Aftercare Treatment After Rehab
It has been proven time and time again that those on the road to recovery with a long-term plan, healthy aftercare and ongoing support are much more likely to stay healthy and addiction-free than those who are without any aftercare.
What is Aftercare?
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process that begins with the cessation of substance use through counselling or a treatment facility and continues with aftercare. Aftercare is any number of things that are done to help support a person who is going through recovery.
This could be a connection with a sponsor, attendance at recovery meetings, or a 12-step programme, residing in a sober living facility and attending counselling sessions either on your own or in a group setting.
A solid aftercare plan is crucial because when a person is leaving a treatment programme, they are at risk for relapse during the first several months after completion of that programme.
At Rehab Recovery, our individually tailored aftercare services include:
- Regular check-ups and care calls with clients to assess progress
- Discussions with the family and friends of clients to ensure that they are kept in the picture about their loved one’s recovery
- Advice and recommendations including coping strategies and other mechanisms that can help our clients live their lives addiction-free
The Goal of Aftercare
Aftercare is designed to provide clients with the tools that they need to cope with the challenges presented to them in their new sober lifestyle. A client will need to redesign their entire life and make better choices when it comes to personal relationships, their lifestyle, and the activities that they engage in.
The client needs to learn how to identify what their specific triggers are and how to stop themselves from reacting to stresses that will lead them to a relapse.
Additionally, if a relapse occurs, the client needs to understand how to get back on the road to recovery instead of returning to the abuse of substances.
It is important to have a support network of peers and groups that can help you move ahead with their recovery, and who will not encourage you either directly or indirectly to return to old habits.
What Does an Aftercare Plan Include?
During your rehabilitation programme, you will work with a team of expert psychiatrists, counsellors, and doctors who will constantly evaluate your progressand any difficulties that may arise. This will then be coordinated into your recovery plan, which will reflect your own priorities and obstacles.
Generally, every successful aftercare treatment plan contains these key elements:
- Personalised Goals: The programme is tailored to fit the needs of each person, individually. There is no “one plan fits all” for treatment programmes. Each person who is recovering needs a programme that contains the elements that will help them the most. Some people require more one on one counselling, others require better peer support. A programme works best for a person when treatment is delivered in a manner that is effective to reach them the best. Treatment providers should be properly certified and licensed and experts in their treatment fields. Each individual should have aftercare treatment tailored to their age, education, social situation, gender and medical history
- Easily Accessible: The individual who is accessing a programme should be able to easily participate in it without inconvenience. Aftercare support programmes are most easily accessible when a person stays at a residential aftercare treatment facility
- Full Coverage Treatment: A treatment programme that treats every aspect of the individual’s needs including emotional, social, and cognitive is more successful than simply establishing abstinence after the initial withdrawal
- Maintaining Accountability: The person undergoing treatment needs to attend therapy, group support meetings with peers, take their medication, and keep any appointments that they have. The person must also abstain from substance use and there may be some type of testing involved to ensure this including urine testing, blood tests and breathalyzer tests administered by a doctor or other licensed practitioner
- Regular Evaluations: A good aftercare programme should constantly examine the progress of the individual and then adjust the programme so that recovery continues in a positive direction. The success of an aftercare programme largely depends on the ability of the administrators of the programme to be able to evaluate, assess and adjust it
Why Aftercare is Crucial to Recovery Success
When a person completes a treatment programme for their addiction they are not magically cured. Once a person has developed an addiction there is no cure, instead, they must complete recovery treatment and then learn the tools that they need to help them to stay sober for life.
Upon leaving a treatment programme, the individual will face many different situations where they will feel tempted into substance use. Many will experience some severe setbacks that could lead to relapse.
The purpose of an aftercare programme is to provide ongoing assistance to an individual with the right amount of support that will increase their chances of recovery for the long-term.
Even when an individual has been provided with all of the tools that they need for success, there is still a chance that they may experience a relapse. When a person does not follow up on their treatment with an aftercare programme, they put their recovery at risk.
When a person is in an active recovery programme, they are better equipped to deal with a relapse and returning to their recovery programme with renewed commitment because they realise how far they have come and what they stand to lose.
A relapse decreases the probability of future relapses when the person is involved in an aftercare programme.
The main reason for this is that aftercare treatment programmes will use the experiences of each person to help them to gather strength and avoid future relapses, thus providing a better chance at long-term recovery.
Creating an Aftercare Plan
You may think that aftercare is not important to treatment and recovery but it is, in fact, one of the more important parts of the process of rehabilitation.
Aftercare helps a person to gather the tools that they need to help them to prevent relapse as well as developing the skills that they need to cope with situations that may tempt them into situations that can put their sober lifestyle at risk.
An aftercare plan is usually designed in consultation with a team of therapists and clinicians who can arrange appointments, offer ongoing support, and provide contacts for the person in recovery. The better the aftercare plan, the higher the chance of success for the individual.
Aftercare is important because it provides a safety net for the person in recovery so that they have the support that they need to stay sober and connect with others who have similar values and goals that can provide inspiration and motivation for success and a clean future.
It is important to include everyone who is important in the recovery process in the Aftercare Plan of the individual.
This includes not only the patient but also their family, any peers who support the patient and therapists who can offer treatments. If the patient is spiritual, their spiritual leader should also be involved in planning.
What are the 5 Pillars of an Aftercare Programme?
In recovery and aftercare, you may hear the term ‘pillars’ being used. This term covers all goals, objectives, and aims in an individual’s recovery plan. Every successful recovery programme has 5 pillars and those are:
- Establishing a sober lifestyle – eliminating temptation and cutting ties with people that the individual was regularly using substances with, and instead, create new friendships with people who are sober
- Goal setting in an educational programme or vocational training
- Relapse prevention – having a plan in place for relapses when they occur to sustain a long-term recovery plan
- Strategies for coping – particularly when a patient is faced with social and emotional triggers that may cause them to relapse back to substance use
- Continuation of therapy – therapy is key in helping a person to set boundaries and goals for the future
Options for Aftercare Programmes
A successful and healthy aftercare plan involves grounding yourself in positive communities and building strong networks with the right kind of people. It is also about enhancing communication and committing to a wealth of therapies to help you understand and deal with your emotions.
Some of the therapies we recommend to all patients in aftercare include:
1. Support Groups
These groups are found in most communities and are a safe place where people meet to discuss challenges, stories, and strategies for coping with addiction issues. Participation in these groups is confidential which can encourage people to attend and be open and honest.
2. Alumni Programmes
These programmes are designed for former patients of rehabilitation programmes and offer patients a means to keep in touch with the team the assisted them in dealing with their addiction issues. Motivation can help a patient to stay committed to their recovery goals after completion of their main rehabilitation programme.
3. Sober Living Homes
Patients transitioning back to everyday life from a stint in a rehabilitation facility are extremely vulnerable and can relapse with the pressures that they encounter. A sober living home has strict rules and structure that encourages patients to be accountable and to contribute to their own recovery.
The rules generally include attendance at house meetings, drug screening, household chores. No substance abuse is tolerated by any of the patients.
Most participants in this type of after-treatment facility experience good outcomes with longer periods of sobriety, support from peers, and less potential to experience legal issues after completion of rehabilitation.
4. Ongoing Therapy
Patients who complete a treatment program generally do so in a residential facility that has monitoring and supervision and then transition to a recovery centre on an outpatient basis.
Services are scheduled for the patient including group support, management of medication, and counselling.
The Importance of Talking During Aftercare
For the person in recovery, treatment with a therapist can assist in working through mental health issues and to create a relapse prevention plan. Outpatient counselling/therapy is useful to improve communication between the patient and their family and can help them to find a job.
The right therapist can make all the difference in the world to the patient so it is crucial that time is spent in looking for one that brings out the best in them and that they feel comfortable sharing their deepest thoughts with.
Outpatient programmes work well for those who can attend counselling sessions and have a stable home. If the patient has no stable place to live, it is a good idea for them to stay in an aftercare facility that supports their treatment to the maximum potential possible.
Tips to Avoid Relapse
Relapse is an unpleasant part of recovery, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce your risk of relapsing including:
- Build a network of peers for sober support. Reach out to these people to assist you when you have cravings or triggers. Sober support can be found at alumni groups, recovery meetings and online forums
- Develop a plan for relapse prevention including identifying triggers and creating a plan for what you will do if triggers present themselves
- Make a list of coping strategies including breathing and journaling
- Attend recovery meetings on a regular basis to support you and avoid relapse
- Attend counselling and therapy sessions to talk about your cravings
- Find hobbies that you enjoy and get busy doing them
- Ensure that your environment is drug-free
- Care for yourself by getting plenty of rest, exercising regularly and eating healthy food
The Benefits of 12-Step Recovery Programmes
There are many important benefits to 12-step recovery programmes including guidance from a sponsor to assist in working through the 12-steps while providing the motivation and strength to move through the programme.
A client can have access to reading material and motivational speakers that can help them to reach their goals in recovery.
A person in a 12-step programme can connect with others at meetings and events worldwide and form bonds that can never be broken. Guidelines and strategies are provided to clients to help them to deal with the challenges of addiction on a daily basis.
Recommended Aftercare Steps for Individuals
Sobriety is a series of continuous decisions and actions that a patient makes during their lifetime.
Sobriety is difficult in the early stages of the process but as new routines and habits are adopted and the patient starts to form important peer relationships, the process starts to become easier and milestones are achieved.
How Family Helps in Aftercare
Family can help a loved one who is in Aftercare by educating themselves about recovery and addiction.
This can help them to understand the various steps of addiction and recovery. It is important for the family to celebrate the successes of their loved one, particularly in the early days of recovery.
Families can keep alcohol and drugs away from their loved ones and make an effort not to use or drink in front of them. The encouragement of healthy behaviours by modelling them is another important way to support a family member who is recovering from addiction.
Aftercare is not the end of the road for recovery. It is most successful for the client when they are in a live-in setting where they have access to all of the tools they need to continue on the road to recovery.
Ready to get help?
At Rehab Recovery, we offer high-quality counselling & therapy services tailored to your individual needs. To discover your new life and access support to help with your addiction, call us today on 0800 088 66 86.