Why is Aftercare Important for Recovery?
After you complete rehabilitation, you’ll likely feel a sense of relief and anxiety about returning home. Both feelings are completely normal. Although, what you may not realize is that your battle with addiction is far from over. After treatment you’ll probably head back to your old stomping grounds. This is where relapse typically occurs. Home is where your triggers thrive and the temptation to abuse addictive substances surround you. The best chance you have for protecting your new-found sobriety is taking advantage of aftercare programs. Aftercare programs are just as they sound: a plan for post-recovery that keeps you safe from relapse and focused on staying sober.
How Can Aftercare Support Recovery?
Aftercare planning is one of the most crucial “recovery plans” to consider. Clinicians, our medical team, and case managers come together to create a comprehensive plan of post-recovery goals. Aftercare planning situates clients in stable living conditions, potential job prospects, and continuing resources to help keep clients sober. One of the most helpful part of aftercare planning is creating a list of coping skills to overcome personal triggers. This is typically referred to as an “emergency action plan.”
There are three primary aftercare options from which to choose: ongoing outpatient counseling, access to 12-step programs, and access to sober living communities. Let us discuss these options a little further.
Additional and Ongoing Outpatient Counseling
Ask yourself this question: after fighting for months or years or decades of personal demons and addiction, is it reasonable you have fully recovered after 30 or 60 days of addiction treatment? The answer is likely no. The truth is, you probably have a long way to go towards mental and physical health. In fact, it can take years. The good news is a few months of additional outpatient counseling might be what the doctor ordered to prevent relapse and continue strengthening your recovery foundation.
Access to 12-Step Programs & SMART Recovery
12-step programs have been helping people since the 1930s. Membership is free, and all the program requires on your part is a desire to get clean and stay clean. By attending meetings and working the 12 steps, you’ll receive support from an understanding recovery environment. Attending AA meetings is useful for coping with cravings and triggers. For those who prefer to shy away from divinity in recovery, SMART Recovery is available and largely follows a similar process. SMART recovery is evidence-based (meaning it’s scientifically proven to help treat substance use disorders) and implements cognitive behavioral therapy.
Transitioning with Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes exist as a bridge between rehab and returning home. If you leave rehab and don’t yet feel comfortable taking on your life responsibilities or believe you’re capable of preventing relapse, a sober living community will serve you well. Sober living communities are governed by addiction specialists and require drug testing to remain on premises. Clients must agree to remain sober, pursue career and work opportunities, and must return before curfew. Additional support is available, including recovery meetings. Should you feel more support is necessary, your sober living counselor will help you re-enroll into treatment services.
If you have any questions about aftercare planning, please give us a call.