Aftercare planning is a crucial part of recovery from addiction. It is the process of identifying an aftercare program and other sources of support that will help you prevent relapse.
The key to a successful recovery lies in a well-planned aftercare plan. If the process to find support doesn’t come easily, reach out to centers like Gallus Detox for help.
Addiction treatment doesn’t end when you complete the rehab program.
Detox and rehabilitation are only the first two steps in addiction recovery.
Aftercare is a core component of addiction recovery to prevent relapse and make your journey long-term. Addiction is a chronic mental disease that requires long-term treatment to maintain what was learned in a rehabilitation program.
A standard course of treatment starts with detoxifying the body and overcoming that physical dependence on the substance. During this step and beyond there’s behavioral therapy where one learns what turned them to the substance, what triggers them to use, and how to cope with these things better and in a healthier way.
But what happens when you get thrown back into this sometimes cruel and stressful world? That’s where your aftercare plan comes in.
What Is Aftercare Planning in Addiction Treatment?
Aftercare involved developing a plan to stay sober. This can include housing arrangements, emergency contacts for support, support group meetings, counseling, and doctor’s appointments.
The core components of addiction treatment include:
- Behavioral counseling
- Medical devices to assist in detox
- Evaluation and treatment of co-occurring diseases like depression and anxiety
- Continued follow-up care to prevent relapse
Aftercare is responsible for the follow-up care to prevent relapse. Your symptoms can change or recur just like those that accompany diseases like diabetes or heart disease. The behavioral therapy you receive during rehab will start to help address these issues, it’s much different when you’re facing these issues in daily life.
What Happens During Aftercare?
Creating your aftercare plan is just as important as implementing it. It helps you understand the risks that may come your way and why it’s so important for you to stay sober.
You’ll design a daily routine, decide on the best support therapies and activities, figure out your family and friend support group, and establish what regular appointments with clinicians will continue to occur.
Common questions you’ll answer when creating your aftercare plan are:
- Why is it beneficial for you to stay sober?
- What are your life goals now?
- Who else benefits from your sobriety? Children, spouse, colleagues?
- How do you think staying sober will affect your daily life?
- What aspects of your life are and have been affected by addiction?
Not only do questions like these allow you to understand your goals and motivations but they also let the clinicians and social workers understand where you are on your road and what steps need to be taken to keep you moving forward.
Most recovery programs agree that there are 5 pillars to a strong aftercare plan:
- Discover and implement coping strategies to manage social and emotional triggers
- Relapse prevention through managing stress and daily risks
- Goals of sobriety like finding a job or starting a new educational venture
- Therapy: peer support and individual therapy
- A routine for your sober life that includes sober activities and new social supports
Benefits Of Aftercare Planning for Recovery
The number one benefit of an aftercare program is relapse prevention. Relapse happens often, so it’s not only about relapse but being given the support to overcome any relapse. Relapse is simply an indicator that more treatment and more support are needed on your journey.
Aftercare provides immediate access to mental health services. Addiction is a chronic mental condition that is often accompanied by co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression. An aftercare plan shows an understanding that you must treat the whole person to be successful not only the symptoms of addiction.
Addiction recovery is a long and constant battle. Any person on this road will tell you that. It’s the same as someone recovering from a physical ailment; follow-up care is required. Addiction is no different. Aftercare provides that follow-up and continued treatment to manage your issues and maintain your sobriety for as long as possible.
How Long Does Aftercare Last?
How long aftercare lasts depends on how long you need it.
They’re available to you until you find the confidence and strength in your abilities to maintain your sobriety.
Most aftercare programs are designed to last from 90 days to a year. There’s no reason that you and your clinicians can’t decide to extend the program if you’re not ready.
How long your initial plan is designed for really depends on your genetics, the length of your addiction, what substance you were addicted to, and even the initial treatment program you started in. Many inpatient treatment programs shift into an outpatient programs initially as part of the aftercare plan.
Many recovering addicts stay connected with some form of aftercare for many years. Some people continue to attend AA and NA meetings, support groups, and therapy for the long term to insure they remain on their path.
Takeaway: There are many benefits to aftercare planning in addiction recovery and treatment.
One of the best explanations for what aftercare planning is, aftercare planning is a structured and ongoing process whereby individuals who have successfully completed a recovery program work to identify those tasks, relationships, and activities that will contribute to ongoing recovery.
In short, it means that it is an opportunity for addicts in recovery and treatment centers to look at what they are going to do with their lives when they leave.
It’s a type of therapy that helps addicts in recovery identify their needs and what they can do once they leave the treatment facility.
The most important reason why this is so necessary is, as the article explains, large-scale studies have shown that individuals require more than 12 months of sober living before attaining full physical and mental health.