Even after you have been through a professional addiction treatment and rehabilitation program, you might still need aftercare/continuing care to ensure that you do not relapse once you leave the facility or program.
About Aftercare/Continuing Care
Aftercare/continuing care refers to the processes, programs, and services that will be provided to reduce your risk of relapse after you check out of an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program. It is often provided as part of the services in an inpatient recovery program.
From the time you check into such a program, you will be prepared for your life after rehab. Often, the continuing care plan will be focused on improving your relapse prevention skills. You will also be taught how to face challenges that might crop up in your life in recovery.
Part of the aftercare/continuing care plan would involve relapse prevention. During your inpatient treatment, you will be taught how to identify the triggers that used to cause you to engage in destructive behaviors. Further, you will learn how to deal with these difficulties.
In the same way, the aftercare plan will focus on showing you how to establish new self-care practices and healthy boundaries. You might also be introduced to other resources that can enable you remain strong in your recovery. Examples of these resources include 12 step support group programs, alternatives to the 12 step support groups.
The planning process could also teach you the psychology and science of substance abuse and addiction. In this way, you will learn how you got into an addiction treatment program and what you need to do to ensure that you do not go back to the substance related problems that you used to struggle with.
Most aftercare/continuing care plans also teach healthy and practical recovery skills even when you are enrolled in a residential care center. These skills will enable you maintain your sobriety in the long term. They include but are not limited to:
- Addiction education
- Balanced nutrition
- Expressing yourself in more creative ways than drinking alcohol or abusing drugs, such as writing, art, or music
- Healthy coping skills
- Social skills training
- Stress management
- Therapeutic approaches, including cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing to change your negative behaviors and thought patterns
Life After Rehab
In the same way, aftercare and continuing care will offer you new opportunities to allow you to practice the new recovery skills that you are learning. Depending on the treatment program that you are undertaking, you might be required to volunteer your time and skills within the local community. you might also get the opportunity to dine out, or go bowling or to the movies.
These activities will allow you to experience day to day activities without resorting to drug and alcohol abuse. In the process, you will learn that it is possible to live a productive and meaningful lifestyle without these substances.
As part of your aftercare/continuing care, you might also be put in touch with an alumni program, or linked to other recovery services - such as ongoing outpatient addiction treatment, therapy and counseling services, and support groups - which you can rely on to ensure you do not relapse in the future.
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