Anyone who has ever completed an addiction treatment program knows how important it is to have a solid, realistic and effective aftercare plan. Our aftercare plans can often mean the difference between continued, uninterrupted recovery and a significant setback for which we weren’t necessarily prepared We need a variety of resources at our disposal to maintain our sobriety once we transition back into our lives; and our aftercare plans make sure we have these tools and can implement themA solid aftercare plan is developed in collaboration with our treatment professionals and therapists and is the logistical bridge between life in treatment and life in the outside world. It, to a large degree, informs our level of post-treatment success and ongoing sobriety. What, then does an effective and successful aftercare include?
Logistical Support – A quality aftercare plan should include referral information for addiction-trained therapists and support group meetings local to the patient. While we start to make serious progress with our therapists in treatment, it’s not usually possible to continue to work with them after we leave our care facilities. It’s important that we can easily transition to a new therapy routine.
Development of Coping Techniques – The inclination toward relapse is strong and pervasive when we first leave treatment, and for a long time afterward. Part of recovery is learning how to manage the inevitable temptation and cravings that persist well after we complete our program. This is why we should work with our treatment professionals to develop behavioral coping mechanisms that allow us to manage this temptation.
Continued Outreach – Patients should be able to reach out to professionals at their treatment facilities when they’re feeling vulnerable, even after they leave. An effective aftercare plan should include regular phone calls to alumni to assess their progress and see if they need any additional care. There are also significant social media resources we can utilize, like Facebook and Twitter, to maintain the connections we made in treatment. This will further enable us to lend and receive support with those who know what we’re going through.
An effective aftercare plan is a critical element of addiction treatment, particularly when we first complete treatment and find ourselves struggling to get our footing in the world.