What Happens When You Leave Rehab


NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Edited by Editorial Team

Editorial Team

SpringBoard Recovery was born from the passion and personal experience of its founders. We understand the real-world challenges of early recovery and are here to help and we are passionate about helping our clients lead balanced, healthy, and fulfilling lives.


What Happens When You Leave Rehab

Successfully completing a rehab program after battling addiction is a major accomplishment. However, your recovery journey isn’t over when you leave rehab. Sobriety is a lifelong journey, and you have to remain committed to the practices you learned while in treatment. It’s normal to worry about what happens when you leave rehab, but seeking support and preparing yourself for the transition will help you prevent slip-ups.



Getting and staying sober is very challenging, but with the right support network and tools, it's completely attainable.

What Happens When You Leave Rehab After Completing Your Program

As you first enter rehab, it may be difficult to imagine your life without your addiction. When you leave your treatment center, your life will look much different than it did before. This can be stressful and confusing, but being overwhelmed is normal.

Throughout your time in rehab, you’ll learn valuable coping skills for stressful or triggering situations. Your first few days or weeks out of rehab will provide you with many opportunities to use these coping skills in your day-to-day life. Your normal routine after you leave rehab will probably be much different than your daily schedule was in your treatment center, but the skills you developed still apply.

Relapses are most common within six months of leaving rehab. It’s essential that you remember to apply the tools you gained in rehab right away to minimize your risk of a relapse. However, you also shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Cravings and other challenges are common, and having a bad day doesn’t mean that your recovery isn’t successful.

Most importantly, you should focus on your mental health as you transition out of rehab. Maintaining good mental health takes effort every day, but you can set yourself up for success by looking for outside support and by making positive life changes.

Treatment Options After Leaving Rehab

Going from receiving full-time treatment in rehab to receiving no treatment at all can be extremely difficult, so most people seek out some type of follow-up care after they leave rehab. There are many types of continuing care that could benefit you during your recovery. You and your treatment team can decide which option is best for your situation.

Many people regularly attend 12-step meetings after leaving rehab, which provides opportunities for support from people who have been through similar struggles. The 12-step program has been around for decades, and most cities have their own local meetings. If the 12-step method isn’t right for you, there are many other support groups dedicated to addiction recovery that you could try. As you prepare to leave rehab, your treatment providers can make recommendations for support groups in your area.

Some people attend an intensive outpatient program after leaving rehab, which helps them gradually transition back to their normal life. Intensive outpatient is a part-time program that usually involves a few days of treatment per week. This can help you practice coping skills in the real world while still receiving regular support from addiction professionals.

Individual therapy with a mental health professional is another great option. Your counselor or therapist can help you adjust to life outside of rehab and address any challenges you face in your recovery. If you have other mental health struggles that increase your risk of a relapse, individual therapy can help you work through them.


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Making Life Changes After Rehab

Lifestyle changes are an important part of post-rehab recovery. Your brain might associate certain people, places, or activities with substance abuse. You will need to make changes to your environment and your daily routine to avoid those triggers. Some people move to a new neighborhood for a fresh start and to stay away from the places they once associated with drugs or alcohol.

Finding a new friend group is helpful, too, especially if your old friends encouraged or enabled your substance abuse habits. Support groups can be a great place to find new friends who will relate to you and help you maintain your sobriety. Many cities also have meet-up groups for people in addiction recovery to get together, go on outings, and try new activities.

Staying busy is an important part of post-rehab life as well. You shouldn’t overwhelm yourself with events and responsibilities, but you should have plenty of pursuits to avoid boredom and make your life rewarding. You could find a new hobby, spend more time with sober friends, take a class, or volunteer. This will help you feel fulfilled and accomplished, and it can prevent you from falling back into unhealthy thought patterns.

Life after rehab has its challenges, but you can maintain your recovery by remembering everything you learned in rehab. Don’t be afraid to seek extra treatment when needed and make positive changes to your life. If you’re currently struggling with an addiction, you don’t have to handle it alone. Contact SpringBoard Recovery today to receive treatment advice or to begin your recovery process.


  1. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-can-i-expect-at-a-drug-and-alcohol-rehab-program-67865
  2. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-staying-clean-and-sober-67900
  3. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/why-did-i-relapse-21900
  4. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/five-ways-to-curb-your-drug-cravings-22363
  5. Mental Health: https://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mental-health
  6. US National Library of Medicine: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670779/
  7. Verywell mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-can-i-expect-at-a-12-step-meeting-63409
  8. Behavioral Health Care: https://www.seton.net/behavioral-health-care/2017/02/06/expect-intensive-outpatient-program/
  9. Rethink Mental Illness: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/worried-about-your-mental-health/
  10. Psych Central: https://psychcentral.com/blog/5-tips-for-managing-triggers-during-addiction-recovery#1

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NOVEMBER 5, 2018

Robert Castan is a member of the Executive Leadership Team at SpringBoard Recovery. Robert started his professional career as a house manager and has become an industry leader and trusted voice in the treatment world. He brings extensive knowledge of organizational growth, industry-leading outcomes, and comprehensive marketing to SpringBoard Recovery. Robert has been walking his own path of recovery for over 10 years. This path has truly driven his ambition to help make treatment available to others who are struggling with addiction. Robert finds great joy in traveling and keeping physically active, with an emphasis on biking. Robert resides in Arizona with his husband and two four-legged children.   The U.S. Alcohol Crisis, Still Deadlier Than the Opioid Epidemic   Zombies and Other Future Threats to the Health of American Youth Dire Mental Health: A Catalyst for Post-Pandemic Drug Addiction The Benefits of Rehab Center Staff Working Their Own Recovery Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Robert Castan on Successful Addiction Treatment and Entrepreneurship Castan: The road less traveled of addiction & recovery in Scottsdale Opioids & COVID Driving Phoenix’s Rising Fatal Drug Overdoses Opinion: The Opioid Crisis + COVID-19 = The Perfect Storm Successful Addiction Treatment Programs & Entrepreneurship

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