The best aftercare rehab program accounts for the fact recovery is an ongoing process rather than a single event.
Recovery aftercare is an umbrella term used to describe all types of care you may receive once you finish an addiction treatment program and leave rehab.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the most common types of aftercare:
- Outpatient treatment at varying levels of intensity
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- 12-step support groups like AA and NA
- Sober living
When it comes to outpatient treatment, you may step down from residential rehab to a traditional outpatient program. This can help you more seamlessly transition back into daily living. Alternatively, you may have tried engaging with an outpatient program without success. In this case, you could step up to a more intensive form of outpatient treatment like an IOP (intensive outpatient program) or PHP (partial hospitalization program). We can help you with all of these modalities here at The District Recovery Community.
Rather than leaving things to chance, developing the right aftercare plan can help you to more readily anticipate roadblocks to your recovery, allowing you to formulate strategies in advance for sticking to your recovery and aftercare program.
You can involve your friends and family in your attempt to integrate back into life in the home, family, and community. If you have a supportive personal network in place, they will celebrate your successes, while continuously encouraging healthy behaviors.
Addiction Aftercare Programs
Aftercare programs differ slightly depending on whether you’re recovering from drug addiction or alcohol use disorder, but the goals are broadly similar. Indeed, many people find themselves addicted to both alcohol and drugs, while others suffer from dual diagnoses, with a mental health condition co-occurring with addiction.
How do aftercare programs for substance abuse unfold, then?
Drug Rehab Aftercare Programs
When you engage with acute care for drug addiction, there are many ways you can ensure that you remain connected and accountable, even after you complete your treatment program.
You can start participating in aftercare programs before you wind down treatment. Typically, though, aftercare follows when acute care is complete.
The following are some of the main forms of aftercare to improve long-term outcomes of drug addiction treatment:
- Ongoing therapy
- Case management
- Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous
- Alumni programs
- Sober living communities
1) Ongoing therapy
For many people with severe substance use disorder, especially when this co-occurs with a mental health disorder like depression or anxiety, inpatient or residential rehab is the most effective method of delivering treatment.
Stepping down from inpatient treatment to outpatient treatment will ensure you still have access to services like medication management, counseling, and group support as you start transitioning back into life in the community.
2) Case management
Your case manager can help you navigate the tricky shift from a structured treatment program to everyday living while minimizing your chances of relapse.
Think of your case manager as a counselor, guide, and advocate who can help you with the following:
- Working through the legal system
- Finding affordable housing
- Locating childcare
- Connect you with support groups
3) Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous
You’ll find 12-step support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous in almost every community nationwide.
Many people recovering from active drug addiction find powerful support in these peer-based support systems. There is no charge to attend meetings, and the only requirement is a desire to live substance-free. Participation is entirely confidential.
Although there is no overt religious component to 12-step recovery groups, some people struggle with the concept of abdicating responsibility to a higher power. There are secular alternatives to NA available, with SMART recovery the most common alternative to NA and AA.
4) Alumni programs
You’ll find that most reputable treatment centers for addiction provide alumni programs so former patients can remain connected.
Through an alumni program, you can stay in touch with those in your treatment team you formed an especially close bond with.
The accountability delivered by membership in an alumni program for drug addiction treatment can help you keep focused on your long-term recovery goals.
5) Sober living communities
A sober living home allows you to live in a supportive and safe environment surrounded by others going through recovery from drug addiction. These residences are alcohol-free and drug-free. You’ll be expected to follow house rules, and you’ll need to meet all your expenses.
If you need the space and security of an environment free of addiction triggers while you ease back into life after treatment, a sober living community might be worth exploring as part of your aftercare program.
Aftercare for Alcoholics
Aftercare for those grappling with alcohol use disorder can take on all of the same forms as substance abuse treatment aftercare.
Consider the following framework that works well for many people completing alcohol rehab:
- First month after rehab
- Second and third months after rehab
- Months three to six after rehab
- Six months to a year after rehab
First month after rehab
- Learn to efficiently deal with negative impulses
- Build a support system you can lean on if you feel the urge to drink
- Don’t take too much on, either at home or at work
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes daily
- Engage with a therapist or counselor
- Experiment with support groups until you find one that works for you
- Develop a supportive living arrangement
- Stick to a regular schedule, even if you’re not working
- Continue working on a goal-based recovery plan
Second and third months after rehab
- Keep attending support groups at least once a week
- Engage with counseling or therapy at least once a week
- Speak with a career counselor about your professional goals
- Keep a recovery journal
Months three to six after rehab
- Start repairing damaged relationships
- Try new hobbies
- Develop both short-term and long-term financial goals
- Focus on longer-range goals in general
Six months to a year after rehab
- Celebrate all key recovery milestones
- Help others in recovery from alcoholism
- Develop longer-term plans, personally, professionally, and financially
- Find new and stimulating ways to spend your time
The District Recovery Aftercare
The primary goal of aftercare programs for substance abuse and alcohol abuse is to help you develop and sharpen your coping skills.
As you navigate the stressors and challenges of sober life after rehab, the right addiction aftercare like you’ll receive at TDRC can help you:
- Identify your triggers for substance abuse
- Make healthier lifestyle choices
- Improve damaged relationships
- Reinforce the coping skills you learned in rehab
- Minimize the damage caused by relapse if it occurs
- Gain access to a wide and supportive network of groups and individuals
Addiction is just like any other chronic health condition when it comes to rates of recurrence of symptoms – relapse, in the case of addiction to alcohol or drugs. As with other conditions like high blood pressure, emphysema, or depression, the proper aftercare plan can reduce the chances of relapse. The main way in which our District aftercare program helps you achieve this is by ensuring you understand your triggers and you steer clear of people, places, and things that inflame your desire to use alcohol or drugs.
That said, the overarching purpose of our TDCR aftercare program is about more than simply preventing relapse. Ultimately, we want you to stay engaged with your recovery as you ease into sustained sobriety, and we’re here to help you every step of the way.