Addiction and/or mental health treatment can be a crucial first step towards building a life in recovery. You learn coping skills, methods to avoid a relapse or regressions, and other essential tools you can use to prevent slipping back into harmful behaviors. Treatment facilities provide an excellent environment for you to learn about your recovery, surrounded by support from peers and staff. However, challenges often arise after leaving treatment. Saying no to harmful behaviors is easier when you’re in a place geared toward teaching people to do so. Knowing what to do when you return to your everyday environment is an entirely new challenge. This is why aftercare is such an important part of recovery. Instead of altogether leaving the supportive environment of treatment, aftercare can provide you with continuing support. Aftercare effectively transitions you from a more intensive program back into your daily life.
What Is Aftercare?
Aftercare is the part of recovery that comes after a person finishes a treatment program. It is the collective plan to support individuals during their early recovery and help them prevent relapse or regressions while working on their new life. If individuals go directly back into everyday life after treatment, the risk of relapse or regression increases. Instead, aftercare encourages individuals to find the tools that work for them in maintaining their recovery. Aftercare provides another avenue of ongoing support after an individual leaves the facility. They don’t have to feel like they’re making the transition alone when they have the support of an aftercare plan.
Effective Aftercare Plans
There are numerous resources, activities, and more that can be part of an aftercare plan. These vary depending on each individual’s needs and the options a treatment facility may offer alumni. However, common components of an effective aftercare plan typically include:
- Moving into a sober living home
- Transitioning to an outpatient program
- Checking in with a counselor or case manager
- Going to therapy
- Participating in an alumni program at a treatment facility
- Attending support groups
- Establishing a set support system
While these are standard practices for maintaining recovery after treatment, there are also other options. These may include holistic therapies, such as:
- Psychedelic-assisted treatment
Preventing Relapse and Regressions
The ultimate goal of aftercare is to help individuals use the tools they learned while in treatment to prevent relapse or regressions. Working with a case manager or other professional to build a plan after finishing treatment can help individuals maintain their aftercare plan and stick to it. Individuals are far less likely to maintain recovery after leaving the supportive environment of treatment if they don’t follow through on their aftercare plan.
Learning From Others
Participating in aftercare allows people to talk about how they use their active coping skills in real-life situations. They will receive encouragement regarding areas in which they are doing well and constructive feedback regarding how they can improve their skills in areas in which they are having trouble. Individuals can learn a lot by listening to, and sharing with, people whose experiences are similar to their own.
If someone is new in recovery, they can learn from people who have faced and overcome similar challenges to the ones they are currently facing. If they have been in recovery for a while, they can pass on their knowledge to others who are newer and less experienced. This process benefits the people who share as much as it helps the people who are listening and learning; sharing one’s knowledge and experiences reinforces one’s commitment to recovery and healthy life.
Community, Support, and Accountability
When an individual participates in aftercare, they become part of a community of people with similar goals. This community of peers is useful both for providing support and also for keeping people accountable. For example, conversations in an aftercare group may help someone realize when they are on a risky path that could lead back to old behaviors — something they are less likely to recognize on their own.
Helping With Other Needs
Life after treatment will still have challenges, and needs will remain intact. However, quality aftercare can help individuals find resources by using some of the following:
- Recovery housing
- Recovery community centers
A safe home, income, and meaningful daily activities will help individuals develop resilience towards the challenges that life brings. While some families champion the person in recovery, others may experience familial stress, guilt, shame, anger, fear, anxiety, loss, grief, and isolation. However, relationships and community support are essential parts of aftercare. Social support, peer mentors, and recovery coaching may be aspects of recovery that an individual needs.
Aftercare is crucial for those leaving treatment for addiction and/or mental health. With aftercare, you learn how to apply the skills that help you maintain recovery in real-life situations. The type of aftercare you choose will depend on your individual needs and any programs a treatment center may offer, but they all help the same. Aftercare can help prevent relapse or regressions, allow you to learn from others, and help you find a sense of community, support, and accountability. At Rickard Elmore Treatment Strategies, our Treatment Planning Service is an imperative element to our client’s success during and after treatment. It proved unrivaled education that includes a variety of options that will be specialized to your specific situation. We explain the intricate dynamics of how to plan the most successful treatment experience. Rickard Elmore also helps the family consider all people involved in a client’s life while also considering the importance of work, school, lifestyle, cost, location, and modality. For more information on our Treatment Planning Service, call us today at (877) 387-7197.