It is difficult to overcome drug and alcohol addiction, but it is possible. However, in order to make a lasting change, aftercare plays a crucial part of any treatment strategy. The reason that aftercare is so important is because once that patient leaves the residential treatment, which is when addiction recovery really starts. Sometimes patients find that everything is a bit overwhelming. They want guidance to ensure that they do not relapse.
All the questions of what you are going to do once you leave the recovery program are what go into making an addiction aftercare plan. How do you start making such a plane? There are five different steps that go into the creation of this plan.
Step #1 – Seek an Expert Opinion
The best place to start is with the residential treatment center you have attended. Any good rehab facility will tell you more about the different local programs and help you flush out the aftercare plan. This might involve help finding employment, family therapies for addiction and private counseling. You can draft an individualized plan specific to your needs with the help of your counselor.
Step #2 – Document Your Plan
Once you have a good idea of what type of program interests you, you need to make concrete plans. This means calling and narrowing down location, including days and times of meetings. When you document your plan, you are going to reduce overall anxiety. The reason is that the where, when, what and who questions are all answered. You will know what to do next.
Step #3 – Do Not Merely Assume You Will Avoid Relapse
It is important to take a moment and define exactly how you intend to prevent relapse. Any solid aftercare program will integrate a relapse prevention plan. How are you going to avoid triggers? How will you reduce the countless causes for relapse? This may include trying to avoid anxiety, isolation, anger, stress and other bad habits that may trigger a desire to use. It is important to have this in writing because it provides you with the tools necessary to live a sober life.
Step #4 – Let People Around You Know
For those that are lucky enough to have a support network available, the next step is letting people know about your aftercare plan. This may mean informing friends and/or family members how you are going to continue on this journey. By informing your support network, you let them know how they might be able to help you or maybe even encourage you in a moment of weakness.
Step #5 – Stick to The Plan
Yes, this sounds straightforward, but once you have an aftercare plan in place it is important to stick to it. While this sounds simple, oftentimes people are going to become complacent in attending meetings with their counselor or eating healthy food. They might stop avoiding bars or people who use illicit substances. It is important to remember how you managed to become sober in the first place and continue to live by those guiding principles.