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Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse

After successfully completing a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program, the client deserves respect and admiration. It takes a lot of fortitude and focus to do what’s necessary to start recovering from the disease of addiction. We used the term “start recovering” because that’s what rehab is, a place to start recovering from addiction. The next step to recovering from addiction is in the use of aftercare programs for substance abuse.

As clients leave rehab, they immediately come face to face with reality. It’s time for them to go back out into the real world as sober people. For a lot of people new to recovery, those first few days and weeks of recovery can be very intimidating.

Fortunately, due to aftercare programs for substance abuse, these people don’t have to leave rehab empty-handed. For millions of people in recovery, these types of programs have been the difference between sobriety and chronic relapses.

In the following sections, the discussion is going to focus on the value of aftercare programs. The discussion will then move to the wide range of aftercare programs for substance abuse that are currently available.

The Value of Aftercare Programs

For some people leaving rehab, those first few moments out the door can be very scary. That’s when the realization hits that they need to resume living their lives without depending on harmful substances. If their fear levels are high, it’s indicative that they might not be fully ready to head out on their own.

These are the people in recovery who need access to aftercare programs for substance abuse. They need time to do additional work on themselves. They also need extra time to distance themselves from the “dog days” of drug or alcohol abuse.

At the end of the day, aftercare programs serve a very specific purpose. They provide recovering addicts with an opportunity to solidify their recovery before resuming taking responsibility for their lives. Taking this extra time to solidify their recovery will help prevent recovering addicts from relapsing.

Types of Aftercare Programs for Substance Abuse

When clients need additional help with the recovery process, a “one size fits all” approach isn’t going to work. Why? Everyone in recovery has a different set of circumstances. For that reason, the addiction treatment community has worked hard to create a nice variety of aftercare programs for substance abuse.

Currently, there are four general types of aftercare programs for substance abuse. The list includes:

  • Ongoing outpatient counseling
  • 12 Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Sober Living Homes
  • Rehab alumni programs and events

Let’s look at each of these options in more depth

Ongoing Outpatient Counseling

As the least restrictive aftercare option, ongoing outpatient counseling is ideally suited for the person who is on the right track towards recovery. Typically, they are the clients who have gotten all they can from residential treatment but still need to keep working.

For the most part, outpatient counseling aftercare programs for substance abuse require clients to report for treatment a couple of times a week. While attending individual counseling sessions, clients will continue working on developing better coping and life skills. These are the skills they will need to fight back against temptation and their personal triggers.

Each appointment will generally last no more than a couple of hours. As a client continues making good progress, the number of hours they need to spend in counseling should diminish until they feel ready to go it alone. Of course, they will never really be alone. Additional counseling will always be available should a client need it.

12 Step Programs

A large section of the addiction treatment community believes there is nothing that rivals one recovering addict helping another. As aftercare programs for substance abuse go, 12 step programs are the only option that doesn’t include outside intervention.

All 12 Step programs like AA and NA are run by membership. Membership is free, and the only requirement for membership is a desire to find and maintain recovery.

12 Step meetings are available pretty much every night in almost every major city in the world. The structure of these programs is built around the “12 Steps of Recovery.” The 12 steps are sequential steps that members need to work on in conjunction with a sponsor. After completing the 12 Steps the first time, members are expected to keep working on the steps on an as-needed basis.

At the end of the day, 12 Step meetings are one of the best support resources available to people in recovery. The number of lives that have been saved over the last 80 years due to 12 step programs is in the millions.

Sober Living Homes

For clients that are exiting rehab who feel insecure about their recovery, a month or two in a sober living home might be the right solution. Sober living homes serve as a great bridge between rehab and returning home to the responsibilities of everyday life.

The two most important things that sober living homes offer are the time to rebuild the structure in one’s life and a chance to develop lasting support resources.

As for life structure, people who battle with the cycle of addiction tend to destroy the structure in their lives. Without structure and discipline, relapses become a certainty. Through a strict set of rules and responsibilities, each sober living resident gets the opportunity to create new boundaries for their life.

As for support resources, everyone in a sober living home suffers from the common disease of addiction. They also have the common goal of trying to stay sober. By working together in a sober living environment, each resident gets an opportunity to build relationships and new avenues of support.

Rehab Alumni Programs and Events

A lot of times, people in recovery can benefit from staying involved with the addiction recovery community. Doing so gives those in recovery a chance to stay connected with other people who are on the same path towards lifelong recovery. It also gives the rehab staff members an opportunity to track the progress of their alumni.

It’s easier to spot people who are struggling with recovery in a social setting. Why? They tend to stand out in the crowd and often see alumni programs and events as a chance to reach out for additional help.

If you’re new to recovery and would like more information about aftercare programs for substance abuse, we here at Harm Reduction Center are happy to help you. Here we provide a plethora of addiction treatment and aftercare resources for people that suffer from addiction. To learn more about our treatment facility here in Boynton Beach, FL, contact us today.

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