What Is the Importance of Aftercare in Recovery?
Completing a recovery program is a significant accomplishment. Recognizing that you struggle with addiction and accepting help to overcome it is something to be proud of as you graduate from an inpatient or outpatient program.
However, your recovery isn’t over after your initial treatment plan. About 85% of recovered addicts fall back into substance abuse within the first year after completing a treatment program. To maintain your ongoing sobriety, an aftercare program can provide critical support and resources as you re-enter life and reduce the risk of relapse.
What is aftercare? Keep reading to learn more about these programs and how they can help you avoid the pitfalls of addiction after completing a treatment program.
What Is Aftercare?
No one expects a recovered addict to return to life without additional help. Adjusting to a life without drugs or alcohol after a successful recovery program can be challenging to do on your own.
Aftercare programs provide ongoing support as a recovering addict re-engages with family, friends, employment, and living outside of a treatment facility. In most cases, an effective aftercare program helps addicts with these types of goals:
- To avoid relapse and manage triggers in constructive ways
- To maintain the substance-free recovery achieved during a treatment program
- To pursue a life filled with purpose and positive, rewarding relationships
A successful aftercare plan helps newly-recovered addicts find a job, maintain healthy habits, and provides accountability for life beyond treatment.
Why Should I Consider Aftercare?
While a recovering addict changes thought patterns and behaviors during treatment, the world they once knew hasn’t changed. After care programs help an individual continue a successful recovery as they return to the world with a different outlook and better life skills to avoid a relapse. When leaving treatment, be sure to have an established aftercare plan in place to help you deal with the following post-recovery challenges.
1. Old Behaviors Can Be Tempting
While in treatment, a recovering addict stays protected from outside influences. Recovery must begin by removing the substances, dangerous relationships and situations, and triggers that led to drugs or alcohol abuse.
However, when re-entering the world after treatment, those relationships, situations, and triggers are still there. Without a supportive after-treatment plan, it’s tempting to fall back into old behaviors or revisit former contacts who provided easy access to the substances that contributed to your addiction.
Your aftercare plan provides accountability, counsel, and resources to help you avoid past triggers and risky behavior.
2. You’re Part Of a Community
You’re not alone after you complete a treatment program. Your aftercare relationships provide a community of individuals who understand what you’re dealing with and the help you need to maintain sobriety.
In many cases, your counselors and accountability partners have also been through addiction and recovery. They can help you with a life experience that your friends or family might not be able to offer. Your first step outside of a treatment program might be a residential facility with others who are continuing their recovery. Together, you help each other avoid relapse.
The best aftercare teams help you keep away from dangerous relationships and situations back in the “real” world. They also help you re-engage with family in positive, supportive ways to help heal broken relationships and build new lives with loved ones.
3. It’s Effective
You’ve worked hard during recovery to purge addictive substances from your system and learn how to deal with life without the use of drugs or alcohol. You don’t want to start over again with a return to addiction, followed by another difficult period of recovery.
When leaving a recovery program, aftercare plans give you the best chance of continuing your successful recovery without relapse. Equipping yourself with the best chance of successful substance-free living is worth the effort to stay connected with treatment professionals, accountability partners, and therapy plans.
What Can I Expect From Aftercare Programs?
Make sure your aftercare plan meets your needs. Trust the advice of your therapists or treatment team to develop a successful program for you in the first 90 days after completing your recovery program.
Depending on your needs, your aftercare program can include the following types of assistance:
- Job training and location services
- Transitional sober-living facilities
- Transportation and housing assistance
- Continuing education
- Individual counseling sessions
- Group therapy
- Legal guidance
- Financial counseling or assistance
- Medical monitoring or services
It’s common for recovered addicts to have scheduled check-ins with a therapist, social worker, and support groups or accountability partners. Your specific plan should give you the best success of re-entering society, finding gainful employment, and building a fulfilling life beyond addiction.
Aftercare should cover multiple areas of re-entering a life without substance abuse. A well-rounded approach helps protect you from succumbing to temptation or relapsing due to challenges in one area or another.
How Long Does It Last?
The length of your aftercare program should also depend on your needs. Most programs last at least thirty days. For others, a six-month plan could be appropriate.
You might find that as you experience success outside of your recovery program, your aftercare needs taper off as you rebuild a substance-free life. However, it’s essential to complete your aftercare program from start to finish—even if everything goes well, and you feel like you no longer need the plan prescribed to you following your treatment.
Much like recovery plans for inpatient or outpatient programs, follow the steps of your aftercare program to help reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Choose the Right Aftercare Plan For Continued Recovery
Choosing and maintaining the right aftercare plan can help you continue your road through recovery. As a recovering addict, you understand the importance of professional help and ongoing support to maintain sobriety.
Addiction Answers can help you find the right aftercare program for you or someone you love. Contact us for a consultation! We’re here to help you maintain a successful recovery journey after treatment for substance abuse or addiction.
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Don’t go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you’re facing. Get in touch with one today.