Life After Addiction: What to Expect

Life After Addiction: What to Expect

life after addiction

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. You are finally free from the control that drugs or alcohol have had on your life, and now you must direct your energies toward your life after addiction. What to expect in that life depends on a number of steps you can take to make a positive difference moving forward. Use what you’ve learned in treatment to focus on a constructive life after addiction.

Treatment is Not a Cure

Addiction is a chronic disease. Like other such diseases, you can get treatment but there usually isn’t a real cure. Your addiction can be managed successfully, though, just like heart disease or asthma. When you successfully complete your addiction treatment program, you have what you need to be able to counteract addiction’s disruptive effects on your brain and behavior so you can regain control of your life.

Relapse is Not Failure

Life after addiction will be challenging. You will be faced with temptations, cravings, and triggers. You may even find yourself relapsing. That does not mean you have failed. It does mean that you need to work on avoiding triggers by avoiding the places and people that you associate with your previous drug or alcohol use. It also means that you need to reach out again for help to get you back on track if you do relapse.

The Recovery Process

When you stop your drug or alcohol use, that is one major step in a long and complex recovery process. Addiction treatment is not a magical solution. You will need to continue to work on your recovery after completing your treatment program.

When you entered treatment, your addiction had probably caused serious consequences in your life, disrupting your physical and mental health as well as how you functioned at work, in your community, and in your family. A holistic program helps you not only overcome your addiction but also helps you with these other areas that need to be addressed in your recovery.

Rebuilding Self-Esteem

Addiction and low self-esteem have long been known to be linked. In your life after addiction, you will be challenged with rebuilding your self-esteem so you can move forward with a positive, productive life. Some steps you can take include:

  • Write an affirmation that reflects how you want to feel about yourself. You might write, “I am proud of what I have accomplished.” Repeat the affirmation to yourself at least daily, if not more often. Over time, these affirmations can help transform negative self-talk into a more optimistic view of yourself.
  • Forgive yourself for your past mistakes. Understand that your addiction affected your judgment and impulse control, so you probably said and did things that you later regretted. Now is the time to recognize and acknowledge what you did, let go of punishing yourself, and commit to doing things differently in the future.
  • Accept compliments you receive now. When someone gives you a compliment, resist the urge to dismiss it or think to yourself that the person didn’t mean it. Instead, imagine it’s true, and you might just find that it is.
  • Do something kind for someone else every day. You don’t have to make a grand gesture; something as simple as holding a door open for another person, giving up a seat on the bus, or giving someone directions if they look lost can elicit a genuine expression of appreciation.
  • Make positive changes in your life after addiction. If a major change seems like too much, break it down into smaller acts, and choose to do one a day or one a week, whichever you feel you’ll follow through on. With each small change, inwardly celebrate your success in moving toward your goal.

Steps to Success

Your daily life after addiction may look challenging, but you can overcome those challenges with focus and strategies for taking steps to your success.

  • Find sober friends and sober activities. There are many things to do in the Austin area that you can enjoy without drugs or alcohol.
  • Reconsider your work environment. You may need to find a new job if you encounter triggers at work each day.
  • Look for answers when you have questions or doubts. Talking about issues can often help uncover your underlying distress before it activates a craving.
  • Build a support network. Look to groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous for supportive meetings, many of which have gone virtual during the COVID-19 pandemic.


At Sober Austin, we understand that life can be challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to provide the resources you need during your recovery. Browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to contact us directly by calling (512) 522-7135 or emailing