When someone with an addiction goes through recovery, they will need as many resources as possible to prepare themselves for a life of sobriety. There are numerous skills they need to learn as they adjust to their new lifestyle and there may be a lot of ups and downs along the way. Even after completing their inpatient treatment, they may need extra support in order to get accustomed to the day to day experience without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Even though staying a few months in a treatment center is a great way to address many of the issues that cause addiction, it is not the same as being at home. In a treatment facility everyone is a little isolated from real life and it can be easier to succeed without any bars, parties or drinks around. Once a patient returns home they will be confronted with a lot more problems that they weren’t faced with during treatment.
Extended care gives people a chance to continue getting help while they get used to the experience of being sober in their normal routine. They can go to work, hang out with friends and learn how to deal with specific issues that come up as they are happening. Aftercare programs can be a crucial factor in preventing relapse.
Learning to Cope with Triggers
One of the most valuable aspects of extended care is that it allows people to learn how to deal with triggers as they occur during the course of the day. While living in a treatment facility they may still experience triggers but it will not be the same as when they have the real chance to relapse. There also may be different kinds of triggers that they hadn’t anticipated while in treatment.
During aftercare, patients can still receive much needed counseling and can even talk to a support to discuss what they have been dealing with on their own. Having that support system can mean the difference between successful sober living and relapse. Talking to others about what you are going through is critical staying strong with sobriety.
In aftercare counseling, former patients can identify any new triggers they have noticed and receive advice about the best way to deal with them. They might not know what to do when an old friend they used to drink with invites them to a party or if their coworker suggests they go out for drinks after work. There is also much more stress involved in daily life than in treatment and learning to deal with that stress is essential to recovery.
Reintegration and Life Purpose
After completing their inpatient stay at a treatment center, former patients may feel better but still a little lost. They might need to make new friends, start a career or start their life over in general. Reintegrating back into their life without the escape offered by drugs and alcohol can be painful at first.
People in recovery need to find the activities, people and things in their life that make them happy. In the past their days might have been fueled by the desire to get drunk or high and obtain more substances to get by. Filling the hole left by cutting out these activities is something that they need to work on after treatment.
During aftercare, former patients can have the opportunity to work on finding the things that give them a sense of purpose. They might have the chance to volunteer, engage in new hobbies or spend time with other people who are adjusting to sobriety. As they work to discover what they need to feel satisfied with their daily existence they can have the support of counselors and group meetings to help them along.
Learning to live sober can be a long process and it is never fully resolved in only a few months of treatment. It will take a lot of work and focus in order for people to feel more comfortable in their sobriety. Managing the disease of addiction can take a lifetime and getting as much treatment and support as possible can make the experience easier in the long run.
Many treatment centers offer their own extended care program to ensure that all of their patients are successful in recovery. Before entering treatment you might consider asking about the facility’s extended care options and see what they include. Aftercare can be an essential element of your journey to sobriety so researching and selecting a treatment center based on their aftercare can be a good decision.
Addiction can take a long time to treat and the longer that a patient can have access to treatment and support the better they will feel in recovery. If you or someone you love has an addiction, find a treatment facility that has the type of aftercare that you feel will work best.