You’re finally checking out of rehab and may have 100 things running through your head. Will you be okay? How will things be different? Will you be able to effectively handle the challenges presented to you after treatment.

Here are 5 things to remember when checking out of rehab:

You Are in Charge

There are different schools of thought on the topic of whether addiction is a disease, if it is an entirely emotional and mental problem, if it is a lack of willpower, or a combination of some or all of these. Regardless of how you became addicted, one thing cannot be disputed: You are the only person who will determine whether you are able to stay sober. You are the one who will decide to refrain from drinking or drug use, and it is up to you to do everything in your power to preserve your future by consolidating the gains you have made during rehab. While you may have had help, nobody else made the decision for you to quit, and you are the only person who exerted the effort and persistence it took for you to achieve sobriety.

Recovery Is an Ongoing Process

Congratulations on quitting drinking or drug use. Well done on making it through detox and withdrawals and on taking the necessary steps to complete your rehab. What you have done is praiseworthy and impressive, but it is not the end. Even those who are most successful in rehab do not complete the experience in a condition of being cured of addiction and entirely immune to the possibility of future substance abuse. Now that you are out, you have to readjust to life in the outside world, and you have to make certain changes to yourself, your routine and your relationships in the ongoing process of recovery. If you simply assume that you are “done” with recovery, you will be leaving yourself exposed to the risk of falling back into the trap. Rehab gets you over the major hurdle of quitting and puts you a long way down the road to recovery, but it does not mean that you are fully cured.

You Can’t Afford a Relapse

Rehab is not cheap. Depending on the program, it may cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars per month. Regardless of whether you paid for it out of pocket or had a large portion of the costs covered through insurance, the bill for the rehab program is not the full picture. In addition to the costs of rehab, you also have to consider the amount of money you lost by missing out on work during the time when you were taking off to participate in rehab. This may not only have cost you a paycheck, but might even have meant that you had to give up your job. Beyond the purely economic costs of rehab, there is also the social capital of the belief and confidence that your friends and family members have placed in you, hoping that you can make the most of your second chance in life and that you will be worthy of their trust. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to take any chances with your continued sobriety. By taking even a single drink or using drugs in some other way, you could easily throw all of this out the window and undo everything you have worked so hard to achieve.

It May Be Time to Meet New People

Drinking and drug use are usually not things that an addict always does alone. In most cases, an addict will have a few friends or even an entire social circle with whom he or she engages in substance abuse. The other people may or may not be addicts, but they are nonetheless people with whom the addict is accustomed to getting drunk or high. Now that you have done the work of quitting and traveling towards recovery, it might be time for you to reevaluate your list of friends and raising the question of which ones you should actually be spending time with. Even if they respect the fact that you have quit and do not offer you a drink or a hit, being in their presence will tend to restimulate your own memories and habit patterns and could very well trigger a relapse.

Look for New Activities

While you were living as an addict, your life probably revolved around the ever-present desire to get high or drunk. You worked to get money for drugs of alcohol, you tried to find ways to squeeze in substance abuse during the day, and your social activities were geared toward this as well. Taking up a new hobby, getting involved in exercise or sports, volunteering in the community or any other type of new activity for you to get involved in can be of enormous assistance in your effort to maintain sobriety. For one thing, new activities will help you to avoid the things you used to do that would lead to substance use. For another thing, you can avoid boredom  that could leave you fully exposed to lingering yearnings for drugs or alcohol. Finally, a new activity can help you pull your attention out of the past and into building a future of happiness and a rich and rewarding life.