3 Tips for Dealing With Stress When You Leave Rehab

Recovering addicts typically face a number of stressful situations upon leaving rehab. Some of the more common types of stress they must deal with as a sober person include strained family relationships, losing custody of their children, possibly spending time in jail for a past criminal charge and the general uncertainty of life without drugs.

While in rehab at 12 Keys, clients are taught a variety of stress management techniques to help them cope with life after recovery. In addition to practicing meditation, deep breathing exercises, visualization and using cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, recovering addicts may find these three tips for dealing with stress “on the outside” useful stress management activities:


Hiking and camping in the woods is a form of “earth-centered” ecotherapy 12 Keys recommends recovering clients participate in, either individually or with their support group peers.

Research into the palliative powers of nature has shown communing with nature offers wonderfully regenerative properties that alleviate depression, stress and anxiety. According to the principles of ecopsychology, walking in nature feels so refreshing and invigorating because it’s what we evolved to do. Ecotherapists also believe that regularly immersing yourself in nature by hiking or just sitting by a quietly babbling brook effectively reduces feelings of alienation, despair and hopelessness.

Cultivating Your Spiritual Side

Recovering addicts typically report feeling “lost” once they are sober and have a strong desire to find meaning in a life once consumed by addiction. Investigating different spiritual and religious faiths may help clients leaving 12 Keys discover the soulful peace and enlightenment they seek. To some, finding inner peace means tapping into a state of physical and mental well-being that comes from realizing and appreciating the importance of a “bigger picture.”

By attaining a deeper understanding of how our perspective shapes how we cope with stress, we can hope to achieve inner peace by remaining unaffected by things we cannot control.

Do This, Not That

  • Volunteer your services at a nursing home, charity organization or other establishment that needs people to help others who are less fortunate.
  • Learn something new, such as a language, hobby, painting or other creative diversion. When bothered by mental stress, focusing on something other than your own thoughts is highly effective in reducing stress.
  • Talk to people you trust and can confide in. Talking with family members, friends, counselors or clergy is an excellent way to provide relief from stress.
  • Learn to relax by taking yoga classes.
  • Avoid caffeine products.
  • Do not smoke or drink alcohol.

After Rehab Care for Stress Management

12 Keys offers a variety of after-rehab care programs supporting clients and their families during the sometimes stressful transition from treatment center to the real world. Former clients of 12 Keys Rehab are always welcome to take advantage of our aftercare programs for help handling stress and avoiding relapse after treatment. Contact us today to speak to one of our caring support staff members.

The Addiction Blog