Aftercare for Addiction Treatment
Aftercare refers to continued treatment AFTER Rehab. Rehab is for detox, aftercare is for long term sobriety. Any recovering addict must do both if they hope to have any chance at success for long term sobriety. The stark reality is that 30-90 days in Rehab is not going to do much for maintaining sobriety after you leave. People who think that a stint in rehab for addiction treatment has “cured” them simply don’t understand addicition – or they’re lying to themselves. Rehab is simply the FIRST OF MANY stages of their recovery. There is no “cure” for alcoholism or any addiction. The goal of an aftercare program is to give patients the social and emotional tools to help them maintain sobriety on a long-term basis. Once an individual leaves a Rehab/Detox facility, they will face numerous challenges and temptations, and they will experience various personal setbacks that can lead to relapse. Aftercare programs are designed to give individuals ongoing assistance and continued instruction, and to provide support to enhance their chances of experiencing a successful long-term recovery. Despite all the tools available for individuals who are being treated for substance use disorders like an alcohol use disorder, the probability that an individual will engage in a successful program of recovery without a relapse is actually less than 50 percent in many cases. For instance, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that relapse rates for individuals who are in active treatment programs is actually relatively high (nearly 40-60 percent in most cases). As the American Association of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) reports, individuals who simply complete acute rehabilitation programs without engaging in aftercare programs relapse at rates that are nearly 100 percent. This is a shocking statistic, and one that should clearly demonstrate that aftercare is critical if one hopes to have any chance at living a sober life. These observations have led to the notion that relapse is part of recovery, and individuals who are in active recovery programs and suffer a relapse have a far better chance of dealing with the relapse, getting back on their recovery program, and moving forward with a decreased probability of additional relapses than individuals who are not in an active recovery program, such as an aftercare program. Rehab alone will not work and anyone who thinks it will make them sober for life is kidding themselves. Many treatment programs now use an individual’s experience of a relapse as a chance to help the individual learn to become stronger, even though the goal of the program is to avoid relapse. Thus, becoming involved in an active aftercare program following completion of an acute rehabilitation program for an alcohol use disorder is an essential component to ensuring one will have a solid chance at long-term recovery. Aftercare for addiction treatment is akin to learning to read and write all over again – you didn’t learn this overnight and so it’s not reasonable to expect that you’ll learn the skills and behavior to keep you clean and sober in the long term. Patients with pre-existing conditions such as anxiety or depression must simultaneously be treated for these affilictions. This will invariably add time to your addiction treatment program as there’s a lot of ground to recover.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN AFTERCARE
- Live in a supervised residential treatment center
- Work or go to school
- Attend daily counseling/therapy sessions
- Participate in group events
- Learn the life skills and relapse prevention methods to set you up for success