If attending an addiction treatment program is the best step you could ever take for yourself, participating in an aftercare program is the second-best step. Staying sober after completing treatment can be challenging. Aftercare programs help make the transition from treatment to “normal” life easier and can help you avoid relapse.
Life After Rehab
Most rehab program graduates look forward to going home and spending time with loved ones, but going directly back into your old life without a strong support system could endanger your sobriety. The first 90 days after rehab are considered to be the most vulnerable and are when most relapses happen.
Aftercare programs are like safety nets. They provide safe, sober-living homes and continued therapies to help clients maintain sobriety and meet their wellness goals. The format and services provided by aftercare programs differ from center to center. Comprehensive aftercare treatment covers multiple aspects of daily living, including:
- Employment assistance
- Family therapy and other family services
- Sober living facilities
- Access to support group meetings
- Transportation assistance
- Life skills training
- Referrals for continued care, such as medical care or co-occurring disorder care
Alumni groups are also an important aspect of aftercare. Alumni groups help clients maintain ties to their recovery peers. Group members support one another in their efforts to remain healthy. They can share resources and tips with one another as well as help each other through the ups and downs of everyday life.
Does Aftercare Help with Avoiding Relapse?
Aftercare programs do help reduce your risk of returning to substance use. Stress is a major trigger for relapse. Readjusting to life after rehab is stressful. Relationships have changed, people expect different things from you than they did before treatment, and you expect different things from yourself.
Having the stability of an aftercare program can help reduce that stress. Aftercare clients not only receive assistance with the business of restoring their lives, but they also receive relapse prevention training and therapeutic support to help them cope with relapse triggers.
Addiction is often said to be a chronic disease that can’t be cured but can be managed. Aftercare is like entering step-down care after being in the ICU. It helps clients become better prepared to manage the disease of addiction for a lifetime.
Tips for Avoiding Relapse
Self-care is the most important step for avoiding relapse. Letting yourself become too hungry, tired, or exhausted can weaken your resolve and lead you to make unhealthy decisions. Some tips for avoiding a relapse include:
- Stay involved with a sober community, such as an alumni program
- Attend support meetings and participate in the process
- Talk to a sponsor or mentor if you’re having thoughts about relapsing
- Develop a mindfulness practice, such as daily meditation or journal writing
- Be honest about what you’re feeling or thinking
- Speak with a recovery therapist
- Be of service to others
Unfortunately, relapse is a common part of the recovery process. It is not a sign of personal failure or proof that treatment didn’t work. Long-term management is the goal, and relapse or the desire to relapse is a sign that your treatment program needs to be reevaluated and adjusted.
Learn More About Aftercare Programs at Insight Recovery Center
At Insight Recovery Center, we understand that clients are excited and anxious to start their lives after rehab. Our aftercare program provides the extended care that’s often needed for clients to regain their physical and emotional strength before returning to everyday life.