Addiction recovery starts after rehab…
Addiction and mental health problems can be very difficult to overcome and aftercare is a crucial part of any treatment strategy. This is because addiction recovery really starts when a person leaves residential treatment. That’s the time when they enter the real world and have to face their lives for the first time in recovery. But alcohol and drug addiction aftercare should consider the continuum of needs of a recovering addict or alcoholic.
With that in mind, it is important to start making an aftercare plan at the beginning of your initial treatment. An aftercare plan will outline what you do to support addiction recovery. Where will you live or work? What kinds of addiction treatment will you continue to receive? How often? What kinds of meetings will you attend?
All of these questions are addressed as you make your own addiction aftercare plan. So how do you begin to create an addiction aftercare plan? Here are five (5) simple stpes in creating an addiction aftercare plan.
5 steps to creating an addiction aftercare plan
1. Seek an expert opinion. The first step is discussing your aftercare with your residential treatment center. Any good treatment facility will be able to give you advice on the different programs available in your area and help you create your aftercare plan. Aftercare treatment can include psychotherapy, group therapy for addiction, family therapies for addiction, a stay in a halfway house, social services, and/or help finding employment. Speak with your counselor or support service team to draft up an individualized plan that is specific to your needs.
2. Document it. Once you have an idea of what type of aftercare you are interested in, it is time to make a concrete plan. That means calling up about support group meetings to define times/days/location of group meetings, making appointments with counselors and making sure that when you leave the residential treatment center you have a place to stay and an employment strategy. Documenting your plan can help you reduce anxiety by knowing the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE of all your addiction treatment needs once out of rehab.
3. Define how you’ll prevent relapse. Along with a treatment plan, it is important to have a relapse prevention plan built into your aftercare plan. This is by far the most important part of any aftercare. A relapse prevention plan is a detailed guide that gives you ways to handle temptation to drink or use, outlines your specific triggering situations, and becomes a guide to help keep you in recovery. A relapse prevention plan also helps reduce the causes of relapse. These can include anger, isolation, anxiety and other bad habits that may be triggering. This is so important because it gives someone facing an addiction a set of tools that they can apply to their everyday lives in order to stay clean.
4. Inform those around you. The next step in creating and addiction aftercare plan is letting your support network know about your aftercare plan. This means explaining to family and/or friends how you are continuing your treatment. When your support network knows about your treatment, they are better able to help you and can even help encourage you to stay on track.
5. Stick to it! The final step in making an aftercare plan is following the plan. It sounds simple but whether it is going to meetings, seeing a psychotherapist or keeping a food journal, it is important to keep up your treatment. This keeps you focused on your recovery and provides regular opportunities to address any issues you may have which occur outside of a residential treatment setting.