Severe alcohol use disorders are diagnosed in the DSM-5 and usually require care in a residential treatment program. Depending on the severity, length of time, and co-occurring mental health issues that may be present, a person may require long-term treatment. Rehab that is extensive is designed to help people detox, learn skills for living life sober, and rely on support with aftercare programs after treatment. Programs more than 90 days in length usually require long-term care goals. Aftercare is essential for people to stay sober after alcohol use disorder treatment and how to create space for this to happen.
From Rehab to Real Life
Detox and withdrawal from alcohol or substances are not enough to help a person recover. The risk of relapse is very high for those with alcohol use disorders. Lots of margins exist in between the stages of recovery, with about a year after rehab required to really establish a solid foundation. The goal of rehab is to give people tools to help them engage in recovery. Aftercare planning is helpful to design a program that a person can use to enhance their recovery. If an individual has been through rehab more than once a treatment program may use an individual’s experience of relapse to build a more helpful aftercare outline. Early on they are more heavily reliant on other people to support them, the aim is to become more independent as they grow.. Aftercare programs help people who were addicted to alcohol secure long-term recovery goals.
What Aftercare Looks Like
A solid aftercare program should include many different moving parts. Some of them that will be the most helpful include:
- Therapeutic counseling: the best treatment for alcohol use disorder includes therapy and counseling. People are never cured of alcohol use but considered in a space of recovery. Continual education and work on themselves will help make them stronger the further along they go
- Group therapy work: this might also include family members and loved ones. Including them in the journey of recovery is healing and an important step
- Co-occurring and mental health disorders: seeking treatment for this is key to healing for some. Therapeutic support should include help for any mental health disorders and addictive behaviors. Treatment can include medication management, therapy, psychiatry, occupational therapy, and any number of other ways to help someone heal
- Holistic healing: this can look many ways, including art and music therapies, meditation, exercise programs, and using treatments for social support. Individuals who use these treatments often partner them with psychological and other substantive therapies
A Comprehensive Approach
Comprehensive treatment should include supporting the individual’s needs at all levels. This includes emotional, social, physical, physiological, and more. The individual will need to have a plan they can implement on their own, with support. Aftercare programs are successful when the person can participate in them without experiencing a disruption in their daily life. Meetings often occur with some frequency to let people have easy access to care. Accountability is one key factor in recovering well in aftercare programs. When a person has accountability to themselves in recovery, they:
- Take their own medication
- Apply what they learn in treatment to their lives
- Stay off drugs or alcohol and work hard to keep moving forward when there are setbacks (including relapse)
The reason aftercare programs work is that the people who are doing the program and those who support them work together. It is essential to have a team of people working hard to move in the same direction. They are more likely to find a way forward when they are surrounded by loving, kind, caring people.
Taking the Reins
Nothing happens if someone does not want it to happen. When a person is intentional, they focus on healing and pursue it as much as possible but it can be hard for them to learn to reach for help. Someone in this position may need additional support in order to see what they need to do to move forward. Taking the reins in recovery means doing whatever is necessary. Taking ownership means recovering a person’s life from addiction and seeking a new way of life in sobriety.
Ashley Addiction Treatment is an innovative treatment program located on Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay. Ashley provides support for professionals seeking help with addiction. We are able to help people with co-occurring disorders and offer confidential treatment programs to meet your needs. Please reach out to us today at 800-799-4673.