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Why is “Aftercare” Important for Addiction Recovery?

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Today, the term “aftercare,” a term referring to additional support given following a patient’s exit from a residential program, has been replaced by “continuing care.” Continuing care involves the active treatment of addiction beyond the initial phase of recovery.

An addiction treatment program can give you a good start in recovery, but it’s only a start. While in treatment, you will have a lot of help. You will have a regular schedule with therapy sessions, group activities and systems of accountability. For the most part. you will be around other sober people and staff members who want you to recover. Unfortunately, that can change once you leave treatment and you’ll want to make that transition as smoothly as possible. 

Depending on what level of care you step into, you may be on your own schedule, around people who are mostly indifferent to your recovery, and possibly a few actively opposed to it.

You will have stress from relationships and work that can undermine your focus on sobriety. Sustaining recovery means getting used to managing this stress as quickly as possible. A rocky transition from treatment to home life can result in anxiety, frustration, and even relapse. While things may have gone well in treatment, it’s possible that the routines and disciplines you’ve developed can falter without accountability. What’s more, a change of environment can disrupt the schedule you’ve become accustomed to. The context is different and the people are different. You have different obligations and have to figure out how to make a program of recovery mix with the demands of regular life.

Get Connected

Fortunately, you don’t have to navigate sobriety alone. At Origins, we lead our patients to fellowships such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Drug Addicts Anonymous while they’re still in treatment, and guide them toward local 12-Step supports in their area. This offers continuity between life in treatment and life after treatment. This also ensures there will be at least a few people in your sober network when you leave treatment. Studies have shown that having a strong sober network is one of the best ways to protect your recovery. Finding a sponsor and engaging in a program of recovery quickly can significantly improve your chances of long term sobriety.

Ongoing Therapy

It’s also a good idea to make use of follow-up counseling and therapy. While much of what you discuss in treatment makes sense at the moment, when you’re faced with real-life stress or some new situation, it may help to have someone to discuss your problems with who can help apply what you learned in treatment to life outside. Reputable treatment centers also follow up with patients to better understand which parts of treatment worked well and which need improvement. Everyone has different challenges in recovery and patient feedback helps improve the program, which, in turn, helps the people who enter treatment after you.

Alumni Events

Finally, don’t neglect alumni events. These are opportunities to meet other sober people and reconnect with some of the people you went through treatment with. Healthy relationships and accountability nurture recovery, so it’s a good idea to make sober friends whenever you can. Both local or annual alumni events provide an opportunity to build relationships with fellow alumni. Staying in regular contact with sober friends and treatment staff can also reaffirm your commitment to recovery.

Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renown clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.

For information on our programs,
call us today:  844-843-8935