What comes after rehab?
You've finished treatment. Now what? Having a strong plan for aftercare is the key to staying sober.
What is an aftercare plan?
Transitioning out of treatment can feel overwhelming. An aftercare plan supports someone in their recovery, prevents relapse, and helps them work toward their life goals. A good aftercare plan includes activities and resources that will help you cope with triggers, stress, and cravings.
What should be in my aftercare plan?
Each peron's aftercare plan should be unique to their needs. Many times, a healthcare professional who is trained in addiction treatment will work with someone to create an aftercare plan that meets their needs. For example:
Sarah just completed 35 days in rehab. Her aftercare plan may include getting help at an intensive outpatient treatment program while living in sober living housing.
James just finished outpatient treatment. His aftercare plan might include attending 90 meetings in 90 days.
Andres has just finished 6 months in intensive outpatient treatment. His aftercare might include stepping down to outpatient treatment where he meets one-on-one with a counselor.
All three may benefit from one-on-one counseling, support groups, medications for addiction treatment, or other services designed to help them manage stress and cope with triggers.
What types of things are in an aftercare plan?
Your plan might include:
Regularly attending meetings
Some professionals recommend attending 90 meetings in 90 days when you first leave treatment. This will help you build a strong support network. After those 90 days are up, you may want to continue to regularly attend meetings. Some examples of meetings you might want to look into include: Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Heroin Anonymous, Co-dependents Anonymous, or Narcotics Anonymous.
Stay in sober living after completing treatment
After leaving treatment, you should consider staying in a sober living facility. This will help you ease back into normal life and will help you create a structured routine.
Recovery housing is specifically designed to address your need for a safe and healthy living environment and lets you access peer support groups. Many people live in recovery housing while pursuing other treatment options. For example, you can live in sober housing while also doing outpatient treatment.
Making a crisis management plan
No one's life is perfect and it's impossible to anticipate every day day or traumatic event. Knowing how to manage cravings and recognizing the warnings signs of relapse will play a major role in your early recovery
- Start by writing down your triggers (people, places, things, events, etc.)
- Next, write down a list of self-soothing techniques that make you feel grounded. This list might include things like walking, meditating, breathing exercises, journaling, calling a trusted loved one, etc.
- Finally, write down a list of emergency contacts. The people on this list should be safe, understanding, and willing to help you during an emergency. If no one comes to mind, you can text SHATTERPROOF to 741741 to speak with a compassionate, trained Crisis Counselor. This service is confidential and available for free 24/7.
Aftercare acts as a bridge between the structured environment of treatment, and the challenges of returning to everyday life. A good aftercare program will help you take care of yourself during this transition and beyond as you navigate life in recovery.
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