When you’ve been in a rehab facility for weeks or months at a time, transitioning back into the real world encompasses quite a few steps. Not only do you have to maintain the lessons learned in rehab to prevent relapsing, but you must also get your personal affairs in order. From finding a job and sorting out your finances to rebuilding broken relationships and finding new areas of interest, it can be a lot to take on.
The good news is that most rehab facilities will give you the tools you need to reenter the “real world” after leaving their programs. They often give you tips on how to stay on the straight and narrow as well as resources to help you adjust. Below, are a few self-help tips that can help make life after addiction rehab a lot easier to manage.
Getting a Job
Unless you worked for an employer who offered some form of long-term disability or medical leave, you may be required to find another job after leaving rehab. Though your rehab facility may offer you a list of employers who understands and sympathizes with your condition, you’ll still want to do some searching on your own. Before you set out to find your next employer there are some things you’ll need to know.
- How long a particular substance stays in your system. If you were only in rehab a short while, the substance may not have cleared your system as of yet. This can pose an issue if you apply for a position that requires you to do drug testing as it could show up positive. For instance, you may need to do some research and ask specific questions like ‘how long does heroin stay in your system‘ (or whatever substance you were abusing) to determine if you’re ready to begin testing. You may be able to get a specialized letter from your rehab program that states you have been sober for x amount of days, which can help if there are small traces in your system.
- Do they offer programs or avenues of assistance for recovering addicts? Addiction recovery is an ongoing process that will span long outside your stint in recovery. You’ll want to work in an environment in which provides you with the tools and resources you might need to stay on track. For instance, does the job accommodate your need to go to 12-step programs or therapy sessions? You don’t want to wait until you’re hired to be forced to choose between your job and your health.
- Is it a drug or alcohol-free environment? It is probably not a good idea to jump out of an addiction recovery program and try and work at a bar or nightclub. You want to be in a working environment where the use of substances or even the sight of substances in the workplace is forbidden so that you don’t feel tempted.
Other than that, you’ll probably need to do typical job seeker tasks like developing a strong resume and cover letter as you fill out applications.
Getting Finances in Order
Until you find a job, getting your finances in order might be a bit difficult. Be that as it may, there are some things you can do so that you don’t stress yourself out – which can quickly lead to addiction. This would include:
- Creating a budget on the funds you have
- Checking into government assisted programs for the unemployed
· Contacting your service providers to set up a payment arrangement
- Looking into programs for utility or housing assistance
Repairing Broken Relationships
Lastly, you’ll need to start the process of repairing relationships that you value that may have been damaged as a result of your addiction. This can take time depending on the extent of the damage done, but you can start by extending the olive branch, letting them know where you are in the recovery process, and setting up times to meet and talk. If you can’t do it on your own, there’s also the option to consider going to family or couples counseling for a third party opinion and advice.
Transitioning back into real life will take time. However, if you start with a plan and take it day by day, eventually you will get it together. If you’re having trouble adjusting or coping with life after rehab, remember to talk with your group therapist, rehab center, or counselor for additional help. The key to preventing relapse is not only staying away from triggers, but learning how to cope with stress in a positive light.