The process of recovery lasts a lifetime. That’s why quality addiction aftercare programs for substance abuse are so important. The initial detox and rehabilitation phases serve to stabilize a person’s body and mind, making it possible to start fresh. After a stay at a treatment facility, most participants experience a renewed hope for life.

While most people feel much better at this stage, this is one of the most dangerous phases of recovery. The memories of hitting rock bottom may be fading a little. This can lead some addicts to believe it’s safe to get high “one more time.”

When relapses occur after a period of sobriety, they can be emotionally devastating. They can also present a greater risk of death. Relapse rates are between 40 and 60 percent. Having an aftercare plan for substance abuse is the best defense against the chance of relapse.

Creating a Plan for Sober Success: How Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse Work

An aftercare plan covers the support systems that assist a person in maintaining long-term sobriety. An aftercare plan for substance abuse will fit with the individual’s needs.

Examples of common addiction aftercare programs include:

  • Staying in a group home designed for sober living.
  • Attending 12-step meetings in the local community.
  • Maintaining an ongoing relationship with a sponsor.
  • Committing to group or individual therapy.

The aftercare plan for substance abuse is usually created near the end of an inpatient rehab stay. At that time, the patient will meet with their treatment team to discuss options. The team will examine a variety of factors. These include the severity of the addiction and whether the patient has a dual diagnosis.

Another factor to look into is the patient’s ability to commit to the aftercare schedule. Some patients enter treatment after losing everything and living on the streets. However, others become addicts while maintaining careers and raising families. If a patient has responsibilities they must return to, it might be better to choose a more relaxed aftercare plan for substance abuse.

Likewise, a patient may have unique needs that require certain support services. For example, if the patient was homeless before treatment, they will need help securing housing. Some programs include help with childcare or transportation as well. There are community resources available in West Palm Beach to help people get back on their feet.

A Typical Timeline for Aftercare Programs for Substance AbuseTimeline for Aftercare Programs

An individual’s aftercare needs will change over time.

The First 30 Days

This is a crucial time for someone in recovery. The team will work with the patient to develop a viable plan. It will cover living arrangements, goals, and a schedule for daily life. The schedule should include therapy, 12-step meetings, and outpatient visits.

Making logistical arrangements is only half the battle. The patient must also prepare for the emotional challenges of recovery. The plan should cover coping strategies for drug cravings and other destructive impulses. Holistic support options, such as yoga classes or hiking, can help the patient remain positive.

The Next Few Months

During this phase, patients are ready to begin challenging themselves with more responsibility. If not already working, the patient may wish to discuss the possibility of returning to work. They and their team can look at the details of the situation to decide what’s best.

The patient will continue attending meetings, therapy, and support groups during this time.

Six Months

This is an exciting milestone for someone in recovery! At this point, the person will have likely overcome many cravings. During the first few months, the body and mind heal from the effects of drug abuse. After six months or more, the person’s life begins to heal.

Damaged relationships often begin to recover during this time. Friends and family notice the work the person is doing to recover. It’s a great time to focus on long-term goals for one’s career and love life. The patient may choose to support others in their sobriety by taking part in their rehab center’s alumni program.

A Year or More

After more than a year into recovery, the patient should be making serious progress. The threat of relapse is still present, but the cravings will usually lessen during this time. The key to continued success will be avoiding complacency. The patient can maintain their passion for sobriety by becoming a sponsor. Aside from alumni programs, one can also find people to sponsor through community 12-step meetings.

This is a good time for a person to look at their long-term plan and begin taking chances to achieve their dreams.

Options for Addiction Aftercare ProgramsOptions for Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse

Sober Living Group Homes

Of all addiction aftercare programs, sober living is one that recovering addicts should consider. Unfortunately, not everyone has a safe and supportive home environment to return to upon completing rehab. Patients who were homeless or in dangerous living situations will need help with housing. The best aftercare programs for substance abuse include a referral to a sober living home.

Sober living homes can help recovering addicts in a few ways. First, they place the person in a substance-free environment. This is important for early recovery. It’s not always possible to avoid temptation, but someone new to recovery hasn’t developed the strength to resist.

Secondly, the sober house will surround a person with others who are also in recovery. This will not only provide support, but it will also help the person learn how to build healthy friendships without using substances as a crutch.

Lastly, the rules and regulations in a sober living house create structure. When someone suffers from drug addiction, the healthy structures in their lives fall apart. Their lives instead become centered around getting and using the drug of choice. A big aspect of sobriety is rebuilding the structures and routines of a healthy life.

Most sober living options involve stays of a year or less. Rules are typically strict for new residents. Over time, residents earn more privileges, proving they are ready to return to independent living.

12-step and Other Support Groups

Living in a sober home isn’t possible or necessary in every case. Some addiction aftercare programs focus on moving the patient straight into independent living. However, even in cases where a patient has a healthy home environment to return to, ongoing support is important. All aftercare programs for substance abuse should include regular attendance of 12-step meetings.

Support groups provide a judgment-free atmosphere for recovering addicts to share their struggles, concerns, and triumphs. The 12-step program focuses on working through a series of steps. These steps help the recovering addict make their way back to a healthy and happy life.

Individual Therapy

One-on-one therapy is another important element of an aftercare plan for substance abuse. Most people can benefit from talk therapy whether they struggle with substance abuse or not. For a recovering addict, private counseling is crucial.

It’s recommended that those who are new to recovery attend therapy at least once or twice a week. Those with a history of trauma or a dual diagnosis may want to consider maintaining a permanent relationship with a therapist.

Aftercare programs for substance abuse may utilize the following types of therapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Holistic and experiential therapy
  • Dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy

Avoiding Relapse in Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse

Patients should enter addiction aftercare programs with the goal of creating a plan to deal with temptations. Aftercare programs for substance abuse can offer a recovering patient a great deal of support. Nonetheless, the threat of relapse persists. 

Any good aftercare plan for substance abuse should include an awareness of triggers. These are people, places, sounds, emotions, or anything else that can tempt someone to use a substance. Once a person is aware of their triggers, they and their team can come up with a plan to handle them. Having a list of people who can provide support during moments of temptation can help.

All aspects of addiction aftercare programs are important. However, the patient must also work to create joy in their own world. Finding sober activities that add joy to one’s life will shift the focus away from substance abuse. Examples of healthy hobbies include sports, dance, yoga, hiking, artwork, and music.

If a relapse does occur, all is not lost. Most patients relapse at some point. If it happens, it will be crucial for the patient to turn to their support team. Giving up might be tempting, but relapse can be an important learning experience. By admitting their mistake and reaching out for support, the patient will likely be able to enjoy continued success in recovery.

Help from Intrepid: An Aftercare Plan for Addiction

Here at Intrepid Detox Residential, we offer medically certified treatment in a serene atmosphere. Located in beautiful West Palm Beach, FL, our treatment center is like a home away from home. Our addiction treatment specialists will provide support through every step of the recovery process. After treatment, attending a quality addiction aftercare program will lead to life long recovery.

Are you ready to change your life? You deserve the happiness of a sober future. Please contact Intrepid Detox Residential to learn more.