I Finished My Rehab Program for Opioid Addiction: Now What?

Going through addiction treatment and finishing the program is a huge milestone in opioid addiction recovery. But in truth, this isn’t the end of your journey.

Why Life After Rehab Matters Too

Keeping your eye on the prize and getting through treatment for opioid addiction can be a long, difficult ordeal, especially if this is the first time you have attend a professional treatment program. But it is important to remember that you should put just as much focus on your life after rehab as you do on your treatment. Your recovery isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Because addiction is a chronic disease, people can’t simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured.” In addition, many cannot simply attend one treatment program and be cured as well. The process of recovery continues even after one’s rehab program ends, and in many cases, recovering addicts will require additional assistance in order to stay sober and keep improving their lives.

What Assistance Can I Receive After Rehab?

Once your rehab program ends, there are a number of other treatment and assistance programs you can engage in so that you can continue to practice the beneficial skills you learned in treatment. These programs are called aftercare, and rehab centers will help patients set up an aftercare program before their treatment ends. Commonly used aftercare programs for opioid addicts can include:

  • Booster sessions: Booster sessions are less frequent sessions where patients can return to the facility where they received treatment and see their doctors/counselors. This program helps patients “develop a personal program of recovery” while also reminding the individual why they committed to recovery in the first place.
  • Sober living homes: Sober living homes are places where people can live in a drug- and alcohol-free environment as they become stronger in their recoveries. They are not treatment centers, but they often require residents to participate in certain activities like paying rent and caring for the home. They provide an option for those who want to live their lives but also still require some sort of safety net.
  • Support groups: Many people attend support group meetings during addiction treatment, but they can also be incredibly effective means of aftercare. Members receive constant social support from one another during meetings, and most support groups have a philosophy or set of steps one can use to navigate their recovery.
    • Some of the most popular support groups for opioid addiction include:
      • Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
      • SMART Recovery
      • Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)
  • Continued or additional treatment: Some individuals choose to attend another treatment program after their rehab has ended. In some cases, outpatient care can be a beneficial aftercare option for someone who has just left inpatient treatment. There is never a time in one’s recovery where they cannot attend a professional treatment program.

What Should I Do After Rehab?

In addition to attending an aftercare program, you should also make sure you stay on track with your healthy new lifestyle. But this includes more than just avoiding substance abuse. Those living in recovery after treatment should make sure to:

  • Get plenty of rest but not sleep too much
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat healthy meals
  • Use appropriate coping mechanisms to deal with triggers like stress
  • Spend time with friends and family members who support the decision to quit using drugs
  • Participate in fun activities that do not require substance abuse

Your treatment program may be over, but this does not mean your recovery is. In fact, you will still need to be aware of your actions and the way you live your life in order to avoid issues with relapse and other problematic behaviors. Recovery is a process, and you will be able to safely navigate it as long as you take it seriously and ask for any help you may need.