After Treatment Ends
Completing an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program is a commendable achievement, but the recovered addict’s journey is only just beginning. An effective treatment program will leave an individual feeling almost transformed as if they’re once again the person that he or she was meant to be. However, it’s much easier to learn the skills associated with sobriety while in active treatment than it is to maintain newfound sobriety beyond the treatment period. As such, it’s generally agreed by professionals in the recovery field that some form of addiction aftercare is required to ensure that individuals always have tools at their disposal that help them to sustain recovery for the long haul.
Even though recovery is a lifelong journey, there’s a case to be made that the real work begins after completion of an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. Many individuals underestimate the temptation that they might be facing on a day-to-day basis and tend to be unprepared in terms of relapse prevention.
However, addiction aftercare is designed to provide the newly-recovered with an ongoing network of support as well as a variety of outpatient treatments that can help individuals be more successful in sustaining their recovery. Here are some of the things that aftercare can offer recovering addicts and how the components of aftercare are essential to ongoing sobriety.
What is Addiction Aftercare?
By definition, addiction aftercare is simply any continued intervention services or activities that follow the initial period of alcohol or drug addiction treatment. For alcohol and drug addicts, in particular, aftercare can consist of a variety of treatments including but not limited to individual or family counseling, group therapy, support groups, 12-step programs, follow-up meetings, and so on.
The purpose of aftercare is to provide recovered addicts with whatever might be needed to prevent relapse and sustain recovery, which may take the form of meetings or might involve course-like sessions in which the individual learns new skills, ways to manage stress, and healthy coping mechanisms.
The Causes of Relapse
Over the course of the initial inpatient or intensive outpatient addiction treatment, professional addiction counselors guide addicts through the process of finding their triggers, which are factors—emotions, people, circumstances, or other—that make them especially susceptible to substance abuse.
Although triggers of addiction are very individualized and tend to vary from one addict to the next, there are several contributors that are very common and occur in the majority of addicts. Once individuals learn the triggers and causes of their addiction, they learn a variety of strategies that allow them to either avoid those triggers or to adopt healthier behavioral responses to them.
Of the causes of addiction that addicts have reported, one of the most common is stress. Most addicts report using substance abuse as a means of coping with stress. Additionally, particular emotions such as sadness or emotions associated with a memory or experience have also been found to frequently trigger addiction behavior.
It’s also incredibly common for addicts to associate particular people or locations with substance abuse, which can make being around those people or in those place challenging for recovered addicts.
Special occasions and times of celebration are also frequently associated with substance abuse as well as being exposed to the addictive substance.
Relapse Prevention in Aftercare
The initial period of treatment allows individuals to attain sobriety and initiates the process of recovery, which entails learning the skills and acquiring the tools that become integral in sustaining sobriety for the long-term.
Addiction aftercare is designed to continue what’s begun in the initial inpatient or outpatient treatment with a focus on relapse prevention. As such, there are several forms of aftercare that are designed to make maintaining recovery easier for the newly sober.
Sober Living Facilities
Upon completion of an inpatient treatment program or outpatient treatment program, some individuals don’t feel totally prepared to return home and integrate back into the community. Sober living facilities are a form of addiction aftercare and are an option for those individuals feel more comfortable with a slower, more incremental transition back into the real world.
Like a halfway house, sober living facilities provide graduates of treatment programs with a safe, stable environment in which they can find their footing as newly sober individuals who might still be adjusting to a life free from substance abuse and dependency. As a form of addiction aftercare, sober living facilities help recovering addicts to rebuild their lives by stabilizing their family unit and housing situation, learning to handle responsibility once again, and becoming financially independent by obtaining employment.
It’s been found that many addicts who suffer from a substance abuse disorder also suffer from some other disorder or condition as well. Dual diagnosis support is an important component of addiction aftercare for individuals who suffer from a condition in addition to addiction, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and so on. This form of aftercare provides these individuals with a particular type of ongoing support that is essential to success in continued recovery.
Outpatient treatment is very common as a form of aftercare as it simulates the intensity of inpatient treatment while allowing individuals schedule flexibility and to live at home as they continue treatment. Individuals who use outpatient treatment for aftercare benefit from medication management, individual therapy, group counseling, and skill-building.
Many outpatient programs offer to counsel for families as well, which is intended to foster understanding and healthy communication between a recovered addict and members of his or her family.
Twelve-step and other types of support groups are another popular forms of addiction aftercare as they provide recovered addicts with a stable, knowledgeable, understanding, and caring support network comprised of recovered addicts and others who have experienced addiction in some way.
Recovered addicts are encouraged to attend support groups for the rest of the lives because they offer accountability, a time and place to express themselves free from worry and judgment, and ongoing encouragement. The social component of 12-step and support groups is an important part of the experience, creating a sense of belonging and community among participants.
Achieving and Maintaining Recovery
Continuing addiction treatment beyond the initial inpatient or outpatient program is integral to the long-term success of an individual’s recovery. However, the first step is to attain sobriety and learn what may have contributed to the initial substance abuse disorder.
If you or a loved one is currently suffering from addiction to alcohol, drugs, or some other harmful behavior, please contact our recovery specialists at Drug Treatment Center Finder today. Don’t wait to begin the most important journey you’ll ever take.
Call 855-619-8070 now!