Seeking help for an addiction is often one of the biggest – and most difficult – decisions that you will ever make. It is also, however, one of the most important for your long-term health and well being. Many people think that once they complete an addiction treatment program, they are cured and can go back to living their lives as they did before. The fact is that having an aftercare plan is a very important part of addiction treatment and overall recovery. Addiction is a chronic disease that requires life-long maintenance. But it can be well-managed after rehab with the help of aftercare planning.
What is an Addiction Aftercare Plan?
What makes addiction so difficult to overcome are the long-term effects it can have on your brain. These effects make you crave drugs for weeks, months, and even years after you stop using. These cravings can make maintaining long-term sobriety difficult — especially if you are returning to day-to-day triggers.
Addiction aftercare plans exist to help people in early recovery to maintain their sobriety, avoid relapse, and learn how to fill their lives with positive relationships and purposeful activities. Aftercare plans include assistance and support for you when staying sober is difficult; helping you celebrate positive milestones, and even teaching you new, positive ways to fill your time. In the event of a slip or full relapse, an aftercare plan can help you get back on track without having to go back to rehab.
There are a number of different aftercare options, depending on what best suits your needs. All provide non-judgmental support and empathetic care.
Different Types of Addiction Aftercare
As with rehab, not every aftercare plan will be appropriate for every client. In order to reap the biggest benefits, each client needs to choose a care plan that suits their needs and lifestyle. Some aftercare plans are highly structured and strict, whereas others are more casual to support sobriety in the long term. Some common addiction aftercare options include:
For people who have completed residential rehab and do not have stable housing, live with someone who abuses drugs or alcohol, or enables their addiction, sober living is a solid aftercare option. These programs offer a degree of flexibility to offer short-to-medium term step-down treatment to give you time to adjust to life outside of rehab.
Sober living residences provide a semi-structured setting to get used to life outside of the rigid structure of residential treatment. Clients typically begin with very structured program requirements, such as a strict curfew and regular drug testing, but are allowed more freedom over time as they complete treatment. The biggest advantage to sober living is that it teaches you how to live a normal life free from substance abuse, while supporting you with regular addiction treatment programs.
Outpatient programs are a valuable tool for people whose everyday commitments may prevent them from entering into sober living homes. Additionally, outpatient programs are an important resource for people that already have a strong support system and a stable place to live. They only require a minimally structured aftercare plan.
These programs allow you to live at home while attending treatment a set number of hours per week. As you complete your treatment, the number of hours you have to spend at the facility will decrease. This gives you more freedom to attend to your day-to-day commitments.
For long-term management of addiction, most people turn to support groups in their local area. There are many different types to choose from depending on what you prefer, including 12-step groups, non-12-step groups, and peer support groups. All groups typically meet at the same time on the same day every week. Most meetings typically begin later in the day so that people can still make it to them after work.
Support groups help recovering addicts by giving them a built-in group of people that they can turn to when cravings or occurring or when dealing with complicated life changes. Additionally, support groups can help those new to recovery learn healthy coping mechanisms, celebrate sobriety successes, and simply have people to talk to who understand what you are going through.
Why is an Addiction Aftercare Plan Important?
Addiction treatment doesn’t end when you leave rehab. Sobriety is a life-long process that requires regular maintenance and support. Furthermore, the risk of relapse is extremely high the first year after rehab. However, you can lessen your risk by creating an addiction aftercare plan that works for you.
In fact, multiple studies have shown that aftercare programs significantly improve your chances of maintaining your sobriety for the long term. They provide recovering addicts with the support that they need to be successful after rehab. Aftercare also helps them to learn how to live a fulfilling life that is free from substance abuse.
Addiction Aftercare Plan for Veterans
Addiction is a very serious problem facing veterans today. From the stress of deployments to the shock of adjusting to civilian life, many veterans struggle once they’ve completed their service. One in ten veterans are diagnosed with an addiction. The stigma associated with addiction often deters them from seeking the help that they need.
Sunrise Veterans is here to tell you that there is no shame in seeking help. In fact, addiction treatment only supports your long-term health and happiness. It ensures that you can lead a fulfilling and positive life outside of military service. Our veteran-focused services are equipped to deal with your unique needs, including addiction treatment, PTSD treatment, and other mental health services.
Begin Veterans Drug Rehab Today
The first step towards long lasting recovery usually begins with detox, followed by residential treatment. Our team at Sunrise Veterans Health is looking forward to helping you begin your journey of recovery. If you or a loved one are needing help in order to overcome drug or alcohol addiction, contact us today and and we will walk you through the entire process. You can also begin the admissions process here.