Returning to the outside world after participating in a detox program can be a step filled with complicated feelings. Anxiety over what awaits, excitement about living a sober lifestyle and pride at having taken action toward recovery can all blend together and hit you in a wave of emotion.

Coming to terms with these feelings and addressing the major questions you have will help you return to society after substance abuse detox. Much of the advice you’ll be looking for will be covered in your treatment program, but here are some things to keep in mind when you transition back to your daily life.

Some things will have to change

You are not the same person you were before you decided to invest in help for yourself and start a substance use detox program. You have made progress toward your recovery and your life will have to reflect that, or you’ll risk falling back into the same habits.

Adjusting your life to fit your goals may take some major modification: there will be changes to social groups, family relationships, daily activities, finances, employment and more. These adjustments may be painful or they may be liberating, but taking an honest look at your habits and activities is necessary to preserve your sobriety.

Take into stock the things that were triggers to drug and alcohol use before you started the detox. Nixing those triggers from your life, whether it’s deleting your dealer’s number or avoiding a certain bar, is definitely a step you need to commit to. Sure, there were good memories at times, but those people and places also contributed to an intensely damaging addiction and aren’t worthy of the new you.

Learning to cope in other ways

One of the hardest things about returning to society after substance abuse detox is figuring out how to deal with difficulties without turning to old habits. The urge to seek out drugs and alcohol is not only a mental habit but it’s physically ingrained by the addictive properties of the substance.

Something that you’ll have to keep in mind as you pursue recovery is that you can’t combat addiction by simply not doing drugs and alcohol. You have to replace the behavior with something healthier. Instead of visiting the bar after work, take a different route and hit up the gym. Rather than calling a friend who uses when boredom strikes, call up a relative who will support your recovery and invite you over for a home-cooked meal.

Eventually, these replacement coping mechanisms will feel more rewarding than the substances (and leave you feeling better long after). It takes time to build a habit but replacing substance use rather than just avoiding it will reinforce your recovery.

Prepare for weak spots

Staying sober isn’t hard when you’re having a good time laughing with clean friends. It’s not tricky when you’re enjoying a day at the beach or getting a promotion at work. Maintaining sobriety is hard when bad things happen — when your finances are down the drain when your significant other leaves you or when a loved one passes away.

Anticipating challenges is one of the best ways to stay on top of your triggers to usage. Enlisting the help of friends or your mental health professional is one of the best ways to plan for potential weak points in your recovery. You’ll need support in the hard times and it’s better to be prepared than to expect perfection of yourself in the toughest moments.

This isn’t doomsday prepping, but making plans for the worst-case scenario can save you trouble down the line. If you know you’ve got an event coming up, like a wedding that will feature an open bar, consider appointing a trusted friend to be your accountability partner. He can take away that champagne glass or drive you home if the temptation is too strong. Or if your job is majorly stressing you out, have a family member check your bank account so someone will know where and how you’re spending your money and can call you out if things look suspicious.

Check out aftercare programs

The last thing you want is to lose the progress you’ve made. Detox is often the most painful step, emotionally and physically, and you don’t want to fall back into addiction after all your hard work. One of the smartest things you can do to set yourself up for lasting success is to sign up for continued treatment.

According to the American Addiction Centers, engaging in services after leaving a detox program is proven to assist with longer-lasting sobriety. Continued treatment can offer a range of benefits including medication management, peer support and therapy, as well as connection to resources for money, housing, education and more.

Rejoining society after substance use detox can be a scary step in your recovery journey. Knowing what you’re up against can help you to make important lifestyle changes, learn other ways to cope, prepare for weak spots and get involved in aftercare. Have courage and enlist help when you need it because you deserve to live a life of freedom from drugs and alcohol.

Take action today and check out all the ways that Real Recovery can help. Real Recovery offers partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, family programs and more. You’ll be treated and respected as an individual as you engage in evidence-based treatment from passionate professionals. Call (855) 363-7325 to get started today.