If you or someone you care about struggles with addiction, then you probably already know all about detox and rehab. Treating an addiction is critical, and the first few weeks are certainly very important. However, sobriety is a lifetime goal. That means that aftercare, or what happens after treatment ends, is also important.
Transitioning Back to Independent Living
One way to reduce the risk of relapse is to slowly transition back to independent living. Not all patients are ready to go from a 24/7 residential rehab to complete independence. This is totally normal and means that a slower transition might be best.
Some patients can opt for extended care. This is a longer program, often for an additional 30 to 90 days. For those with severe addictions, this longer plan allows more time to participate in therapy and prepare for lasting sobriety.
Another option is the step-down approach. Rather than going straight from residential care to living on your own, you can make the transition step by step. This might mean moving to outpatient care after residential care. Then, an intensive outpatient program can be the final step.
Addressing the Root Causes of Addiction
Sometimes, the best aftercare starts during addiction treatment. Getting sober is commendable, but that alone isn’t enough to guarantee lifelong recovery. Instead, it’s important to start getting to the root causes of addiction.
For some patients, addiction develops because of a reliance on a prescription medication. For others, it may be a result of childhood trauma, abuse or mental illness. Whatever the cause, learning about it through treatment and therapy can help patients find a better, healthier resolution than addiction.
Creating an Aftercare Plan and Support System
Addiction treatment programs can also set the stage for continuing care by helping patients plan for the future. In particular, this means learning what works and who to rely on after treatment ends.
Often, continuing care involves some sort of group meetings. This might be AA, or it could be any other 12-Step group. Learning how these work can be a key part of preparing for a life of successful sobriety.
It can also be beneficial to establish a firm support system before treatment ends. For many patients, this means relying on family members. Other forms of a support system could include peers, alumni groups, friends, co-workers or therapists.
Relapse Prevention Education
Relapse is perhaps the biggest risk to addiction recovery. A big part of aftercare is relapse prevention. Part of that education can come during rehab.
This might include learning the most common triggers for relapse. Often, that means HALT: hungry, angry, tired and lonely. Patients might also need to identify individual triggers as well as personal coping mechanisms to overcome each one.
Sober Living After Treatment
Sober living is another option that can be beneficial to patients. After a treatment program ends, patients can opt to live in a community where all residents abide by certain rules. Typically, this means no drugs or alcohol. This can offer accountability and peer support during recovery.
Creating Routine for Lasting Recovery
In a treatment program, patients can also learn the value of structure. Establishing a daily schedule with meaningful, healthy habits can be incredibly important for continuing care. Having a routine means fewer opportunities to relapse and more opportunities to enforce healthy habits.
During rehab, patients can establish routines doing all of the following:
- Mindfulness and meditation therapy
- Fitness therapy
- Scheduled meals
- Life skills training
- Art or hobby therapy
Aftercare is an often forgotten, but incredibly important, part of treating an addiction. At Crestview Recovery in Portland, Oregon, you can make the most of a variety of therapies that will make recovery a lifelong condition. Call 866.262.0531 to take the first step toward sobriety.