Relapse Prevention and Aftercare
Addiction Treatment Aftercare
One mistake those who enroll in a drug or alcohol treatment program tend to make is trying to rush treatment. It is normal to want to complete recovery and get on with life, but a hurried program only leads to relapse. After detox and treatment you should look for an addiction aftercare program, which provides ongoing support in an even less structured environment. A good aftercare program has been designed to be convenient so that individuals can easily continue in it while living their life normally.
Why is Aftercare Necessary?
Aftercare is an important component in preventing relapse since it occurs right after the end of treatment as the individual gets back to their normal life. Relapse prevention is designed to create a supportive and comfortable environment in which someone recovering from addiction is able to speak openly about his or her feelings, struggles, temptations and strengths during the recovery process.
Staying connected to the recovery community and the support system the person has become comfortable with is the number one way to remain sober and avoid relapse. Another way is to be open and honest about thoughts, feelings, temptations, and slip-ups. The sooner a person admits they are starting to or have relapsed, the sooner they can get into treatment and on their way to recovery again.
Family Involvement Decreases Risk for Relapse
Relapse rates for people with addiction and other substance use disorders are similar to relapse rates for other well-understood chronic medical illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, and asthma, which also have both physiological and behavioral components, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). While addiction relapse is a setback, it does not mean rehab was unsuccessful or that sobriety is out of the question. It just means the person needs to get back up, ask for help again, and get working on recovery once more.
Families should continue to play a role in their loved one’s recovery during aftercare and can actually help prevent relapse. Family and friends should encourage participation in aftercare programming, AA meetings, and the following of the recovery plan. Loved ones should continue to work with a family program when available and pay attention to their own emotional and relationship health. The best thing families can do is watch for signs of relapse and contact the rehab facility if they suspect a problem.
A Relapse Prevention Plan
For most, this consists of weekly meetings, outings, and activities. A good aftercare program will also include life skills building after treatment, including resume writing, job searching, parenting classes, and school enrollment, which may be needed to integrate clients back into the real world. Counselors should work with clients to determine what areas of life if any, they continue to struggle with, and help them find solutions that will ensure long-term sobriety.
Another component to relapse prevention is involvement with support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. A relapse prevention plan should include independent, daily AA or NA meetings. These organizations meet regularly in convenient locations throughout the world, so no matter where clients end up calling home, they can be certain to find a support group they can trust and get involved with.
Preventing relapse should be a main goal of your overall treatment process.