It’s easy to fall for the false sense of security brought on by completion of an inpatient treatment program. We feel confident, newly armed with the tools, coping mechanisms, and knowledge you need to lead a life free of substance abuse. While beginning your sober life confidently is great, being overconfident comes with its own pitfalls. Ensuring you’re on the right track toward long-term requires self-awareness and adaptability that can be hindered by cockiness.
Leaving inpatient treatment armed with an aftercare plan helps to secure your continued progress. It’s crucial that you stick to your aftercare plan, especially in the early days of your recovery. Here’s Why:
Support and Structure
The most valuable benefit to aftercare is the continued structure and support beyond inpatient treatment. Transitioning out of the controlled environment of a treatment facility back home can be a challenging situation without the proper support systems in place. Part of your aftercare plan should be maintaining your level of care: continuing group and individual therapy sessions, following up with medical maintenance, and striving toward your goals. Losing sight of these aspects of your new life can quickly result in a backslide into active addiction.
Accountability is vital to your recovery. We learn early on in the process that real progress cannot be made until we accept accountability for our actions. Practicing mindfulness and thinking through the benefits and consequences before we act allows us to maintain self-control and remain above urges and temptation. Aftercare plans help us in maintaining accountability. They create routine and expectations, as well as positive and negative outcomes depending on your decisions and actions. Continuously practicing mindfulness through aftercare helps to integrate it into your everyday life.
Boredom and empty time is your worst enemy, especially in the early days of your journey. Don’t be tricked into believing a clean and sober life must be boring! With this new start, you have the opportunity to learn more about yourself and explore new, more positive means of spending your time and energy. Your aftercare plan doesn’t have to just be about the “boring” things- now is the time to get out and be adventurous! Not sure where to start? Try getting involved in recovery-based events and groups to ensure your fun is also in line with your sober life. The people you meet along the way can help strengthen your commitment to recovery!