Recovery doesn’t have an end date. It is a lifelong process that sober individuals learn to take one day at a time. Some days will test a recovering person’s resolve to stay sober more than others. An accredited inpatient treatment program is a wonderful first step, but true lifelong sobriety depends on what the individual does after. Learn about the vital role of aftercare in recovery, and how to make it part of you or your loved one’s long-term addiction treatment plan even after the 90-day Program.
What Is Aftercare?
There might not be a cure for addiction, but there are proven ways to live a fulfilled, sober life. An integral part of the plan is aftercare. Aftercare refers to a personalized plan an individual has for when he or she completes primary treatment and rehabilitation. No two aftercare plans are the same, but they have many things in common. A successful aftercare plan provides support during ongoing recovery through proven practices and habits to help a sober individual stay motivated moving forward on the sobriety journey.
The best treatment centers help create tailored aftercare plans, rather than simply releasing individuals to fend for themselves after rehab. People who are fighting to beat alcoholism or drug addiction can benefit from professionals overseeing at least parts of their aftercare plans. Professional assistance from a high-quality treatment program can help prevent relapses and facilitate long-term success. A high level of support shouldn’t end after initial treatment but continue for life. Aftercare is key.
What Does Aftercare Look Like?
As a friend or family member, you can help aid lifelong recovery by understanding the importance of good aftercare. Each person’s recovery looks different. Your loved one’s aftercare plan should be 100 percent unique; tailored for his or her exact needs, triggers, and goals for the future. If you need help creating an aftercare plan, don’t hesitate to ask a treatment center for assistance. Three main elements of a standard aftercare plan are:
1. Stable relationships. Aftercare isn’t complete without contributions from stable, positive, supportive (and often sober) friends and family members. Stable relationships can guide a recovering person through remission and help prevent relapses. Aftercare should include an attempt to repair broken relationships and create a loving and supportive home.
2. Self-responsibility. Although it’s important for a sober individual to have the support of his/her friends and family, the person undergoing recovery must learn lessons in self-responsibility. One must hold oneself to a high standard of living and aim to become a productive member of society.
3. Financial independence. A fine line exists between supporting and enabling. A common form of enabling is giving a sober person money, food, a home, etc. After treatment, one must achieve financial stability to successfully reenter into society. An aftercare plan should include a suitable job or career for the individual.
4. Participation in AA and the 12-Steps.
These are just three basic pillars in the average aftercare plan. The specifics will vary widely from person to person. One of the most important things to keep in mind is to stay positive in all the things you do as the loved one of someone leaving addiction treatment. Staying positive about sobriety and the future during aftercare can remind your loved one why staying sober is worth the effort. Your attitude can go a long way in supporting their success.