What to Expect After Rehab

Last Updated on August 11, 2023

After completing a drug and alcohol rehab program, your recovery journey is far from over. In fact, you’ve just begun! Although some individuals choose not to move forward with any formal treatment options after drug rehab, you are much more likely to achieve lifelong success in your sobriety if you continue with a long-term treatment plan.

There are many different options for continuing your recovery journey and what’s best for someone else may not be what’s best for you. Before making a decision about your plans after drug rehab, you should spend some time talking to your treatment team about your options. Since your treatment team has walked with you through your rehab program, they will be able to recommend ongoing care based on your individual needs and circumstances.

While everyone’s sobriety journey after rehab will look different, you should know that no one route is better than the other. Regardless of how you continue your recovery after rehab, the most important thing is that you prioritize your physical, mental, and spiritual health by maintaining your sobriety.

What to Do After Rehab

Once you’ve completed your drug rehab program, you have several different options for continued care.

Enroll in a Sober Living Program

Sober living programs provide structure and accountability at a time in your sobriety when it’s needed most. In rehab, you focused on learning and developing the skills you would need to live a sober life on your own. Sober living programs give you the chance to practice those skills while you gradually learn how to maintain your sobriety on your own.

Transitional living programs can also be customized with various recovery support services to fit your needs. Although a high-quality sober living program will typically offer regular drug and alcohol testing, you may also consider enrolling in additional support services such as personal monitoring and/or an employment and education assistance program. These recovery support services will intensify the impact and overall benefits of your sober living experience.

Sober living houses are located in many different areas across the country, so you can choose a location that is most comfortable and fitting for your needs. Many people find that relocating to a new city or state after rehab gives them a fresh start, provides opportunities for them to establish new relationships in a recovery support community and offers a healthy living environment that is supportive to their sobriety. A sober living home may be especially beneficial for you if the environment within your home is chaotic, unstructured, or encourages substance abuse.

Begin an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Another option for continued care after drug rehab is to enroll in an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). IOP programs typically require that you attend a group meeting several times a week with other peers in recovery. During these meetings, you will explore current personal issues, learn about relapse prevention, and practice life skills.

In addition to attending your regular weekly sessions, your counselor may recommend that you also attend AA or NA group meetings to expand your recovery support community. These support group meetings will provide encouragement, accountability, and over time, bolster your confidence in your own ability to maintain your sobriety.

IOP programs usually last about eight weeks but you may also choose to enroll in a Supportive Outpatient Program (SOP) upon completing your IOP. This short-term outpatient drug rehab program meets several times each week. While IOP is primarily focused on counseling, SOP is more focused on helping clients transition back into society after rehab, so participating in both programs is advantageous.

Get Continued Support with a Personal Monitoring Program

A personal monitoring program is ideal for anyone who has recently completed drug rehab and needs some accountability remaining sober on their own. These types of programs are designed to help you stay accountable to your sobriety by regularly checking in with a sober coach, set and achieve recovery goals, and continue developing essential life skills for continued sobriety.

With a personal monitoring program, your sober coach can help you prepare for reentry into society while enrolled in a sober living program or while you’re already living back at home.

Life After Rehab: The Impact of Harmful Living Environments

Although choosing to return home immediately upon completing your long-term rehab program is another option, you should strongly consider your home environment first. In some cases, you may be putting your sobriety at risk by returning home right away.

Studies have shown that individuals who return to substance-using environments after rehab are more prone to relapse than clients living in environments that are supportive of their sobriety. Additionally, low-income individuals, particularly those who have a history of homelessness, are often at the highest risk of relapse because they don’t have many housing options that support their recovery.1

Destructive living environments typically include those where:

  • Substance abuse is current and/or ongoing
  • Addictive substances are easily accessible
  • The recovery of any or all individuals is not supported
  • The environment is chaotic and unstructured

Life after rehab can be challenging and living environments with these characteristics can serve as a serious obstacle for anyone pursuing a life of sobriety.2 If you believe your home environment would be an obstacle for your continued recovery, you are not alone. Many people find that they need to live in a more structured environment after rehab to maintain their sobriety.

If you’re unsure of your plans after rehab, are curious to know more before beginning your drug rehab program, or would like to speak to an admissions specialist on behalf of a loved one, please contact Nova Recovery Center today.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472437/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3057870/
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