It wasn’t long ago that addiction was believed to be a moral affliction rather than a disease with addicts seen as sinners who were consciously selfish, whose actions and behaviors were self-serving. As a result, substance abuse was widely criminalized, which resulted in many individuals being thrown into prisons or insane asylums due to their compulsive substance abuse. In effect, incarceration was used to force addicts into sobriety and to discourage them from further substance abuse by instating harsh punishments for excessive substance abuse. However, over time we noticed that most of these individuals returned to their previous substance abuse soon after they were released from prison, indicating that there was some underlying process or processes that were causing them to act again their best interests.
Since those days, we’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge on the nature of addiction. We now know a number of factors that are known to make individuals more susceptible to the development of an addiction, including the experience of past trauma or abuse and prior exposure to substance abuse due to having a loved one who suffered from addiction. Much of this knowledge has been instrumental in creating the addiction treatment programs offered at countless recovery facilities nationwide, which afford individuals a better chance of achieving long-lasting abstinence and sobriety than any other treatment methods to date.
With there being such variety in the facilities and treatment approaches that are available, those who suffer from addictions are able to find the programming that best addresses their needs and preferences. As such, the treatment process varies for everyone; however, many individuals are unsure of what to do after treatment. In fact, compared to the prospect of returning home and being solely responsible for remaining sober, rehab can seem relatively straightforward and safe. As such, the following will be a concise explanation of what follows one’s completion of an addiction treatment program at an alcohol or drug rehab.
Understanding That Getting Sober Doesn’t Mean Being Cured
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that there’s a distinct difference between being sober and being cured of addiction. In fact, this is a very common misconception that’s pervasive among those who suffer from addiction and, more understandably, those who have no experience with addiction. Addiction is a progressive and chronic brain disease, which means that, unfortunately, it cannot be cured. In this way, the word “recovery” and phrase “recovered addict” are a bit misleading. Most people will naturally interpret “recovered” as meaning that an individual has overcome an addiction to the point of basically being cured of the disease, but the problem with this is that it contradicts the actual nature of addiction. As such, becoming sober doesn’t mean that one has been cured of an addiction; rather than saying one is a “recovered” addict, it would be more accurate to say that one is a “recovering” addict.
Similarly, since the disease of addiction cannot be cured, this means that one’s journey to sobriety doesn’t end with a person having rid him or herself of the disease. The implication is that the recovery process never completely ends, least of all at the mere point of having achieved sobriety. Although remaining sober will surely become easier as one’s abstinence becomes more familiar and natural, the disease of addiction lurks beneath the surface; if an individual who has been sober for an extended period of time relapses, his or her addiction will resume at almost the same severity as it had been prior to his or her recovery. In short, it’s important for those who have completed an addiction treatment program to keep in mind that they’ve not been cured and they’ve not completed the recovery process; instead, they’ve achieved sobriety and must be solely accountable and responsible for remaining abstinent as a recovering addict.
From Treatment to Lasting Sobriety: The Importance of Transitioning in Recovery
After completing an addiction treatment program, there are a number of different possibilities that one can choose based on one’s preferences and needs. It’s important to remember that the best course of action to take after completing a treatment program is that which will give an individual an optimal chance of remaining sober. In most cases, immediately returning home is not the best choice despite always being an option. Immediately returning home is ineffective for the same reason that individuals are encouraged to go to rehab for more than the 28-day minimum at most facilities; in other words, an immediate return home means that the only recovery treatment an individual has received is the actual treatment program, which is helpful while rarely being enough by itself for one to achieve lasting sobriety. Similarly, utilizing other resources and other types of programming before returning home affords individuals with a gradual return home and transition to the point of being solely responsible for sustaining one’s sobriety.
Create a Plan for Long-Term Abstinence & Sobriety
Having completed an inpatient or residential program, many individuals choose to live in a transitional living facility or halfway house, which is a group living facility for individuals in recovery. Residents are required to pay rent and will often divide chores and other household duties between them while being responsible for abiding by a facility’s rules, which typically includes remaining abstinent — enforced via random, regular drug screens — and following curfews. Additionally, sober living facilities usually require residents to either find jobs or provide evidence that they’re actively seeking employment.
Another possibility is to return home while participating in some form of outpatient program, which offers the best of both worlds — returning home and receiving more treatment — to those for whom an immediate return home isn’t inadvisable. In particular, day treatment programs, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs have shown to be very beneficial when used as a form of aftercare or continued treatment after rehab. Finally, there are millions upon millions of individuals who are active members of twelve-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. These programs are highly recommended both for those who are still in treatment and for those who have completed it. In addition to reinforcing one’s desire and determination to remain sober, these support programs afford those who are still relatively early in their recoveries with a strong and extensive support network.
Find Freedom in Recovery at Drug Treatment Center Finder
There’s no “right” way to get sober. What works best for one person may not be the optimal choice for others. The next steps after drug rehab likely will look different for everyone. As such, it’s important for everyone to receive sufficient information to help him or her find the program that best addresses his or her needs, which is where we come in. At Drug Treatment Center Finder, we’ve helped countless individuals become their respective recoveries by matching them to their perfect treatment programs. For a free assessment and consultation, call us at 1-855-619-8070. A better life of health and happiness is a phone call away.