When it comes to recovering from a serious addiction or substance abuse problem, every step you take towards sobriety is important. However, maintaining sobriety once an addict’s time in treatment has come to an end is one of the most important aspects of long-term recovery. While many people think that the recovery process concludes as soon as they pack their bags and leave rehab, this is simply not the case. Failure to participate in an addiction aftercare program or programs will most certainly result in relapse. Know your addiction aftercare options and learn to recognize your relapse triggers before they present themselves. Get to know a bit more about addiction aftercare and its important role in the addiction recovery process.
Addiction aftercare is the recovery support programs addicts engage in after completing the initial detoxification and rehabilitation process. Once you spend a few weeks or months in rehab and you are released back out into the real world, your commitment to sobriety and recovery is truly put to the test. Addiction aftercare encompasses all of the support and treatment measures that are in place to help you overcome obstacles and maintain sobriety.
Many people underestimate the possibility that they will relapse after they complete a rehabilitation program. They think that strong-will is simply enough on its own to avoid relapse.
Following the initial rehabilitation process, the first few months are the time period in which a person is most vulnerable to begin using again. In fact, even after those first few months, the first five years are also a time period in which relapse is more highly likely. About half of all people who make it through a rehabilitation program will relapse and end up starting the recovery process over from the beginning. The majority of these relapses occur in these initial time periods, and a lack of aftercare and support is a prime factor in whether this occurs or not.
Now that the importance of aftercare in the addiction recovery process has been established, it is equally as important to know some of the options that addiction aftercare has to offer.
Many people who suffer from an addiction and are fighting to stay sober do not suffer from a substance abuse problem alone. Dual diagnosis, or the existence of a mental health or mood disorder with a substance abuse problem, is highly prevalent among addicts. Aftercare in the recovery process can provide the recovering addict with the treatment and support for their mental health disorder as well as the addiction itself. Individual or group therapy and counseling can help a recovering addict to deal with the mental health condition that is so closely connected to their addictive behavior. Upon release from treatment, patients are encouraged to join groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and build the positive relationships necessary for long-term success.
Addiction aftercare also provides the recovering addict with resources for family therapy. Family therapy can help the recovering addict to rebuild relationships with family members that they may have hurt or alienated through their addiction-related behaviors. Rebuilding and mending these relationships and creating a supportive family environment will help the recovering addict feel that their family loves and supports them and that they need to feel guilty for the mistakes made in the past.
The importance of aftercare cannot be overstated. Recovery is a life-long process, not short-term event. Family therapy and mental health treatment are just a couple examples of the many options that addiction aftercare has to offer to help keep the recovering addict sober and mentally and physically well.
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