Finishing your rehabilitation is a great step, but the challenge now is staying clean for the rest of your life. One study said that most people will reuse at least once during the first year after rehab. How do you stay clean, and what should you do to avoid relapse?

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Why is it hard to stay sober after rehabilitation? What is the meaning of staying sober? It is not a one-time treatment, it’s a process— so there is no need to hide or feel guilty. Your life after leaving the rehabilitation center needs to be simple and lack previous influences. Several studies mentioned that half of the people who aim to stay sober will return to use drugs heavily. About 70 to 90 percent of former patients experience at least one mild-to-moderate slip. Staying sober is not a one-time step, and you’re clean forever. It’s a continual process, during which continual monitoring makes staying clean much easier.  


A former addict’s potential to relapse is rooted in the brain’s two-step addiction process. The first stage of forming an addiction occurs when the drug is consumed and the part of the brain that releases feel-good chemicals becomes overstimulated. The second stage occurs when this overstimulation happens over and over again, leading to long-term effects on other areas of the brain. One of the mental functions impacted by these long-term alternations is memory. Therefore, drug paraphernalia, along with people and places related to someone’s former addiction, tend to cause relapse through the memories that resurface. Reminders of one’s past addiction can act as a sort of cue for the person to overstimulate the brain’s rewarding chemicals once again, hindering the person’s ability to stay sober after rehabilitation.


Another reason people may have a tendency to relapse is because they lack a proper or effective support system to help them on this difficult journey. Based on brain research studies and the lifelong chronic nature of alcoholism and addiction, two or more years of monitoring is an absolute requirement to stay sober after rehabilitation.


What to look for in the support system:

  1. Monitoring: Is there a daily check for drugs or alcohol?
  2. Accountability group: family members, friends, peers to make sure they have the test everyday
  3. Educational materials to help in understanding your case.


To conclude, getting out of addiction is a journey. You need to take with you the proper tools to keep from getting lost, and you need to live in an environment that supports your goal to stay sober after rehabilitation. The key here is to have a system in your environment to help you manage this. For more information about relapse and how to prevent it, visit the original source at the Hayver and Psychology Today websites.


Learn how Hayver can connect you with resources to support your rehabilitation, along with providing advice about how your family can support you as a recovering alcoholic or addict. Contact us at info(at) to find out more.