What Is Aftercare?

What Is Aftercare?

Comprehensive individual counseling and diagnosis of all underlying or co-occurring disorders is a part of successful rehab

Most people logically think of inpatient rehab when they think of addiction recovery. While it is certainly true that high-quality treatment is a critical first step in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependence, what many people do not realize is that solid aftercare is often the key to lasting sobriety. It is this ongoing aspect of addiction treatment that sets the tone for a new life free of substance abuse.

Aftercare and Rehab

Addiction is a devastating psychological and physical disease that changes the way the brain works and corrupts the way a person copes with emotional or physical distress or pain. While the physical aspects of addiction (withdrawal symptoms) tend to run their course in a matter of days, the psychological elements of the disease can continue to haunt a person for months or even years after she gets clean. This is why many recovering addicts find it helpful to consider recovery as an ongoing lifestyle rather than a short-term process.

Successful residential rehab programs start the process of recovery with the following processes:

  • Comprehensive individual counseling and diagnosis of all underlying or co-occurring disorders
  • Medically supervised detox
  • Support group counseling sessions
  • Education about the causes and treatment of addiction
  • Introduction to effective new coping techniques

These programs may take anywhere from a month to up to a full year to complete, but regardless of the length of time, they are still only the beginning of the recovery process. Many addicts believe that if they can endure a month or so of rehab they can go back to their “normal” life and be fine. The truth is, however, that in order for recovery to stick, the habits of sobriety must become the addict’s new normal. The key to this taking place is excellent aftercare.

Elements of Successful Aftercare

Aftercare is a term that refers to all of the techniques, practices, disciplines and resources available to the recovering addict after release from rehab. The concepts are explored during rehab, and most addicts even get to experience aftercare elements before they complete addiction treatment. The following are some of the most effective long-term aftercare elements for recovering addicts:

  • Ongoing individual counseling
  • Support group meetings
  • Family counseling
  • Ongoing education
  • Journaling or other creative expression
  • Helping others on their journey of recovery
  • Connecting regularly with a recovery partner or sponsor
  • Engaging in fun and exciting sober activities, outings and experiences

Some people wisely submit themselves to ongoing random drug testing as well.

The concept of long-term aftercare is simple. You will experience temptations to relapse, even if you don’t believe that now. When those cravings or triggers happen you will benefit greatly from the regular contact you have with fellow addicts in recovery. Addiction thrives on secrecy and shame. Aftercare allows you to share your struggles with people who understand and are there for you. Helping others as they recover will also build your self-esteem and hope for the future.

24 Hour Recovery and Aftercare Helpline

If you would like more information about effective aftercare, or would like to be connected to top-quality rehab programs that include extensive aftercare as a part of their treatment, please call our toll-free helpline right now. We are standing by any time of day or night with free, confidential, no-strings-attached advice and help. Call right now.

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