Aftercare: What Is It? Why Is It Important?
Seeking treatment for a substance use disorder dramatically improves your chances of long-term successful recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Treatment begins with Rehab or Detox (both terms refer to the same thing, generally speaking). Since the detox process only takes a week or two, the time spent at Rehab (typically 30-90 days) is for slowly introducing the patient to the concept of problem resolution. Addiction is caused by many factors, not the least of which is finding a way to deal with problems without turning to substances. Unfortunately, this cannot be accomplished in 30-90 days. This is why Rehab is the start of one’s recovery journey – the journey MUST continue with aftercare if there is to be any chance of real success. Aftercare is an integral part of addiction treatment, and it’s designed to help you ease back into regular life with a high level of support.
So What Exactly Is Aftercare?
Aftercare is an individualized plan that’s implemented once primary treatment (aka Rehab) is complete. Your aftercare plan is designed based on your specific needs and issues to help you navigate early solo recovery. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration stresses that a successful aftercare plan supports ongoing recovery through evidence-based practices and a range of services that help you maintain motivation and momentum as you move forward in sobriety. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease. While it can’t be cured, it can be sent into long-term remission through a high-quality treatment program. Maintaining ongoing sobriety after treatment is a matter of staying focused and motivated as well as receiving a high level of support and finding enjoyment in a life without drugs or alcohol.
Components of a Typical Aftercare Plan
A typical aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy and participation in a community-based peer support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Other components are added to the plan based on your needs and may include: Time in a sober living community to help you practice and build on the skills and strategies you learned in treatment
- Vocational rehab to help improve your chances of successful employment
- Legal assistance
- Educational assistance
- Help with finding safe housing
- Ongoing monitoring of any mental or physical health problems
- Relapse prevention programming
- Activities that promote developing healthy relationships and engaging in enjoyable pursuits
Aftercare services are provided by individuals and organizations like healthcare professionals, faith-based groups, schools, and peer recovery groups.
Aftercare Case Management
Once you complete your treatment program, Renaissance Recovery follows up with you at regular intervals to discuss your progress and any ongoing needs and issues that may affect your recovery. We make contact at the one-week mark, the one-month mark, and at three, six, nine, 12, 18 and 24 months. Beginning with the three-month check-in, we administer a psychological assessment to get a broader view of your personal recovery journey. Your aftercare coordinator will ensure your aftercare plan is meeting your current needs and will address any new or emerging needs.
Aftercare Helps Prevent Relapse
Recovery is hard work. It requires daily mindfulness and a high level of self-care. Aftercare helps you stay on track with your recovery plan and your short- and long-term goals. The likelihood of long-term abstinence increases by 20 percent for each consecutive month you engage with your aftercare plan during your first six months after treatment. Aftercare is a crucial part of your Renaissance Recovery holistic recovery plan. Engaging in the components of your plan reduces your risk of relapse and offers crucial support during the early weeks and months of post-treatment sobriety. Extensions of this program, such as sober living housing, can help provide added convenience and support to the recovery process, as well as an integrated approach.
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