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Maintaining a sober social life after rehab

Life after rehab might seem exciting, worrying or even boring. However you feel about it, the chances are you’ve got mixed emotions and expectations. 

Winter months can be both a social time with Christmas parties and families and friends getting together to celebrate Halloween, Bonfire Night, New Years Eve. And they can be a lonely time when it’s easy to hide away and give in to temptation alone at home. 

We’ve got advice, and suggestions, on how to maintain a social life, not get lonely and still remain sober. 

How is life after rehab?

Often people feel a real mix of emotions after finishing rehab. You can be proud of what you’ve achieved and still worry about the future at the same time. 

Life will probably look different after rehab. You might have lost some friends, or now choose to keep a distance from friends who don’t respect your decision to be sober. Relationships might have changed, both for good reasons like repairing relationships and difficult reasons too. 

Whatever you’re feeling, life after rehab can be good! It’s a time of new opportunities. You’ve got a new start and hopefully confidence in yourself as you’ve got this far. 

So, how do you manage your new stage of life? 

Advice for managing sobriety 

Social pressure

Pressure to take drugs or drink alcohol can be a big challenge for people trying to stay sober after rehab. People in your regular social circles might not respect your decision to be sober. Or, they might now know about your choice to be sober at all! 

We’ve got some tips to help you stay away from situations where you might be pressured… 

  • Tell your friends and family how important sobriety is to you. Share your hopes and goals so that there isn’t any confusion. 
  • Plan an exit strategy. This sounds dramatic, but it could be the helpful plan you need to remove yourself from a tempting or difficult situation. You’ll feel more confident going into a social situation if you have a plan to easily be able to leave.
  • Hang out with supportive friends and family. Choose to spend your time with people who will listen to your goals and support you in your sobriety. 

You might want to stay away from everyone to avoid any temptation or social pressure. But, loneliness and isolation can also be a problem in rehabilitation

How to avoid loneliness and isolation after rehab 

If you find yourself alone a lot of the time, or having to avoid friends and family, there are ways to connect with and meet new people. Especially people who are in a similar situation to you and can understand what you’re going through…

  1. Join a support group where you can connect with other people who understand your situation. You don’t have to do this alone, we can link you up with support groups in your area. Get in touch
  1. Keep in touch with your counsellor, and other people you met in rehab. Being honest with your counsellor is a great way to identify where you’re struggling and might need help. They will have advice and helpful ways of coping. And, sharing your experiences with your rehab peers will help you strengthen, motivate and support one another. 

How can I have fun socially without using drugs or alcohol? 

  • Is there a sport you used to play that you’d like to take up again? Google your local leisure centre to see what they offer. Or, Facebook has lots of interest groups with people getting together to play sports. Just search something like ‘badminton’ and your ‘local area’ and options will come up. 
  • Think about your passions. What do you enjoy doing? What your favourite foods are, places you like to go to and start something creative. Hobbies don’t have to be expensive. You can follow along on YouTube painting, art, DIY or cooking tutorials. Or, join a walking group, try gardening in a community garden. Get creative! 
  • Volunteering is a great way to give back, start a new hobby and meet supportive people. This government website has a list of reputable organisations to get involved with

If you have finished rehab and you read through this advice and feel worried that you aren’t going to be able to have a social life without relapsing, please get in touch with us at Livingstone House. Or, if you are worried about someone else in your life who you think could be struggling with addiction, read more about the help we can offer. 

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