Addiction recovery is a process and not an event. Consequently, addiction aftercare is a crucial element of the overall, comprehensive treatment and recovery process. A person contemplating treatment for a substance abuse issue must understand the essentials of addiction treatment. They must also understand the need for lifelong commitment to relapse prevention and remaining sober.
If you or someone you care about is in danger of relapsing, call Drug Treatment Centers Peoria IL at (309) 550-9698.
Aftercare in addiction treatment involves a comprehensive plan for sober living, relapse prevention and limiting the negative impacts of relapse if it does occur. Aftercare actually commences in the course of a substance abuse treatment program.
During a substance abuse recovery program, a participant is involved in sessions designed to prepare for post-treatment life. This includes informational and educational sessions designed to arm a participant with the tools necessary to live a substance-free life in the future.
As part of a course of treatment, a participant develops a comprehensive, written aftercare and relapse prevention plan. The plan includes everything from the type of post-treatment therapy a participant will access to support groups he or she will join. A typical comprehensive aftercare and relapse prevention plan also includes everything from fitness and exercise schedules to diet regimens for maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle.
Armed with the comprehensive, written aftercare and relapse prevention plan, a person exists an actual treatment program. Aftercare serves as a means of advancing the progress made in an actual substance abuse treatment program. In addition, it involves the development of sound strategies to avoid triggers that can push a person in the direction of relapse and ultimately mind altering substance use.
Aftercare is vital to a successful recovery. Through aftercare, a person accesses professional assistance in maintaining his or her recovery and sobriety. Aftercare provides a person a seamless transition from an in-patient or out-patient treatment program into a less structured return to “everyday life.”
The stark reality is that without an aftercare and relapse prevention program, a person leaving treatment is far more likely to relapse – and relapse sooner – according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Moreover, with an aftercare program in place, a person who does relapse is more likely to stop the slide downward in the early stages and avoid actually using a mind altering substance. (Relapse involves three stages: emotional, mental and physical. Use of a mind altering substance does not occur until well into the relapse process, at the physical stage.)
A key element of an aftercare program is identifying triggers that historically have driven an individual to use mind altering substances. These include certain types of situations, various emotions and specific individuals. Aftercare and relapse prevention aids in avoiding triggers in the first place and in minimizing negative responses to them when actually encountered.
A highly practical element of an aftercare program, included in a typical relapse prevention plan, is healthy alternatives to drug or alcohol use. For example, rather than using a mind altering substance, an aftercare program and relapse prevention plan directs a person in recovery to participate in activities like fitness, educational or life enrichment programs of different types. In order to enjoy sober living, an aftercare program helps a person develop enjoyable hobbies or other pursuits that serve as a sort of replacement to the time spent seeking and using mind altering substances.
Sober living and life in recovery also involves reconnecting with healthy people in a person’s life, connecting with people that likely were cut off during the time an individual was actively engaged in the use of mind altering substances. Aftercare also includes a component – through therapy and other resources – that assists an individual in the development of positive relations with healthy individuals.
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