Transitioning from Alcohol Rehab to Home

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The transition from a alcohol rehab centre to home is one of the most complex parts of recovery. Once an addict has admitted they need help and have completed the rehab programme, their focus should be to move on and try to stay sober.

Being at home presents a fresh new challenge of dealing with addiction.

While away in alcohol residential rehab like Abbeycare, the addict was isolated and did not interact with friends, family, and co-workers, some of whom may have been their enablers and triggers.

Thankfully, most of the excellent quality rehab clinics out there will take time to prepare one for moving back home and how they can control themselves from relapsing.

So, getting back to the real world needs to be handled with care.

What is the main challenge with being back home?

Rehab clinics may give an individual a sense of invincibility, where they feel that they have kicked their addiction since they may not have touched alcohol for several days.

Being home means that they do not have the same support they had in rehab, and they are now faced with daily temptations.

It is hard to stay away from alcohol while at home, and it takes plenty of willpower to stay sober.

Recovering addicts must try to stay away from all sorts of temptations, such as not going into clubs or bars for a while until they can handle their addictions.

The key here is to try and prevent relapse as much as possible.

Can support groups help?

Yes. There are plenty of local support groups available to recovering addicts. Anyone who leaves a rehab clinic must make use of these groups.

They are filled with recovering addicts, and they are an excellent way for an individual to interact with other people who are like them and listen to their stories of recovery.

Family support is also essential for the addict who comes back home.

If you can have family members live with you, this would be ideal, and they must ensure that they remove alcohol from home to avoid providing the addict with temptations.

What should you watch out for?

For a recovering addict, one of the things to look out for is their associations, especially with people who still abuse alcohol.

These people may want to sabotage the efforts made by the rehab clinic in conquering their addiction.

Stress is another issue. Everyday stresses do not just disappear simply because you sobered up.

This could be a trigger for the addict, and coming back home means having to face their stressful situations again, which could be a bit difficult.

The addict must learn to cope with the daily pressures in a different way than they did before.

If you are a recovering addict, do not make the mistake of thinking that you are not in danger of relapsing because anyone can relapse.

Be prepared for it, and keep what you learned at the rehab clinic close to your heart so you can control the need to take a drink.

Should one consider a sober living house?

If you are having trouble staying at home and maintaining your sobriety, then a sober living house would be a good idea.

This is because sober living houses do not allow anyone still drinking to reside in the homes.

All visitors are also prohibited from bringing drugs and alcohol into the house; neither are they allowed to be under the influence when they visit.

A majority of these sober homes do not offer overt treatment, and as a tenant, you are expected to find work and keep yourself involved throughout your time there.

One must deal with their legal problems and help contribute to the home’s upkeep through meal preparations and chores.

Is one healed after rehab?

Alcohol rehab is designed to help treat the root causes of one's addiction, and they also change the maladaptive thinking that drives one into compulsive behaviour.

While in rehab, an individual undergoes intensive therapy geared towards unearthing and treating the cause of the addiction. It is a lifesaving and life-changing process.

When alcohol is safely removed from one’s system through detox, one feels better and can think more clearly.

It is, however, essential to note that alcohol addiction is an incurable disease of the brain.

Once it has been arrested, one needs to use all of their recovery tools, which they learned in rehab, to overcome the addiction and remain sober.

When you leave rehab, it is normal for you to feel some excitement and a little bit of fear.

This is because you have learned the seriousness of the addiction, but you are also excited about going back home to your loved ones and family members.

Now, because you stayed a few months without touching alcohol, this doesn't mean that you are healed, and you still need to be extra careful so you do not relapse.

How does this affect family members?

Addiction tends to have a ripple effect which is pretty damaging to everyone close.

Families are usually frightened and wary when dealing with an alcoholic. They either keep a distance from the individual or mollycoddle them thinking they will protect them from a relapse.

Close family members and children are the most affected by the behaviour of the addict post and prior treatment.

Some rehab clinics typically have family recovery programmes where the family members attend therapy sessions to help them understand addiction and help the addict adjust to everyday life.

When it comes to children, it is vital to ensure that they receive the right professional help, which can be done through a therapist or a GP.

They may find it difficult to understand addiction which can be traumatising to them in the future.


How should you live your life during recovery?

When one goes through detox, they open a door in their lives that were previously impossible to attain.

People who are new to recovery will need to prepare themselves to make significant changes in their lifestyles.

Previously, living a clean and sober lifestyle may have seemed dull, but they will soon discover that it is anything!

There are many activities one can do, which do not necessarily include drinking.

Here are some examples of activities that can help one stay sober after rehab:

  • Going to the movies
  • Studying a new course or training in new skills
  • Doing volunteer work
  • Playing games such as surfing, fishing, or going to the gym
  • Taking dance classes such as tai chi, or yoga
  • Attending the 12-step programmes
  • Spending some quality time with friends and family members
  • Learning how to play a new instrument such as piano or guitar
  • Socialising with people who are also in recovery like you
  • Having some picnics with family members and friends
  • Joining a spiritual group or church
  • Befriending like-minded people
  • Reading new books
  • Exploring the world through travels

Most people live their lives without centring it on alcohol, and you can, too. Soon you will discover that you don't need alcohol to have a good time and enjoy life. Alcohol addiction will just ruin your life.

Sober and clean life can be pretty meaningful as it will expose you to new people, new activities and even give you the confidence to tackle different things in life.

You will end up with a new zest for life because when you are clean and sober, the world is your oyster! There is nothing you cannot do.

Addiction is an undisciplined lifestyle that prevents you from doing some of the things you have always desired.

You will find yourself enjoying sobriety! Learn to do what you enjoy and get a new attitude about life.

How can I recognise they are about to relapse?

You recognise the signs of relapse quite quickly. For example, if your loved one starts reminiscing about the times they abuse alcohol, this is a potential sign of relapse.

If they start reconnecting with old friends, they would drink and visit the former places associated with their addiction. This is a big sign that they are about to relapse.

Other signs include:

  • When there is a sudden behavioural change and attitude
  • When they have stopped attending their support group meetings
  • When they suddenly lose interest in their new hobbies
  • When they start keeping secrets

Please note that relapse should not be considered a failure, and it should be seen as an obstacle to the process of overcoming a life-long journey to sobriety.

It offers you an opportunity to reassess your path and get back into the programme to get the help you need and maintain your progress.

Most people who struggle with addiction tend to undergo more than one course of treatment before finding their footing in the journey to success.

Ultimately the only person who can help manage their addiction is the patient. Rehab will help give you the skills needed to remains sober.

How do you convince someone to back into alcohol rehab?

Relapse is, in most cases, a part of the recovery process. Very few people can quit “Cold turkey,” which is even dangerous without proper medical supervision. 

Once someone relapses, they must get help as soon as possible. Just like other medical conditions, addiction needs medical care.

If you have reason to believe that someone you love has relapsed, approach them with care, talk to them calmly without judging, and do not confront them under any circumstances, especially when they are under the influence of alcohol.

If you are trying to get someone into alcohol rehab refrain from any accusatory statements, and instead, ask them some open-ended questions while listening actively.

This is a better strategy than attacking them.

How do you further plan for their recovery?

This should be done in advance. When your loved one comes home after rehab, you must try and help them transition easily.

One of the most important things you should do is sit the whole family down and develop responsibilities.

When someone is fresh out of rehab, they need to have a schedule to keep them occupied, especially their minds.

Preventing them from relapsing requires you to have some realistic expectations of what they can handle.

This is not the time to start imposing rigid schedules and strict rules. It will work best if you involve the addict every step of the way.

According to statistics, aftercare is an essential component of success and long-term abstinence.

The recovering addicts who receive the appropriate aftercare have a high chance of staying sober compared to those who do not.

If you do not receive the appropriate aftercare, you are ten times more likely to relapse within a year.

These residential clinics provide aftercare as part of the treatment in most cases.


Completing rehab is a significant achievement and one that should be celebrated. The illness of addiction is a difficult one, and most people never complete rehab.

It is, however, essential to recognise that the natural recovery begins once rehab is over because this is where the actual test starts.

Staying sober and clean away from the strictness of rehab requires a lot of commitment and dedication. This is a lifetime process for both the individual and the family.

It is not easy, and if you have a loved one suffering from alcohol addiction, learning how to help them while they are in rehab will make it easy for them to transition from recovery to home.

Do everything you can to ensure they do not relapse and that they have a smooth transition? All the best.

Abbeycare Pricing Bot

About the author

Laura Morris

Laura Morris is an experienced clinical practitioner and CQC Registered Manager with over twenty years experience, over ten of which have been as an Independent Nurse Prescriber.

She has held a number of senior leadership roles in the substance use and mental health sector in the NHS, the prison service and in leading social enterprises in the field.

Last Updated: October 31, 2023