The Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid after Leaving Rehab

Upset woman

The transition from staying at a residential treatment facility to going back home can be a little overwhelming. In order to remain successful, there are some important mistakes that a person should avoid making.

1. Hanging out with people who are using drugs.

This should seem like an obvious one but many a relapse has started out with someone spending time with the same people while they are using or drinking. The difficult thing is that by the time a person has developed an addiction, they are usually spending the majority of their time with other people who drink or use drugs. This can make early recovery somewhat isolating because if all of your friends use drugs then what friends do you have left?

Although it is not ideal, it would be far better for someone in recovery to not hang out with anyone than to hang out with people who are drinking and using drugs. Sure they may be able to stay strong for a time while being around people who are using, but sooner or later their resolve will begin to disintegrate. It’s not easy to make new friends, but it will be a lot easier than trying to stay sober while hanging out with people who are getting drunk or high.

2. Going to bars or nightclubs.

This one kind of goes along with number one and again should be obvious but sometimes isn’t. If a person has recently quit drinking then the worst place for them to go to is a bar. There is no reason that can justify doing so. The longer a person hangs out in a bar, the higher the chances are that they will relapse.

3. Not applying what was learned during treatment.

Why spend a couple of months out of your life learning new skills and then not even apply them? It is important to utilize the tools learned during treatment, they have a purpose and if used correctly they can work. If they didn’t, then they wouldn’t have been taught in the first place.

4. Trading one addiction for another.

A lot of times people in recovery will think that it is ok to use some other form of drug so long as it was not their original drug of choice. The fact of the matter is anyone who has had a history of addiction has a higher risk of developing another addiction to something else if they use it. Just because alcohol is legal doesn’t mean it is a good idea for someone who was addicted to street drugs to drink.

Man at home.

5. Not establishing and maintaining healthy habits.

Healthy habits are an important aspect of addiction recovery. Without them, it is easy to slide down the slippery slope of relapse. If a person is not eating well, sleeping enough or regularly getting exercise, they aren’t going to feel very good about themselves. When a person doesn’t feel well they are more inclined to want to drink or use drugs. On the other hand, if a person is taking good care of himself, they will feel better overall and not want to ruin that feeling by getting drunk or high.

6. Not sticking to a productive routine.

While it is important to have rest and time to relax, it is even more important to remain productive. When a person fulfills their responsibilities and has accomplishments that they can feel good about, their chances for success increase considerably.

7. Not maintaining balance.

It can be easy to fall into the trap of working too much or not making time for self-care or family. These things are important aspects of living a balanced life. The more balance have in their life, the more at peace they can feel with themselves and the better they will be able to handle stress.

8. Not asking for help when it is needed.

We all get overwhelmed in life and everyone experiences stress. Sometimes in early recovery, it can be especially challenging to deal with these sorts of situations because the crutch of drugs and alcohol has been taken away. This is why it is especially important to reach out for help when it is needed. Having a good support system can make a world of difference.

9. Not maintaining healthy boundaries.

If someone is always saying yes to things that they don’t want to do or allowing people to treat them in ways they are not ok with, then they are going to feel bad about themselves. It is important to figure out personal standards and stick to them. When we learn to stand up for ourselves and what we believe in we become empowered.

10. Not learning how to have fun while sober.

This is one of the most important things that a person in recovery needs to learn how to do. While it may take some time to figure out what is enjoyable again, it needs to be done. Humans are meant to laugh and have a good time, and when we don’t life becomes unbearable. Take (reasonable) risks, try new hobbies and learn how to have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. No one wants to stay sober if they are miserable all the time. While we can’t be happy every moment of the day, learning how to enjoy life sober is certainly an important skill to have.

These are just a few of the things that a person should work hard to avoid after leaving treatment. Every person is different so it is important to find what works best for you and stick to it.



After overcoming her own addiction in 2012 Julie went on to become certified as an addiction counselor in order to help others achieve a life of recovery. She worked in the addiction field for 8 years and now uses both her personal and professional experiences with addiction as an influence for her writing.