay sober. However, you never want to be so proud that you aren’t willing to reach out for a little help when you need it. This is your life, and you don’t want to spend it living in rehab. The best way to stay sober is to do whatever you have to in order to protect your recovery. If you do relapse, please get yourself back into treatment as soon as possible.

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