Aftercare and Addiction—Do You Need It?
Addiction is a chronic condition that can have severe and long-lasting consequences on an individual’s health, relationships, and quality of life. Addiction programs can be an effective way to treat addiction, to be sure. But what about in the long run? Recovery doesn’t end after completing a program.
Aftercare is an essential component of addiction treatment, providing ongoing support and resources to individuals as they continue on their path of recovery. After treatment care is just an important to maintain your sobriety and stay on the healing path. Below, we’ll discuss the benefits of aftercare in addiction programs and why it’s crucial for a successful recovery.
What is Aftercare?
Aftercare is a term used to describe the support and resources provided to individuals who have completed an addiction treatment program. Aftercare can include a range of services and programs, such as:
- Counseling and therapy
- Support groups
- Job training
- Housing assistance
- Coping techniques
- Social events
- Nutritional wellness
- Physical exercise
- Medication management
Aftercare is designed to help individuals maintain their sobriety and navigate the challenges of returning to everyday life after treatment.
What Are the Benefits of Aftercare in Addiction Programs?
Aftercare programs provide ongoing support to individuals as they transition back to everyday life. They can help individuals cope with stressors, triggers, and challenges that may arise during recovery. Having access to counseling and support groups can be crucial in preventing relapse and maintaining sobriety. When you need it most, having a friend or mentor to call can the difference between relapse and sobriety.
Access to Resources
Aftercare programs provide individuals with access to resources that can help them achieve their goals and overcome obstacles. For example, these resources can include job training, housing assistance, and financial assistance. Access to these resources can help individuals build a stable and successful life in recovery. Moreover, other resources can include alternative or complementary therapies that you didn’t know existed. In order to stay sober, you have to take a holistic perspective on your recovery journey.
Education is an essential component of recovery. Aftercare programs can provide individuals with ongoing education and training to help them build new skills and learn about addiction and recovery. This education can help individuals stay motivated and focused on their recovery. Whether this includes college classes or technical skill training, education will only help you become more stable and offer more options for your future.
Community support is a critical component of recovery. Aftercare programs can provide individuals with access to support groups and sober communities. When set up properly, these communities can provide a sense of belonging, understanding, and accountability. As a result, being a part of a supportive community can help individuals stay motivated and committed to their recovery. Sometimes you don’t want to do “recovery stuff” all the time, so this is where fun, low-key, sober activities come in. Accordingly, community support helps you feel normal and heal at the same time.
Improved Mental Health
Addiction can have a significant impact on an individual’s mental health. Aftercare programs can provide individuals with access to counseling and therapy, which can help them address any underlying mental health issues. In general, improved mental health can help individuals maintain their sobriety and lead a more fulfilling life in recovery. Remember, you’re more than just a body with cravings. You’re a mind and a person on a path toward wholeness, and this includes your mental health.
Will Aftercare Reduce My Risk of Relapse?
Relapse is a common occurrence in addiction recovery. For this reason, aftercare programs can help individuals reduce their risk of relapse by providing ongoing support, education, and resources. Having access to these resources can help individuals stay focused on their recovery and prevent relapse.
But there are different types of aftercare programs that can help prevent relapse. Research studies, like this one in JAMA Psychiatry, shows that more traditional relapse prevention aftercare is most beneficial within six months of leaving treatment. However, after twelve months, alternative aftercare programs like mindfulness based options work better over the long run.
Does Aftercare Work With 12 Step Programs?
Aftercare in 12 step programs is a critical component of addiction treatment. For example, 12 step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), are based on a set of guiding principles and a community of support. The 12 steps are designed to help individuals build a foundation for sobriety and a new way of life. After completing a 12 step program, individuals can continue their recovery journey through aftercare programs. As a result, these support and reinforce the principles learned in the program.
One study in the journal for Addictive Behaviors showed that, compared to the other aftercare programs, those with AA were the most helpful overall. Other programs were also effective, but for the majority of people, AA programs were the most accessible. The key is to find out what type of aftercare makes the most sense for you, and whatever you prefer will end up being most effective.
Aiming For Long-Term Success
The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is long-term success. Aftercare programs are designed to help individuals achieve long-term success in recovery. This happens by providing them with the support and resources they need to maintain their sobriety. With ongoing support and resources, individuals can build a successful life in recovery and achieve their goals.
Treatment is essential, but so is aftercare. Therefore, the perspective of both the short-term and the long term are key for a lifelong healing journey.
Thinking Toward the Future
Aftercare is an essential component of addiction treatment. Unquestionably, it provides individuals with ongoing support, resources, and education that can help them maintain their sobriety. Most importantly, it can help achieve long-term success in recovery. By providing access to counseling, support groups, job training, and housing assistance, aftercare programs can help individuals build a stable and successful life in recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, consider the benefits of aftercare and how it can support a successful recovery. At Impact Recovery, we offer extensive aftercare support and assistance for all our graduates. If you want to learn more or are ready to start your recovery today, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our staff today.