Of course the very first challenge of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction is to make it through rehab—but then what?
Aftercare is the very next step that most recovering addicts take when it comes to staying on the right path to sobriety and remaining sober for the long term. There are many different programs available to assist patients in aftercare and most are tailored to the individual and unique needs of each patient. Some include counseling and therapy while others may offer services such as random drug or alcohol testing, relapse prevention, independent education, and things like job placement or housing assistance.
For many recovering addicts, life outside of treatment is a culture shock. After being addicted for so long, then being in the highly structured environment of treatment, coming out and being able to pretty much do anything you want can be both liberating and scary at the same time. Statistics show that almost 50% of all patients relapse after they finish inpatient treatment—that’s why aftercare is such an important part of the entire treatment and rehabilitation process.
What Can you Expect in Aftercare?
Many people think that aftercare is just to keep you on track and prevent you from going back to a life of using drugs or alcohol. While this is a very true fact, there are other important factors that aftercare focuses on. Overall, aftercare services are all about helping you to better yourself and to become a stronger functioning individual in society so that you have a better chance at staying sober and preventing relapse long term. Some of the services that you can expect in aftercare include:
- help with finding a sober living facility
- help finding work
- educational assistance to ensure that you can find a better job or an adequate job
- counseling and therapy that continues to address mental health conditions and other disorders which could pose a risk to your sobriety
- medical recommendations and follow-up care
- medications to prevent relapse such as Antabuse or Suboxone which is commonly used in the treatment of opiate addiction
- classes to help you learn how to function more appropriately in life
- individual therapy with a counselor or therapist
- group therapy and support groups such as AA, NA or other 12-step type meetings
- counseling for relationships, families and those who have been negatively affected by your addiction
- assistance with day to day living matters including finding a job, finding housing, finding support, etc
- legal assistance should you be in trouble with the law as a result of your drug or alcohol addiction or if your treatment was part of a legal diversion program
These are not the only services that are offered in aftercare but they are a good makeup of the majority of services that you should expect in an aftercare program. The bottom line is that each quality and effective rehab program will include support services that follow-up on your own care and your own health. These services are all called aftercare services and can extend well into the coming months or even years after you initially overcome your addiction.