Many people view recovery as an ongoing, lifelong journey. Whether or not you agree, after treatment it is critical to have a well developed and thought out aftercare plan. Aftercare planning is an essential component that will set you up for success when leaving a treatment facility. Unfortunately, due to insurance restrictions, individuals do not often get enough time in treatment. This limited time frame often makes putting a plan in place more difficult, and much more crucial. An aftercare plan will support the client with transitioning into their new life while decreasing the risk of relapse.
An exceptional aftercare plan is going to include outpatient psychotherapy, which will assist the individual to continue to work on the factors that contributed abusing substances. There are structure aftercare programs that address factors such as stress management, relationship dynamics, relapse prevention, coping skills, among other things. Attending an aftercare program and working with a private psychotherapist will increase the possibility of maintaining sobriety.
Social support is incredibly important especially for those in recovery. Developing a solid social support system including some sober support can be extremely helpful. When an individual completes treatment, they must figure out where the client will live. Often transitional living will include a halfway house, followed by a three-quarter house and eventually independent living. This step-down process provides added support and accountability so that an individual can increase their chances of continuing to live a substance free life.
An aftercare plan should also address all of the possible difficulties that might trigger a relapse. Becoming conscious of potential obstacles such as relationship concerns or dynamics, triggers, vulnerabilities, health, finances, or professional challenges is a good first step. Adding these factors into the aftercare plan and including action plans for how to manage triggers should be established once the person is aware of the possible difficulties ahead.
If a person is attending AA/NA meetings, then continued meeting attendance can be a significant component of their aftercare plan. There are many benefits to meeting attendance including fostering a sober support system. It also helps keep an individual accountable as well as gives them a group of people to reach out to when struggling.
An aftercare plan might also include components to foster good health in general. Individuals might commit to a nutritional program, exercise, and constructive recreational activities. Promoting positive feelings about oneself and having the sense of accomplishment can help reduce the risk of relapse. The ultimate goal of an aftercare plan is to set individuals up for success. Having a comprehensive and detailed aftercare plan serves to decrease the risk of relapse for people following substance abuse treatment.
Dr. Rachel Needle has specialized training in the area of substance abuse. She is a professional consultant to substance abuse facilities and assists them in expanding and enhancing clinical programming. Dr. Needle also does expert training on the topic of substance abuse, mental illness, and sexual health for staff members at residential and outpatient facilities that specialize in alcohol and substance abuse.
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