The term “aftercare” refers to what is recommended for a client to participate in after treatment. In a full continuum of treatment, aftercare is a lower level of care that a client goes to after they complete detox and residential care. Detox and residential is when a patient lives on site while they are detoxing from the drugs and alcohol. Aftercare is when a client attends only a few hours per day of treatment while they start to work and continue their lives. After the end of the treatment for addiction, it is time for the patient to return to his or her home and their social life with relatives and friends. It is essential to be aware that addiction has no cure. However, the results of working a program and individualized treatment allow the person to lead a normal life. This means that even after leaving a program, those that are close should try to keep a close eye on their loved one and monitor any relapse or presentation of suspicious behavior.
A program is like a safety net. One is expected to do groups, meet with a therapist, do frequent drug tests, and are often supervised by staff if they happen to be living in a sober living or transitional housing community. During aftercare, nobody holds one accountable for their sobriety other than themselves. An addict needs to work just as hard on their aftercare as they were while in a detox program, if not, even harder. Attend meetings, going to therapy sessions, and maintaining contact with those who care for your sobriety is vital. To continue maintaining sobriety after being involved in a program can be extremely difficult. An addict going back to the environment in which they were in before can be very triggering. It is not easy to resume the routine of life when new behaviors and friendships need to be formed. An addict may feel lost and lonely, fearful of their condition of fragility in the face of situations they once faced with substance abuse or alcohol. It’s important to remove oneself from these types of situations because one can quickly get sucked back into their addiction if not careful. Addiction may have no cure, but if an addict works hard to preserve their sobriety and mental health, long lasting sobriety and a healthier lifestyle can be achieved. For more information check out our Drug and Alcohol Treatment page