Completing an addiction treatment program is the first step towards overcoming drug or alcohol addiction and achieving lasting sobriety. But treatment is not the end of your recovery journey. Recovery is a long-term commitment to sobriety that lasts far beyond formal detox and rehab. Despite the hard work and determination that is part of a commitment to staying sober, cravings and triggers are inevitable. These unavoidable parts of life increase your chances for relapse. This is what makes participating in an aftercare program a vital part of your recovery journey.
What is Aftercare in Addiction Treatment?
Aftercare is the term used to describe the ongoing care that occurs after you complete a primary addiction treatment program. The best addiction treatment programs begin planning aftercare at the very beginning of the treatment process to ensure a seamless transition from rehab to a “follow-up” care plan. It is important to mention that completing addiction treatment does not mean care and support from your care providers at rehab abruptly ends. The purpose of aftercare is to ensure you have the help and support you need for as long as you may need it.
Aftercare programs like addiction treatment are unique to the person. Therefore, the elements that comprise your aftercare plan will likely look different from someone else. Most recovery plans include some combination of:
- Ongoing individual or group counseling
- 12-step and similar peer support groups
- Regularly scheduled follow-up appointments with your primary care provider
- Prescription medications (if needed)
- Telehealth options
- Sober living and sober community opportunities
Why is Aftercare Important?
The early days and weeks after leaving a structured rehab can be some of the most difficult for someone who is newly sober. In addition to helping prevent relapse, aftercare programs are important for several reasons. Aftercare often serves as a step-down or transitional step between rehab’s intensive and supported environment and returning home. Aftercare programs are designed around your ongoing care needs. Through support and ongoing therapy, you can continue working towards gaining control of your life after rehab and adjusting to a “new normal” without drugs or alcohol.
In addition to relapse prevention education, many aftercare programs provide coaching and goal setting opportunities, case management options, education, and financial planning services, legal support, housing assistance, and perhaps most importantly, social opportunities. At an aftercare program, you will interact with other sober peers who share the same goals. Many of these peer relationships continue well beyond aftercare as they often form the base of new social groups and support structures.
What to Do When Aftercare Ends
The duration of an aftercare program varies from person to person. For some, aftercare may last a few weeks or months. Others may participate in ongoing aftercare activities for a year or more. While many programs suggest staying actively engaged in aftercare activities for at least a year, there is no plan that meets everyone’s needs. That said, aftercare programs are designed to end when you feel comfortable transitioning out of a strong support environment. But aftercare doesn’t necessarily “end.”
Although a time will come when you may not attend regularly scheduled meetings daily or weekly, certain characteristics of an aftercare program may remain throughout your lifetime. As previously noted, one crucial benefit to aftercare is peer support. By engaging in peer support groups and attending regular group counseling sessions, you will develop relationships with peers who share the same goals. These peers will also be part of alumni events, sober activities, and other functions specific to members of the sober community. It is not uncommon for these relationships to remain a permanent and positive part of your life.
How to Find Aftercare Programs Near Me
If your primary addiction treatment plan is ending, or you would like to learn more about how Liberty House incorporates aftercare planning and care into our comprehensive treatment programs, contact us to learn more. We understand that treatment is only the beginning of your sobriety journey. There are many benefits to incorporating a comprehensive aftercare plan into your addiction recovery treatment planning. Let us help you start on your journey to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment and aftercare programs near you.