Completing an accredited treatment program (inpatient or outpatient) is a great first step to a lifetime of recovery, but what comes next will have a profound impact on your recovery.

Aftercare is, and should be, a major component of your recovery plan. Accredited treatment programs will help you determine the necessary aftercare steps. Below are some key strategies to help you make the transition into years of healthy recovery.

1. Social support

Finding a support network after treatment is paramount to your recovery. This support should come from a myriad of places, from recovery meetings and therapeutic groups to local running groups and hobby clubs. By participating in such activities you will get to know others with similar struggles and interests who can help encourage you and keep you on track.

2. Healthy lifestyle

Nutrition, exercise and relaxation play an important role in your overall wellness, including recovery. Not only is your body still recovering from years of chemical abuse, but health and wellness activities, such as healthy eating and regular exercise can reduce stress, a major contributor to prescription drug relapse. In addition, healthy eating and regular exercise are able to lower stress and improve physical fitness as well as overall mental and emotional stability.

3. Continued care

To augment your chances of maintaining sobriety, continue to seek professional services as needed. If your treatment provider recommends additional services after treatment such as working with a local therapist, physician, or addiction specialist consider these as relapse prevention tools. It is imperative that you continue to participate in these sessions and maintain an open and honest dialogue about your needs, progress, and preferences to better manage symptoms, further develop coping strategies and resources and, ultimately, improve your overall wellness.

4. Life goals

In your recovery, dare to think big and allow yourself to foster hope for the future by developing specific plans to achieve goals—some small, some large. This will help you invest in your identity and maintain a sense of purpose. Often those struggling with prescription drug addiction report a loss of autonomy and self. Don’t let these feelings defeat you. By defining and implementing plans to achieve your goals (e.g. such as advancing your career, attaining a degree, volunteering for a certain project) you can begin to create a lifestyle that helps you reach your full potential. Pursue your passions.

By defining and implementing your aftercare plans and setting and achieving goals, you set in motion a healthy path towards your full potential and continued recovery.