A Better Today

5 Step Guide to a
Strong Aftercare

What Does a Strong Aftercare Look Like When Your Loved One is Returns from Treatment?

If your loved one is coming out of treatment, you may not know what to expect. He or she is now faced with considering what is the best thing for them to do for a solid aftercare. Having a solid aftercare is just as important as getting quality treatment. When your loved one is in treatment, he or she is taken away from the temptation to use drugs and alcohol.

Coming home after treatment, there is then the challenge of sticking to what he or she learned in treatment and applying it to everyday life. A solid aftercare entails many things, but one of the most important concepts to remember is that recovery is a total life change. While aftercare is different for each individual, there are certainly tried and true actions that your loved one can take to ensure that he or she does not go back down the path of drug and alcohol abuse.

We hope that with the skills and tools learn in treatment, your loved one approaches their aftercare with confidence. We also hope that your loved one truly puts thought and care consideration into their aftercare and have the attitude of doing whatever it takes to remain drug and alcohol free.

Empowering You with Knowledge

Graduating a drug & alcohol treatment plan is challenging. The reward is the opportunity for a better quality of life.

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Getting involved in the sober community allows your loved one to see success stories of those also in recovery.

Step 1: Getting Involved in the Sober Community: Surrounding Themselves with Sober Peers

When your loved one was using drugs and alcohol, he or she may have made a habit of living in isolation. A solid aftercare should include getting well connected with individuals in the recovery community. No one wants to go through tough times alone and recovery can be challenging to say the least, especially in the beginning. 12 step, SMART Recovery, or church group meetings can give your loved one the support they need in aftercare.

In recovery, support is always key. Your loved one should work hard to push through any tendency to isolate themselves. Getting involved and socializing with individuals who are also in recovery is beneficial to their well-being. In treatment, your loved one’s therapists are like teachers. Peer support, is your loved one connecting with people that they see as equals. Peers are there to listen and talk. Your loved one will need to be surrounded with individuals that have been through addiction and understand exactly what they are going through.

Your loved one may even find out that his or her story can help reach someone who is just starting out in recovery. There are also very helpful online recovery discussion groups and pages that your loved one can participate in on almost all social media sites.

Step 2: Relapse Prevention & Identifying Triggers

While in treatment, your loved one will have crafted a relapse prevention plan. Relapse prevention plans are very important because they can help your loved one think ahead and prepare themselves for any challenges that might occur after they graduate treatment.

A solid relapse prevention plan will include an honest look at his or her past substance abuse, the relapse warning signs to look for in his or herself, a support network, an emergency relapse plan, and specific ways to ensure that all his or her needs are met.

Imagine if your loved one was sent out back to the neighborhood that she or he used in and old friends came around to say hello. If those old friends are still using, they may tempt your loved one as well. A solid aftercare would be remembering preventative techniques instead of allowing themselves to relapse in a moment of weakness.

Your loved one’s relapse prevention plan is no good, unless it is put into action. Solid relapse prevention plans give your loved one the tools and coping skills. Rest assured, if they put into action what they learned in treatment they will be able to stand their ground with strength, and have a firm ability to say no to drugs and alcohol.

Relapse Prevention Inspires Confidence

Help Your Loved One Find Their Inner Strength Through Aftercare

Step 3: Continued Care Through Outpatient Treatment

Many times, individuals will have some outpatient treatment and they may attend Evening Intensive Outpatient Program. If this is what was agreed on in your loved one’s aftercare plan, it is very important that your loved one makes it to all their group appointments.

Outpatient treatment can set people up for success after treatment because it gives them a smoother transition into life after treatment. Evening IOP or other similar programs can help reinforce the lessons that were taught in treatment and guide your loved one in the right direction that promotes sobriety and positive thinking.

Intensive outpatient will surround your loved one with people that care and know exactly what your loved one is going through. Developing a solid support network with therapy sessions is important and if your loved one participates in EIOP, they will still have a chance to have one on one sessions with their therapist.

During this time changes may be made to your loved one’s aftercare plan depending on progress and receive continued guidance. EIOP can be a critical component of a solid aftercare and takes place usually in the evening, giving individuals a chance to meet their responsibilities with work, school, or family.

Step 4: Establishing Healthy Boundaries & Sticking to Them

Maintaining healthy boundaries after treatment is another key component of a solid aftercare. Your loved one may have to make many changes in their social circle, cutting out anyone that threatens their recovery. Imagine for a second that your loved one comes home from treatment, only to be approached by someone that he or she has used drugs and alcohol with.

Maybe they find out that she or he is home and want to pay them a visit. This is where strong boundaries must come into play and is an important part aftercare is being able to effectively and assertively handle these situations.

A solid aftercare looks like your loved one cutting ties with family or friends that are still actively abusing drugs and alcohol. Your loved one must consistently stick to his or her boundaries in a way that does not allow anyone else to interfere with his or her progress.

Having an aftercare plan is about your loved one trusting his or her instincts and not allowing anyone to put them in harm’s way. Depending on the individual, they may take this very harshly and become upset –but that is okay. Your loved one is essentially doing what is necessary to protect his or her life.

Strong Aftercare; Strong Recovery

Achieving Their Own Version of Success Will Motivate Them to Refrain from Using Again

Step 5: Hobbies, Nutrition, Exercise & Setting Short-term Goals

Recovery entails building a whole new life. A solid aftercare plan should include your loved one getting back into some of the hobbies and activities that they previously enjoyed. For example, say your loved one used to take photographs as a hobby. Solid aftercare could be your loved one diving back into taking photographs again – or find another healthy hobby to participate in.

Nutrition and exercise are also very important in aftercare. Exercise and nutrition will ideally be important to your loved one not only right after treatment, but for the rest of his or her life. Addiction has a way of leading individuals to forget self-care. Aftercare is a time when your loved one should begin to start taking care of their body again.

Your loved one may begin to set some goals for his or herself. Goal setting is very important because it will keep your loved one moving forward to achieve something that they may otherwise would have not achieved due to their drug and alcohol use. Educational, travel, financial, or career goals are all examples of the areas your loved one can work to improve. We know that with positive support and reinforcement, your loved one can achieve anything!

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Unbiased Sources You Can Trust for Long-Lasting Recovery

When you are researching rehabs, treatment cost, and aftercare plans for substance abuse you want reliable information that will truly help you convince your loved one to go to rehab. You want to help them the best way you can and finding reputable information is important in the decision to get them the help they need for their addiction. Finding trustworthy information can be challenging. There is so much out there, and no one wants to base their life-changing decisions on fake news.

ABTRS provides knowledge about the recovery process from unbiased resources. Below is a list of sources we utilize that will provide impartial information that is not funded by organizations that could benefit from certain outcomes, and proven or tested to be effective for substance abuse treatment and aftercare. We will continue to try to provide you with reputable sources that are up to date and relevant.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse: Clinical Issues in Intensive Outpatient Treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series 47. DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 06-4182. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Client’s Handbook: Matrix Intensive Outpatient Treatment for People With Stimulant Use Disorders. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4154. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2006.

Polcin, D. L., Korcha, R. A., Bond, J., & Galloway, G. (2010). Sober living houses for alcohol and drug dependence: 18-month outcomes. Journal of substance abuse treatment, 38(4), 356-65.

SAMHSA. (2019). Recovery and Recovery Support. [online] Available at: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/recovery [Accessed 19 Feb. 2019].

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