Completion of any rehabilitation program is a fantastic, empowering accomplishment. It’s important to take that motivation and momentum and continue to build from it in order to secure your future in recovery. Moving forward and keeping your focus on maintaining your sobriety is the key to achieving long-term success. That’s why it’s so important to create an aftercare plan that meets all of your needs and help cement the foundation for your future.
What is Aftercare?
Before your discharge from any recovery treatment program, you and your team of therapists, case managers, and counselors should develop an aftercare plan. This plan should detail all the things you need to secure the best possible start to a life free of drugs and alcohol, including:
- Housing: will you be returning home? Do you need assistance finding a new place to stay? Will you be transitioning into a sober living community for additional support? If you are returning home, is there someone there to help support you through the early days of your return? These are all questions which should be answered before your discharge date.
- Continued Care: Being self-aware and continuing to manage life’s challenges in a positive manner is the key to staying ahead of unexpected temptation and triggers. Be sure that you have a plan for continuing your progress through therapy and support, rather that is through group meetings, individual therapy, or both. For those living with co-occurring mental health disorders, safely continuing medications you may have been prescribed and working with mental health professionals is essential to your recovery. Sticking with these means of continued care allows you to further explore your new life and strengthen your arsenal of tools for managing clean and sober living.
- Goals: Having a heading for where you would like your life to go following treatment helps prevent feelings of being lost or uncertain, which can contribute to potential relapse. Determine both short term and long term goals you can work toward throughout your new life. Breaking down the things you wish to accomplish into smaller tasks and steps makes them easier to tackle. With each small victory you build your confidence and momentum until the life you’ve always wanted becomes the one you’ve created.
It’s easy to get over confident when you successfully complete substance abuse treatment; don’t allow that to derail the hard work you’ve already put in. Aftercare is more than important- it’s vital. Here’s 5 reasons to stick to your aftercare plan:
- The work isn’t over just because you have the certificate. Now is the time to put what you learned into practice.
- Getting too comfortable can potentially open doors to accidental triggers and unexpected urges.
- Overconfidence may lead you to test your boundaries, which is a rapid slide into relapse.
- Your aftercare plan gives you a sense of direction and purpose while you continue to grow and learn about yourself in new ways.