Once you complete an initial detox and treatment program for alcohol use disorder (AUD) or substance use disorder (SUD), your recovery journey is not over. Rather, it is just getting started as you move to aftercare. Therefore, an essential part of aftercare is understanding how aftercare prevents relapse.
What Is Aftercare?
Aftercare is just as important as the detox and treatment program you completed. Aftercare consists of many services, strategies, and skills to help you maintain your sobriety and remain alcohol or drug-free.
The disease of addiction requires ongoing care, and aftercare is a vital part of that ongoing care. With a proper aftercare plan in place, it can help someone remain sober long-term.
What Does Aftercare Include?
Aftercare includes many of the things you were doing while in detox and addiction treatment, such as:
- Attending individual counseling sessions.
- Attending group support meetings.
- Uncovering and identifying additional triggers related to your addiction.
- Continuing to develop coping skills and strategies to help overcome triggers.
- Establishing short-term and long-term goals and creating a plan to achieve them.
- Focusing on your health and well-being to maintain harmony between your mind, body, and spirit.
- Learning effective skills to help manage stress and anxiety, like meditation, yoga, and mindfulness.
- Creating an action plan on what to do when you feel like you may lapse or relapse.
- Sticking to a structured routine that includes eating healthy and regular exercise.
- Learning when and how to adjust your aftercare plan as your needs change and when coping skills are ineffective.
- Developing new friendships with other sober people.
- Having a sober buddy and sponsor, you can turn to when you need additional support.
- Learning to become comfortable with your new sober lifestyle.
- Learning how to put your needs and sobriety first.
As you can see, aftercare is much more than just going to meetings. It is also worth mentioning that each person’s aftercare plan will vary based on their needs and addiction.
How Aftercare Prevents Relapse
The primary goal of aftercare is to provide you with the skills, tools, and strategies to help you manage your sobriety and avoid lapses and relapses. In addition, you have access to a wide range of resources and support services now that you are no longer at a medical detox and addiction treatment center.
For example, you may have decided to move into a sober living facility after completing your initial treatment. Sober living facilities are perfect when you do not have a stable home environment to return to and are worried about relapsing.
You also have access to group support meetings, AA meetings, 12-step meetings, health and wellness classes, and other resources to help you continue working on your recovery.
In addition, you have opportunities to enjoy events, sports, and activities with other sober people. By participating in these, not only can you make new friends, but you can also grow your support network.
Furthermore, aftercare can help prevent relapse because you will be more in tune with yourself, your triggers, and potential warning signs that could cause you to drink or use drugs. You are also enabled with the skills and tools on what to do when cravings become too strong for you to manage on your own.
As a result, you are in complete control of your recovery and maintaining your sobriety.
Does Aftercare Offer Any Other Benefits?
Yes, aftercare offers other useful benefits to help you become more comfortable with your new sober lifestyle, including the following:
Teaches How to Socialize With Others
You learn how to socialize with others, where you can hang out to meet people, and how to avoid triggering locations, people, and settings.
Teaches How to Hold Yourself Accountable
Part of recovery is being accountable for your actions and their consequences. Maintaining accountability helps you maintain your sobriety and avoid relapse.
Allows You to Support Others
Aftercare is not just about you having a support system in place. You can also be a part of another person’s support system. When they are struggling, you can be there to encourage them and provide support to help them maintain their sobriety.
Helps You Not Get Overstressed by Everyday Problems
Everyone faces financial, relationship, and employment problems at least once in their lifetime. Aftercare shows us how to alleviate stress and approach these problems logically using our learned skills and tools.
Do People in Aftercare Still Relapse?
Yes, people in aftercare can still relapse. For example, they might be overconfident in their coping skills. They could face a major blow they were not prepared for, like the death of a loved one. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 40 and 60 percent of people with SUDs will relapse within the first year after completing rehab. For those with AUD, the relapse rate is slightly more than 75 percent, as reported by the National Institutes of Health.
Part of the reason for relapse is due to the cues associated with AUDs and SUDs. For instance, someone might see friends they used to drink or use drugs with. Or they might pass by places where they drank or used drugs. These cues can create a vulnerability and become stronger over time, leading to stronger cravings and eventual relapse.
Relapse should never be viewed as a defeat. Instead, you should consider it as part of your recovery journey and a minor setback. The primary thing to remember, the longer you remain sober, the less likely you are to relapse.
Relapse Detox Treatment in Pompano Beach, FL
Should you slip up and relapse, you can get back on track with your recovery at DCF and Joint Commission-accredited Retreat of Broward in Pompano Beach, FL. Our medical detox facility provides a supportive, caring, and safe environment with personalized detox treatments. Contact us today.