Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

What Is Aftercare?

What Is Aftercare?

Aftercare programs help people transition back into the mainstream after treatment ends

Rehab gives people a life-changing opportunity to improve their lives. It provides a second chance to regain health, rebuild relationships and rediscover passions and interests. At professional treatment centers, individuals detox from drugs and alcohol while learning new strategies and skills that can help them launch a future that is positive, exciting and stable.

Although leaving recovery and beginning a sober life can be a jarring transition, it is possible to maintain gains and continue growing. Staying sober is the key. Although it may seem simple, rebuilding one’s life is a tall order. For many, leaving the safety and structure of rehab without a plan in place for follow-up treatment is a recipe for relapse. That is why most treatment centers include aftercare as part of recovery.

Aftercare: How it Works and Why You Need It

Completing drug or alcohol rehab is an important accomplishment deserving of celebration. Even so, it does not signal a victory or mean that an addicted person is now “cured.” Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. Just like hypertension and diabetes, treating addiction requires monitoring. During the weeks, months and even years after rehab ends, individuals in recovery should monitor their recovery plans frequently to make sure they are still on track. Otherwise, they stand at high risk of reverting to addictive, self-destructive patterns that lead to relapse.

Aftercare programs help people transition back into the mainstream after treatment ends. They also minimize the risk of relapse. Each stage of recovery brings new challenges, and what worked well in rehab may not prove effective once a person is back on the job or living with family. In aftercare, individuals get help evaluating changing recovery needs with the assistance of a team comprised of peers and professionals who serve as cheerleaders, coaches and teammates.

Components of most aftercare programs include the following:

  • Counseling
  • Group sessions
  • Other scheduled meetings
  • Accountability through peer relationships and support

Education is an integral part of aftercare. Group sessions frequently center on examining environmental, social and psychological factors that can trigger substance abuse. Clients are encouraged to consider recovery issues that include the following:

  • Identifying stressors
  • Coping with cravings
  • Thinking through the outcomes of a relapse
  • Replacing substance abuse with healthy habits such as exercise
  • Learning how to keep a lapse from turning into a relapse

Another goal of aftercare is providing support and education for family members. Family sessions create a safe context in which to address tension between the individual and the family, which is often caused by events that occurred during active addiction.

Help for Prescription Drug Abuse

If you or someone you love abuses painkillers, help is available. Admissions coordinators at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can guide you to wellness. You never have to go back to a life of addiction. Please call.

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