Aftercare programs exist to support a person in recovery with unique programs and access to services. The goal of an aftercare program is to decrease relapse risk. Post treatment aftercare supports people with programs that offer a therapeutic focus, education, and prevention. To build a successful foundation in recovery, people need to focus on their individual goals and needs. Understanding how aftercare works and clearly defining the steps to reach those sober living goals encourage confidence and success.
How Aftercare Works
Post treatment aftercare is connected to local resources in the community. Relapse rates are high for people in recovery, which makes it important to connect with other people and services. The primary purpose of aftercare programs is to help people get back to living their lives, even amidst all the shifts and changes. People who have the ability to do extra work can push themselves harder if they want or do a bit less if they are struggling. Aftercare, like treatment, can be tailored to individual needs. Everyone is unique with different challenges on the recovery journey and modifying the program is important to help a person feel successful.
Aftercare Two Week Goals
Post-treatment, individuals should continue counseling and therapy. After two weeks, the therapist, social worker, or case manager will typically have a recommended action plan. They may also have supportive living suggestions, recommendations for where to attend support group meetings, and a nutritional or exercise plan. Aftercare can bring new practices to your daily and weekly routines, so plan your schedule and leave plenty of time for your new activities. Some of the other things they should focus on include:
- Developing a daily routine.
- Building a support system.
- Recovery journaling or writing.
- Choosing appropriate sponsorship.
- Career counseling.
- Developing weekly routines.
Choosing Aftercare Support
People who leave treatment are typically in need of various amounts of support. Aftercare programs are available to help them navigate their journey of healing. People can choose to do many different things when first leaving the treatment “bubble” which can include long-term sober living homes for a year or more, ongoing therapies, 12-step groups, intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and more. These environments help shape recovery helping the person can find key support people and community resources that help them stay focused on sobriety and recovery goals.
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes are residential programs for people who suffer from substance use disorders. Sober homes create space with others in recovery to teach responsibility, educate them about finances, and help them learn to budget, work, and heal in recovery. This “real world” support helps residents explore the elements of their new lives without experiencing challenges head-on too early in recovery. If they are not ready to work full time on their own, have a place to live, and support themselves, they may need additional help with keeping their focus forward on their goals. A major benefit is having structure and expectations outlined by the home to take full advantage of these sober environments.
Options for Therapy
Therapeutic support options that may be continued in aftercare vary. It depends on what a person wants or needs. This may include biofeedback therapies, faith-based therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), holistic therapy such as music and art, or recreational therapy and wilderness programs. Therapy can come in many forms and formats, allowing each individual to easily find the options that align with their personal recovery goals. While someone is in treatment, they need to focus on themselves and recognize their achievements and challenges. Therapy can help get to the root causes of their issues so they can begin to heal and move forward.
Intensive Outpatient Programs
People who leave treatment are encouraged to transition to aftercare and recovery programs so they can keep moving forward. Their progress is important so they stay sober which makes choosing the appropriate facility or program crucial. Choosing the right aftercare for those that need a highly structured environment may include an intensive outpatient program (IOP). Intensive outpatient programs can be residential or non-residential, depending on the person’s needs and goals. For some, it may be more affordable to attend an outpatient, but others may opt to spend the money for residential knowing they are giving themselves a better chance at recovery.
Chronic, long-lasting substance use often requires years of work to help the body and brain detox. There are no easy answers when it comes to how to design an aftercare program. The key is to notice what comes up in treatment, design a program around that, and create goals that seem reasonable to keep the person moving forward. If they are going to find healing, it will come as a result of knowing they put in their best efforts upfront to keep themselves focused on the right things, even if it felt difficult at first. Recovery is not easy but it is possible with the right support and tools. Aftercare plays an important role in the recovery process and helps people transition to their new healthier sober lifestyle.
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.