Addiction recovery is a lifelong process. It continues long after treatments are over. Developing an aftercare plan allows a person to plan for the future and anticipate challenges to their sobriety. Planning allows for solutions to be created.
Family and friends often participate in addiction recovery – offering support, celebrating their successes, and encouraging healthy habits.
What is Aftercare?
Aftercare is a plan created to support someone as they recover from an addiction to help prevent a relapse, and encourage them in the future.
A plan includes activities, resources, and interventions that helps a person cope with struggles, cravings, stress, and triggering events they may face post-treatment. Every aftercare plan is created specifically for an individual, based on their addiction, goals, and needs. ‘
Plans frequently include:
- Staying in a sober-living environment
- Working with a sponsor or other members of a sober support group
- Attending individual or group therapy sessions
A comprehensive aftercare plan is important as people leave a recovery facility and transition out of treatment. Relapse is most likely to occur in the first few months after someone leaves a rehab facility. In fact, 40-60% of people recovering from a substance addiction experience a relapse at some point in their lives.
Ongoing and Outpatient Services
After completing a residential treatment or inpatient treatment, many people find that transitioning can be difficult. They may face triggering events or interactions that challenge their sobriety. Transitioning to an outpatient program or working with a therapist can help address these issues.
Outpatient therapy can help with the mental and psychological stressors of recovery. It can also help develop a prevention plan to help avoid relapse, improve communication with family and loved ones, and even assist in finding employment. A therapist offers flexibility and provides one-on-one counseling, which makes it easier to build a trusting relationship. It is more private and sometimes easier to discuss struggles and triggers that compromise sobriety.
Structured Outpatient Programs
Structured treatment programs have different requirements – some meet daily, some meet a few times a week. It is important to attend meetings and sessions regularly and live in stable housing with support from family and friends while going through an outpatient program.
Common forms of outpatient treatment programs are:
- PHP (Partial hospitalization program) – A person attends a hospital or treatment center for 20 hours or less throughout the week. They offer services like group therapy, medical services, and typically supervised withdrawal. This step is done after a person leaves an inpatient facility or suffers from a relapse.
- IOP (Intensive outpatient program) – Unlike PHP, IOPs usually require approximately 9 hours of treatments sessions a week and can last for weeks or months. Treatment consists of group therapy and meeting time with an individual therapist. Similar to PHP, this is a good first step after leaving an inpatient treatment center.