Leaving a rehabilitation center can be both an exciting and daunting time. It’s not uncommon for people to want to jump right back into work, family, and socializing. However, this can prove problematic.
Living in treatment facilities creates a safe and stress-free environment to recover, which is great when someone is in active drug use and addiction.
However, this is also why clients oftentimes feel jolted by life stressors once they are back in the real world. Exposing yourself to stressful situations while maintaining newfound sobriety can stir up uncomfortable feelings and cause relapse.
That’s why aftercare addiction recovery services are important in bridging the gap between leaving a rehabilitation center and becoming acclimated to normal life.
So, here are five types of aftercare, and how they can help you stay sober following addiction treatment.
- 12-Step Substance Abuse Group Meetings
Organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are places where people who have substance use disorders share stories of strength, experience, and hope with each other.
People who join these groups will embark on the 12 steps, a series of spiritual, mental, and restitutive actions with a sponsor. A sponsor typically has multiple years of sobriety and provides guidance to someone in the early stages of sobriety and the 12 steps.
Staying committed to AA meetings, working with newcomers, and getting involved have been reported as the most effective path to alcohol abstinence.
- Sober Living
Sometimes, patients are homeless or live in highly toxic conditions upon entering an inpatient or detox program. When they finish treatment, they may still not have a safe and reliable home environment to go back to. Some might have a home, but they feel that they can’t live independently or in the same conditions as before.
This is where sober living comes in. Sober living is one of the many types of aftercare offered by rehabilitation centers. For a low monthly fee, they provide substance-free housing where clients can focus on finding work and independent residency.
- Participate in Your Treatment Center’s Alumni Program
Staying involved in the center that nursed you back to physical and mental health is a great aftercare option. Most rehab centers offer alumni programs to keep those who have graduated from the program connected.
Typical alumni programs may offer:
- in-person appointments or calls to check in with past counselors and therapists
- active hotlines for support
- staying connected through social media, emails, and message boards
- sober events where current and past clients can meet and connect
Dealing with mental health is something that many people avoid when actively using drugs and/or drinking. If you find yourself facing tough situations in sobriety, it can be easy to fall back on old crutches.
Behavioral therapies can help you navigate new and uncomfortable feelings in sobriety. They can also help you get to the root causes of why you drink or use drugs, figure out ways to deal with triggers, and identify situations where stress can come up.
- Use Sponsorship and Other Alumni for Support
The people you meet and complete your treatment program with often become some of your closest confidants. You all share a similar experience and can build relationships off that bond.
If you have started to attend AA or NA, you may already have attained a sponsor or become close with people who have many years of sobriety.
Pay close attention and follow what these people have done and currently do to stay sober. If you find yourself wanting to use or drink, confide in them. Chances are, they can relate and offer some solutions based on their own experience.
Completing an inpatient drug and alcohol program is a great way to acquire physical sobriety and start life with a new mindset. Continuing care research shows that applying long-term combinations of these aftercare services will yield the best results.