What is aftercare? How do I know a treatment facility has good aftercare?

Addiction recovery is a long and challenging process. While many significant gains can be made in rehab, like getting through the withdrawal phase and developing the tools to avoid triggers and fight cravings, but the story doesn’t end there. Aftercare is crucial to successful ongoing addiction recovery, to decrease the likelihood of relapse.

What Is Aftercare?

Aftercare is simply the support system in place to help you continue to manage your addiction. It in employed to help prevent relapse and to continue offering the appropriate support and tools to help fight addiction.

What Might Be Included?

Aftercare can take a number of forms, depending on what is offered by each rehab facility and what works best for the patient. There should be some form of long term counseling available to help ease the transition between the rehab facility and the pressures of everyday life. This may include one on one time with a counselor, group counseling sessions, group meetings with others who are dealing with similar situations, or all three.

There may also be a social aspect to aftercare. Since addiction recovery often involves breaking ties with friends who use or encourage the use of the addictive substance, social outings with other people in recovery can help rebuild that social network and make staying sober a little easier.

Living in a sober home, or transitional community, available for people who wish to live in a supportive environment with others in recovery, may be the aftercare program for you. These homes are drug and alcohol free, may have reduced rent rates, and include a number of people with similar goals living together and supporting one another’s recovery. These locations don’t usually include counseling, although you can get it separately in addition to living in a sober home. These homes provide a way to ease into the responsibilities and stresses of everyday life and can help financially with a reduced rent rate if you need some time to search for a job. There are generally home meetings to discuss responsibilities and help foster a supportive community environment in the home.

Some aftercare programs may also connect you with a sponsor, an individual who has had a long successful addiction recovery. This person is available to talk to you about the daily struggles of addiction recovery and help counsel you if you fear you are close to relapsing. These relationships can give you a safe place to talk about the temptations, fears, and stresses you face in a positive and supportive manor. You may find this sponsor through a 12-step program (a type of aftercare program), which also offers group meetings to discuss the personal struggles and triumphs that come along with addiction recovery.

For other facilities, aftercare may involve asking alumni of the program to come back and tell their success stories to people currently going through rehab. These speaking events help people on both sides of recovery remember what the struggle is or was for. It reminds the speakers how far they’ve come and reminds the residents that they are fighting for freedom from their addictions.

Finding Out About Aftercare

Most rehab facilities will be very straightforward about their aftercare programs. You can generally find the information on their website or by talking to a representative of the facility. Looking at reviews or talking to graduates of the program can also help you get an idea of what the aftercare is like and how it might help you adjust to life at home again.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate. Get help. Addiction is a serious condition that can ruin lives and damage relationships. Getting help is the best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.

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