Seeking professional help for your alcohol addiction is a huge step toward a life of greater health, more happiness, and better choices. Unfortunately, many alcoholics falter once they leave the safety of rehab, with relapse statistics for alcohol being anywhere from 50-90%. You don't have to be a statistic, however. By setting yourself up with positive, healthy habits and a solid support system after rehab, you will be much more likely to remain sober. Here are four ideas for maintaining sobriety after rehab:

Start a New Fitness Routine

Getting in shape after rehab is a good idea for several reasons: it gives you something positive to focus on, allows you to set and meet goals, and helps you take care of your body and get it back into an optimal state after years of alcohol-related damage. Perhaps most importantly, working out most days of the week will provide your brain and body with feel-good hormones and brain chemicals, including endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin.

These work to ease feelings of depression and anxiety, help you feel more calm and happy, and act as natural pain relievers. Since many alcoholics begin abusing alcohol in part as self-medication for emotional or physical pain, anything you can do that is healthy and makes you feel happier naturally is a good idea, and exercise is one of the most effective.

Seek Therapy Outside of Rehab

While most alcohol rehab facilities offer skilled therapists and counseling sessions on-site, it's important to continue working on your emotional health once you are back in the real world.A therapist with specialized training in alcohol addiction will help you process and heal from past traumas that may have contributed to your alcoholism, as well as any shame and guilt you feel about your years of alcoholism.

A therapist can also help you learn practical relationship and communication skills, such as setting clear boundaries, that will make it easier to navigate your new life as a sober person.

Have a Daily Centering Ritual

In rehab, it is likely you learned ways to center yourself emotionally in order to be more mindful and avoid resorting to drinking when something happens that triggers a negative emotional response. Whether you learned to meditate, practice deep breathing, focus on positive mantras, or write down your worries and possible solutions in a daily journal, it's a great idea to continue this practice once you leave rehab.

Set aside time each day in the morning or evening to sit with your thoughts, relax, and practice centering and mindfulness. This ritual is something you can look forward to and retreat to any time you feel anxious or worried.

Talk to Your Friends and Family

The more open you can be with your friends and family, the better. Express how difficult getting sober was and how important it is to you to remain sober. Explain that in these important months right after rehab, you may be feeling a bit vulnerable and like your sobriety is fragile. Ask for help, whether it's having your friends and family avoid drinking around you for the time being, or becoming activity partners for healthy new hobbies and activities.

You may want to suggest that they attend a few Al-Anon family group meetings to gain a deeper understanding of your sobriety and struggles. If particular friends live unhealthy lives and intentionally put you in risky situations, it may be time to distance yourself from those friendships. Remember that true friends will want what's best for you, which means supporting your sobriety and health.

Maintaining sobriety after going to rehab for alcohol addiction isn't easy, but you can do it. Following these tips will help you create a healthy, sober, and fulfilling life post-rehab. For more help, reach out to treatment centers like Pacific Ridge.

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