Addiction aftercare is crucial for long term addiction recovery. Aftercare is the term used for the period after leaving an inpatient addiction recovery center.
If you’re new to addiction recovery, the idea of 10 years, five years, or even one year sober may seem like a long shot. It’s not a long shot. Once you create a firm foundation and root yourself into a new, sober life, you begin to gather tools for long term recovery; this is where the role of aftercare is vital.
Alcoholism is a chronic illness. If you’ve been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, managing this condition will continue throughout your life; that’s the bad news. There’s no cure for addiction yet, with the exception of successful treatment. And that’s also the good news. Today, there are more options and addiction therapies for treatment than ever before in history.
Some would say addiction aftercare is at the heart of a recovering person’s new life. It is a time when you become a member of a new community of sober individuals. Aftercare is the time for more in-depth exploration of the issues hidden under the addiction.
Aftercare is where meaningful growth occurs.
Community in aftercare
For those new to addiction recovery, the dramatic shift in friendships is challenging. The friends who drank and used with you are no longer a part of your circle. Addiction aftercare brings a clean slate of sorts.
When Danielle left an inpatient addiction recovery center, she was overwhelmed with all the lifestyle changes on her addiction aftercare plan. She even had to adjust routes she drove to work because there were places along the way she used to stop and drink. She imagined a lonely life ahead, but nothing could be further from the truth.
A year after leaving treatment, Danielle has a closer group of friends than she ever had when she was using. The friends Danielle has today know all her secrets and still support and encourage her. They’ve seen Danielle at her darkest moments. Danielle feels good in her own skin today. In part, she feels this way because of this new community surrounding her. Addiction aftercare meant joining a healthier community of friends.
Take a look at “Rooted,” Promises Behavioral Health Alumni Community offers free weekly virtual meetings for fellowship among Promises’ alums and non-alums.
Addiction aftercare handles heavy issues
In addiction aftercare, Danielle has uncovered some deep memories of abuse from childhood. She and her addiction recovery therapist have gently looked at some previous trauma in Danielle’s past. With her therapist and sober friends’ support, Danielle is learning how to manage grief, stress and past hurts without using drugs.
Before she left the inpatient addiction recovery center, Danielle helped create an addiction aftercare plan, which included time for her hobbies. Danielle enjoys kayaking, and her aftercare plan encourages time on the river.
As deeper issues from childhood have surfaced, Danielle has leaned more heavily on her sober support system and hobbies. Initially, these deeper issues caused cravings, and she used the tools from treatment to stay sober. Danielle relied heavily on her aftercare plan in the first weeks home.
Now, she’s discovering new tools for managing her chronic addiction. Exercise, fellowship and other tools like meditation have replaced the urge to use when she feels uncomfortable.
As she gets healthier and stronger, Danielle discovers even more tools to use in her addiction recovery management. For instance, when using, Danielle never took vacations. Now, she makes sure to schedule at least two weeks away from work each year. In this way, she keeps up her energy to manage her recovery.
Meaningful growth in addiction recovery
Danielle doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of organized religion. For Danielle, spending time in nature is where she feels the most spiritual. There were suggested actions in her aftercare plan to maintain a spiritual connection with a power higher than herself.
Daily meditation, meetings with fellows in recovery and time outdoors all qualify as spiritual moments for Danielle in her new sober life.
By staying rooted in her new sober life and surrounding herself with a strong group of recovering people and support, Danielle is experiencing a more meaningful life. Her aftercare plan was the starting point for this new life.
Knowing where you fit within the addiction recovery stages can help by providing a gauge in your aftercare. It’s always reassuring to know you aren’t alone, and you aren’t the only person feeling as you do.
Take a look at the stages of recovery as explained by VeryWellMind.com in the article, “The Stages of Change Model of Overcoming Addiction.”
No matter what stage of recovery you’re experiencing, you can get to the next chapter of your story.
The Ranch Pennsylvania can help. Call us today at 717.969.9126
By Heather Berry
Contributing Writer with Promises Behavioral Health