What is Aftercare?
Aftercare is a system of support that continues even after your recovery program is complete. Consider a teenager first getting his permit. He studies and takes a test that then gives him the ability to drive. Before then, he could not legally get behind a wheel and drive. Therefore, the government requires that he then wait a set amount of time to get his license to drive by himself. That time frame gives the teen time to practice driving with an adult. Instead of the teen being thrown out to learn how to drive by himself, he gets secondary training.
Aftercare follows the same basic idea. The treatment program is the primary program. Aftercare is the second program that prevents the newly addiction-free person from having to immediately learn to fend for himself. It provides time to acclimate.
The aftercare plan is designed specifically for the individual receiving it. You and your support team will design a plan for how you can continue to remain addiction-free long after treatment is over. It may include additional counseling, access, and information to support groups, and much more.
Reasons Aftercare is Important
Once you step out of your addiction treatment program, it is like stepping into a whole new world- one that you do not yet know how to navigate. One minute you are surrounded by people and activities that are intended to help you. Next thing you know, it feels like you have been thrown to the wolves with no weapon in sight. It is one thing to fight an addiction when you are surrounded by positive things, a support system, and a lack of temptation. It is a completely different battle to return to the life that was once ruled by addiction and try to stay clean.
Facing this new world alone and too quickly can easily lead to relapse. This is why aftercare is essential because of it:
-It eases you back into the world with full freedom.
If you step out into the world with complete freedom immediately, you might not know how to stay away from your old life. When you were in your treatment program, it was easier to fight the addiction because your substance of choice was not readily available to you. That is no longer the case once you leave your program. Suddenly, you are back where you were when addiction controlled your life, and the freedom to do what you choose.
With aftercare, you have access to a community of people fighting the same battle and others who are there to help that understand what you are dealing with. Loved ones are great, but if they have never experienced addiction, it is hard for them to understand your battle. With this community of support, you no longer have to feel like you were thrown to the wolves.
-You have an accountability system.
Without someone to be accountable to, it is too easy to think that you can go back to your old life and no one will know or care. Being accountable means that you have someone to answer to, and most people do not want to admit that they relapsed.
-Your support is around while you learn how to live without the addiction.
Living without addiction when you have lived with it so long can be extraordinarily different. You basically have to learn how to live again- how to function in your daily life without the thing that once helped you cope. With aftercare, your support stays with you while you learn how to live life as a new, addiction-free person.
Your treatment program is important, but aftercare is just as important to your success. To prevent relapse, it is vital to have an aftercare plan. Here at Grace Recovery, we will design and help you implement an aftercare strategy that can keep you on your addiction-free path. Contact us today!
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