Why Aftercare Matters in Addiction Treatment
An inpatient treatment program is the best way to start your recovery from addiction. A good programme can help you detox safely and get you started in intensive individual and group therapy. It’s a safe place where you can get a break from the pressures of your daily life while you focus on recovery. It’s an opportunity to get on a regular schedule and create healthy lifestyle changes. Inpatient treatment is an excellent start to recovery but it’s only a start. A strong recovery requires continuing effort, long after you leave. Good aftercare can help you make the transition back to your normal life and keep going strong in recovery.
People leaving a treatment community typically face several challenges. The first is having a safe, stable place to live. Many people are limited by what they can afford, but even if money isn’t an issue, finding a living situation suitable for recovery may be hard. People typically go back to what’s familiar. If that includes a chaotic or dysfunctional family life or even a clean, safe place where they feel lonely and bored, their environment may be working against them.
Another challenge is going back to the stress of daily life. For most people, that means going back to work, where, after a long period of recuperation, they may have a lot to catch up on. This is the first major test of recovery after treatment and it can feel like jumping into the deep end. For many ambitious people, work stress may have played a role in developing an addiction in the first place.
A third major challenge is that people leaving treatment often find themselves among the same people they spent time with before. Some of these people may have contributed to the addiction, either because they used themselves or they are stressful people to be around. Whenever possible, it’s best to avoid these kinds of people, but it often takes an effort, and you may feel lonely at first.
A fourth challenge, related to the others, is maintaining the positive changes you made during treatment. Many of our behaviors are situational. Going away and getting a clean break from your regular life makes it easier to learn new behaviors, but when you come home, it’s easy to slide back into old habits. It takes some work to translate what you learned in treatment into the context of your normal life.
All of these challenges are why aftercare is so important. Quality aftercare programs can support you while you transition back to your normal life. What comprises aftercare depends on the facility and your particular situation. It may include a sober living environment, outpatient counseling, alumni networking, reunions, or volunteering opportunities.
Sober living environments are a good option for people who are leaving treatment but may not have a stable, drug-free home to go back to. They are especially good for people who have had trouble transitioning from treatment to normal life. Sober living homes make this process more gradual. They offer a safe, drug-free environment. Life at a sober home is not as structured as life in treatment, but there is some structure. There is typically a curfew and residents are expected to help keep the place clean and help with chores. Often residents are required to work or look for work and submit to drug tests. Sober living homes offer a bit more freedom and autonomy, allowing you to ease back into normal life while surrounded by others who are also committed to staying sober. It’s usually a good idea to attend 12-step meetings as a way of developing a support system outside of treatment. People often make friends with their sober housemates, creating new social connections for when they are once more out on their own. The Dawn has a sober living house in the Nimman area of Chiang Mai. The sober house is an a trendy location, near cafes, shops, restaurants, spas, and with easy access to public transportation.
Any good treatment programme will include making a relapse prevention plan before you leave. This will include things like identifying triggers and knowing what to do when you encounter them.The plan will also include ways to implement self-care for a healthier lifestyle. You will learn the warning signs of relapse and learn strategies to deal with the emotional and mental signs that typically precede relapse. When you leave treatment, you should already have a pretty good idea what comes next in recovery.
Follow-up counseling is another important form of aftercare. If you live near your treatment center, you may be able to return periodically to talk to a therapist. If you don’t live near your treatment center, you may be able to speak to your therapist on the phone or online. The Dawn offers free online group counselling sessions for up to eight weeks. If you can’t join those sessions because of privacy concerns or a scheduling conflict, you can schedule individual appointments for a small fee. This is a perfect time to discuss any unexpected challenges you’ve encountered since leaving treatment.
For most people, the experience of treatment isn’t limited to the time they spend in residence. Addiction treatment is a transformative experience and residents will often keep in touch with treatment staff and other residents. Good treatment centers make a point of staying in contact because they want to know how their clients are doing. When you finish treatment at The Dawn, you become part of our Alumni Community. Many members of our Alumni Community volunteer to help staff and organize events and meetings to help others overcome addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or mental illness, The Dawn Medical Rehab and Wellness center can help. We are one of Thailand’s most respected addiction treatment and wellness centers. We use cutting-edge treatment modalities to provide personalized care to treat addiction, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, PTSD, and executive burnout. See our contact page to reach us by phone or email.