Common Challenges Addicts Face After Successful Drug Rehab

Life after drug rehab may seem uncertain and overwhelming. However, by understanding the challenges that most recovering addicts face after a successful stay at a drug rehab facility, you can make preparations to set yourself up for success when you return home.

  • Social — Drug use is often a social behavior. If most of your friends are drug users, you will likely need to find new friends after rehab. If you want to protect your sobriety, you will need to surround yourself with people who respect your decision not to use drugs, encourage you to succeed and support you when the temptation to relapse hits. Your life after drug rehab is going to involve a great deal of self-exploration to find new hobbies, interests and social groups.
  • Financial — Many recovering addicts who have been in an inpatient drug rehab for an extended amount of time haven’t been working or earning an income during their treatment. However, once they complete their drug rehab program, many recovering addicts find that their financial situation is challenging and they have limited resources. In order to make the transition from rehab to life after drug rehab easier, ask your program coordinator if you can begin your job search prior to completing your program.
  • Relapse — Even after successful rehab treatment, the threat of relapse looms. Sobriety and maintaining your health are lifelong commitments. Following your stay in drug rehab, you will have friends and old acquaintances who may test your boundaries, encourage you to try new drugs or attempt to convince you that life was better when you were using. These are negative influences that should be avoided in order to maintain your sobriety.

One of the biggest risks recovering addicts face is overdose. Most overdose cases occur after a period of abstaining from your former drug of choice. While using, you may have built up a tolerance to the drug, which allowed you to use more and more of the substance over time without overdosing. However, many recovering addicts who relapse use too much of the drug and end up overdosing because their bodies are no longer accustomed to the high doses. An overdose of most drugs can lead to coma or death. Life after drug rehab is bright and full of possibilities, but there are also challenges you will need to overcome. Plan for them early and you’ll have an easier time adjusting to your new, healthy life.


Binswanger, I. A., Nowels, C., Corsi, K. F., Glanz, J., Long, J., Booth, R. E. & Steiner, J. F. (2012). Return to drug use and overdose after release from prison: a qualitative study of risk and protective factors. Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, 7(1), 3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction – Treatment and Recovery.

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