Can You Go To Parties After Leaving Rehab?
In rehab, recovering addicts need to grapple not only with the life they have left, but the life they will return to. For most residents of rehab, everything from family to social situations to work is tangled up with addiction. Family relationships and a healthy work balance are components that addicts learn to improve in rehab. But what about social situations?
In some cases, there is an easy answer. Friendships that you had with other addicts who are still using substances need to come to an end for both of your sakes. However, these are far from the only relationships that will bring you into contact with substances. Most people who have not struggled with addiction drink at bars, restaurants, and parties.
Can you go to parties after leaving rehab? Here’s what you need to consider.
Rehabilitation is a process
While we generally refer to inpatient treatment when we speak about rehab, rehabilitation itself is a much broader process. It continues beyond the rehab center and, as such, your personal experience will continue to change.
Physical injuries provide a simple analogy. A runner who fell and broke their leg badly might spend weeks or months in rehab before they can walk normally again. But they will not start running marathons again as soon as they have regained normal movement. Rather, they will start by taking walks. Rushing the process puts them at risk of erasing all their progress.
The same is true when you leave alcohol and drug rehab. You are now clean and have skills to keep from relapsing. However, you need to practice these skills in the real world.
Going to a bar with friends a week after you leave rehab may not be the best idea. But that does not mean you can never be around alcohol again. You have to assess each situation based on where you are in your rehabilitation.
Evaluating Your Sobriety and Readiness
Before attending parties after leaving rehab, it’s essential to evaluate your sobriety and readiness. Reflect on your progress, identify triggers, and assess your ability to resist temptation. If you feel confident in your ability to maintain your sobriety in a party setting, it might be worth attending.
Assessing the Party Environment
The party environment plays a significant role in determining whether it’s a safe and supportive space for someone in recovery. Consider factors such as alcohol or drug presence, attendees’ behavior, and the overall atmosphere. Opting for parties where substances are not the primary focus can help minimize the risk of relapse.
Setting realistic expectations and establishing boundaries
Setting boundaries is crucial when navigating post-rehab social situations. Determine what you are comfortable with and communicate your boundaries clearly. It’s important to manage expectations and understand that parties may not be the same experience as they were before. Focus on enjoying others’ company and engaging in meaningful conversations rather than relying on substances for entertainment.
Friends you trust
Not all of your friends will understand your process. There will be some who are skeptical about addiction or who are uncomfortable talking about it. You don’t necessarily have to break off these friendships. However, these are not the sort of people to spend time within risky environments.
If you do want to go out to a restaurant or party where people will be drinking, go with friends who you trust with your process. These are the people who visited you in rehab, have experience with addiction themselves, or simply have a lot of empathy. In their company, you are less likely to drink or use substances.
Utilizing exit strategies
Preparing exit strategies before attending parties after leaving rehab can empower you to leave if you start feeling uncomfortable or triggered. Plan an exit plan with a trusted friend or family member, and establish a signal or code word to indicate when it’s time to go. Remember, it’s okay to prioritize your well-being and remove yourself from situations that may jeopardize your recovery.
Embracing Alternative Social Activities
Attending parties doesn’t have to be the only way to socialize after leaving rehab. Explore alternative social activities that align with your interests and values. Join support groups, volunteer for community events, or participate in sober gatherings. Embracing these alternatives can provide a sense of community and connection without compromising your sobriety.
Speak to your therapist
The good news is that you don’t have to make these decisions alone. Speak to your therapist about your progress. They will help you achieve clarity on where you are and what you are capable of. Be honest about the situation and your fears, and work together to reach a reasonable decision.
Engaging in ongoing therapy
Continuing therapy or counseling sessions after leaving rehab can be highly beneficial. Regular sessions provide a safe space to discuss your experiences, address any challenges, and receive guidance on navigating post-rehab social situations. Therapists can equip you with valuable tools and strategies to support your recovery journey.
You can go to parties after leaving rehab. However, rehab is an ongoing process, and you need to consider whether you are ready to enter these kinds of environments again.