Suggested links

Addiction Recovery

The addiction recovery process is a lifelong journey, but what exactly does life look like after receiving alcohol or drug rehab? Various recovery services are available to help you avoid alcohol or drug use, from support groups to specialized therapies. While your journey may be unique to you, let’s look at what your life can look like after getting help for alcohol or drug addiction. The road to recovery is a path to freedom!

Battling addiction and ready for treatment? Find Treatment Now

Get The Facts About Addiction Recovery

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with substance use disorder, you likely have many questions.

Initially, you will choose an addiction treatment program to receive drug or alcohol abuse treatment. But you may wonder what comes next—and what your chances are of living a fulfilling life once your treatment program ends.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most people who seek addiction treatment and remain in recovery support can quit their drug use.

These individuals also participate in less criminal activity, enjoy better work opportunities, enhance their social lives, and improve their overall mental state.

“Because addiction is a disease, most people cannot simply stop using drugs for a few days and be cured. Patients typically require long-term or repeated episodes of care to achieve the ultimate goal of sustained abstinence and recovery of their lives.”

—Nora D. Volkow, M.D | Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Addiction Recovery Options

Various treatment options are available to help you or your loved one with addiction recovery. Treatment facilities range from inpatient and residential care to outpatient treatment.

Your doctor or licensed addiction counselor can help you select the best treatment center for your unique needs.

Sober Living Houses

Sober living houses provide a drug and alcohol-free home for recovering addicts. Sober living offers a safe, supportive environment after people have completed their rehab programs as a way to bridge the gap between the structure of rehab and living back in mainstream society.

Halfway Houses

Halfway houses are sober living facilities tailored to meet the needs of individuals with previous drug abuse issues who also have criminal backgrounds. The halfway house is structured to help these recovering addicts reintegrate into society and learn better life skills to avoid future incarceration.

In many cases, individuals imprisoned for drug-related crimes must live at a halfway house after serving their sentences.

Addiction Medicine

Addiction doctors may prescribe you medication as part of your overall treatment plan. This medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms, diminish cravings, and help you stay sober during and after recovery.

Medical professionals often recommend MAT for treating alcohol use disorder and opioid use disorder. They do not use it to treat all types of substance use disorders.

Medical Detoxification

Medical detox is often the first step in recovery. Many individuals quitting substance abuse will need to go through detox as their bodies work on rebalancing their natural chemicals. Depending on your needs, detox services are provided at inpatient and outpatient levels.

Try Therapy Online

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

We earn a commission if you purchase services through our links.

Take Assessment

Therapy for Recovery

Through individual and group therapy, recovering addicts can improve their coping mechanisms, receive peer support, work through problematic thought patterns, and develop skills that will help with relapse prevention.

All inpatient and outpatient rehab programs offer many evidence-based mental health services to help recovering addicts improve their overall well-being.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy or “talk therapy.” Psychologists use CBT in treating drug or alcohol addiction because it helps individuals discover what negative thought patterns might have contributed to their addictive behavior.

During individual or group therapy sessions, patients will work with the therapist to restructure these negative behaviors into more positive, healthy patterns.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy is another form of psychotherapy commonly used to treat substance use disorder.

DBT focuses on acknowledging and accepting difficult emotions that may be contributing to their struggle with addiction. Individuals participate in DBT during sessions and in skills training groups.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy (MET)

Motivational enhancement therapy (MET) is a type of reward-based therapy model in which recovering addicts have the opportunity to earn vouchers or tokens for positive behavior.

Some examples of this good behavior can include clear drug tests, participation in group therapy sessions, etc.

Motivational enhancement therapy provides recovering addicts with incentives to remain sober, such as movie tickets or special meal vouchers. MET also helps recovering addicts enjoy different aspects of daily life unrelated to drugs or alcohol through these appropriate rewards.

12-Step Programs for Recovery

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are programs consisting of 12 progressive steps that guide individuals in sobriety.

These 12-step programs are available both in rehab and after rehab is finished, so recovering addicts can continue their 12-step work even after completing their rehab program.

Try Therapy Online

Fill out a brief questionnaire and get matched with a licensed therapist.

We earn a commission if you purchase services through our links.

Take Assessment

9 Tips For Life in RecoveryAfter Addiction and Rehab

Once you or your family member finishes rehab, rebuilding your life may feel overwhelming. You may be worried about what life looks like after treatment and if things will ever go back to normal.

The truth is, life after rehab will be different, but that’s not a bad thing! Using the skills you acquired during treatment and making significant changes can lead you to a happier, more fulfilling life. After rehab, the critical thing to remember is to take things one small step at a time.

Long-term recovery is a life-long journey, but many recovering addicts can continue improving their lives after rehab and through the stages of recovery. You can use the following aftercare tips as a guideline for where to start rebuilding once you finish your rehab program.

1. Continue Going to Therapy

Doctors strongly recommend attending individual therapy after your rehab program.

Many times, therapy is provided during rehab. However, continuing to work on your behavioral health can help you maintain long-term sobriety and improve your overall quality of life—especially if you also have a co-occurring mental illness.

Family therapy allows an addict to make amends to family members and work through any other complications resulting from their addiction. Alternatively, family therapy may provide additional healing and support if family issues contribute to your behaviors and initial substance abuse.

2. Find a Support Group

Support groups after rehab are also beneficial. Consider joining a 12-step program in your area to have a supportive group of peers to help you remain sober.

Many other support groups are available, both in-person and online, to give you a sense of community with other recovering addicts who understand what you’ve experienced.

3. Eliminate Toxic Friends and Harmful Situations

As you strengthen your support system through family and peers, you will also want to remove toxic people or social situations from your life.

Making these changes may be hard at first, but if a particular group of people is still using drugs or are connected to your previous drinking or drug problem, spending time with them again will make it hard to stay sober.

Similarly, you may need to avoid certain social situations—like going to bars or old hangout spots—where drug or alcohol use once occurred. Avoiding temptations will improve your chances of preventing relapse as well.

4. Create New Routines

As you eliminate any possible toxic people or situations from your life, you’ll want to replace those with healthier habits. Once you’re out of rehab, creating a new routine will help you develop a new sense of normal.

When creating your routine, consider adding new activities such as fitness, meditation, reading, or forms of self-care that can help you continue to heal emotionally after your addiction.

5. Find New Hobbies & Develop New Skills

New hobbies can be a great addition to your new routine. Is there something out there that you always wanted to try? From crafting to outdoor recreation, engaging your mind and body in new hobbies is helpful in recovery.

Take a look at local classes that are available in your area. Explore a new part of town or go for a walk in a local park. As you continue to work on your recovery, you might be surprised what new hobby calls out to you!

6. Focus on Improving Your Health

One possible suggestion for a new hobby is to get more interested in health and fitness. You don’t have to become a “gym rat” to become more health-conscious, and you can begin being more health-conscious by thinking more about the types of food you eat and focusing on your nutrition.

You can also join a local free fitness group, like a run club, or sign up for a yoga class. This new focus on your health will allow your body to continue healing and provide you with a new hobby. And as a bonus, you may also find a new, healthy social group to support your recovery.

7. Get Plenty of Rest (You Likely Need It!)

As you continue your recovery journey, ensure you get plenty of rest—especially if you are participating in more active hobbies. You’ve completed the initial stage of treatment, but your mind and body are still recovering.

Ensuring you get plenty of sleep will allow your body to heal and keep you mentally refreshed.

8. Set and Accomplish Goals

Setting goals and working toward accomplishing them can provide you with motivation and positive reinforcement in your new drug-free life.

Setting goals doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as finding a support group, continuing a certain amount of therapy sessions, or even creating a new habit like making the bed every day.

Consider tracking your goals in a planner or a bullet journal, and enjoy the feeling that comes each time you check something off your list.

9. Make Amends & Move Forward

One of the more difficult parts of rebuilding your life will be making amends with those you have hurt due to your addiction. Making amends will give you and those you may have harmed the opportunity to work through things and move on.

Making amends with someone may lead to a renewed relationship, and it may not. However, the key is that you are actively working on a better, healthier lifestyle while being accountable for behaviors you made in the past.

Start Your Recovery Journey Now

The first step in recovery is getting treatment. To find out what programs are available in your area, search the SAMHSA program locator or call the SAMHSA free helpline at 1-800-662-4357.

You can also speak with your primary doctor or a healthcare provider to determine what addiction treatment and recovery options would work best for you.

Ready for Treatment?

Centric Behavioral Health, our paid treatment center sponsor, is available 24/7:
Learn More About Centric or For Immediate Treatment Help, Call (888) 694-1249.

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. is a founder of Addiction HelpReviewed by:Kent S. Hoffman, D.O.

Chief Medical Officer & Co-Founder

  • Fact-Checked
  • Editor

Kent S. Hoffman, D.O. has been an expert in addiction medicine for more than 15 years. In addition to managing a successful family medical practice, Dr. Hoffman is board certified in addiction medicine by the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM). Dr. Hoffman has successfully treated hundreds of patients battling addiction. Dr. Hoffman is the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of and ensures the website’s medical content and messaging quality.

Jessica Miller is the Content Manager of Addiction HelpWritten by:

Editorial Director

Jessica Miller is the Editorial Director of Addiction Help. Jessica graduated from the University of South Florida (USF) with an English degree and combines her writing expertise and passion for helping others to deliver reliable information to those impacted by addiction. Informed by her personal journey to recovery and support of loved ones in sobriety, Jessica's empathetic and authentic approach resonates deeply with the Addiction Help community.

  1. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4131. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2006.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, November 20). Recovery Is Possible for Everyone: Understanding Treatment of Substance Use Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Recovery Resources. DEA. (2022, January).
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023a, March 23). Recovery. National Institutes of Health.
  5. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023b, September 25). Treatment and Recovery. National Institutes of Health.
  6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020, June 3). Types of Treatment Programs. National Institutes of Health.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Our free email newsletter offers guidance from top addiction specialists, inspiring sobriety stories, and practical recovery tips to help you or a loved one keep coming back and staying sober.

By signing up, you’ll be able to:

  • Stay Focused on Recovery
  • Find Ways To Give Back
  • Connect with Others Like You
Sign Up For Our Newsletter
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Find Treatment Now