At some point during treatment, your counselor may sit down with you to discuss your aftercare plan. Some people are a bit put off by the idea of continued care after treatment. After all, you’re done with treatment, right? Well, yes, you’ve completed treatment — and that’s great! But one of the biggest mistakes people who are new in recovery make is leaving treatment with no plan, and no follow-up.
In treatment, you are immersed in recovery. You are in a protected environment. You are away from the people, places and things that you associate with using. While you may be experiencing cravings, powerful emotions and numerous challenges, you aren’t going through these things alone. You are in a treatment center with counselors and trained staff, as well as supportive peers who are going through those things with you. You have access to resources in treatment, and a sense of safety and security.
Once out of treatment, you may feel as though you are suddenly thrust into the “real world” all alone. It’s common for people leaving treatment to feel nervous, or feel as though they aren’t ready, no matter how much they look forward to being done with their program.
Once out of treatment, you may find yourself dealing with a number of stressors: Family conflicts, legal issues, finding housing and employment, etc. On top of that, you may find yourself confronted with temptations, especially if you run into old friends, or you aren’t living in a clean and sober home.
You are the most vulnerable in the early weeks and months after treatment. This is why the statistics on treatment success are so dismal. It’s not that treatment doesn’t work, it’s just that people can’t necessarily recreate the treatment environment for themselves back at home. But, there are things you can do to reduce the chances of relapse. These things can be a part of your aftercare plan.
Each person leaving treatment will have unique needs and challenges. Some people will be returning home after treatment. This may be a good thing, and it may not be. If you are going home to a supportive environment, preferably one that is clean and sober, it’s great. Unfortunately, many people don’t have this. They may be returning to chaos, abuse or a home where drugs and alcohol are readily available. This dramatically increases the chances of relapse.
Other issues that may come up for those leaving treatment include family reunification, finding employment, continuing education, navigating the legal system and dealing with mental health issues. An individual plan looks at all areas of life, looks at your strengths and weaknesses and helps you devise a smart strategy for addressing these issues.
Relapse prevention is the primary goal of aftercare, but not the only goal. Another goal is to help you begin the process of building a healthy, productive life. Aftercare often addresses such goals as:
This process begins before you leave treatment. You’ll sit down with a counselor and talk about your needs and problems. One area that people often struggle with is where to go after treatment. Returning home isn’t always an option, or isn’t the ideal option. Part of your aftercare plan may be to secure a space in a sober living environment.
Being able to support yourself after treatment is the next thing on the list. Do you have a job to go back to? Many don’t. Some treatment centers encourage you to begin the job searching process before you even leave treatment.
Support is another important element of the plan. Do you have plenty of support for your recovery? Do you know other people in recovery? Your counselor may recommend that you begin or continue attending twelve step meetings in order to build a group of supportive friends in recovery.
Another element of aftercare may be an ongoing treatment. It’s common to enter into some type of outpatient treatment program after leaving a residential rehab.
Finally, there will be discussion around relapse prevention. This is where you’ll map out a plan for situations that may come up once you leave treatment. For example:
A relapse prevention plan is essential. There is a good chance that your recovery will be tested. No matter how hard you try to control your environment after treatment, you may still find yourself faced with opportunities to use, or crisis situations that test your new coping skills. What you do in these situations will determine whether or not you stay clean and sober. An aftercare plan can help you do this.
If you are concerned about a family member’s addiction, help is available. An intervention can get them closer to the help that they need to recover, and it can also begin the healing process for your family. Intervention is an underutilized tool that brings results. In fact, interventions are successful 90% of the time. When facilitated by a professional, this process can help break through the barriers of denial and allow your loved one to come to terms with their addiction and behavior so they can move on to the next step. Your interventionist can also help the family learn how to best support their loved one while maintaining healthy boundaries. Intervention Services, Inc. can help you start the process today. They aren’t just there for the addicted individual, they are there for the whole family. Don’t wait for things to get worse, call 1-877-478-4621 today.