Aftercare Programs For Substance Abuse & Addiction

Aftercare (ACP)

The ACP or aftercare program is one of the many ways in which addiction treatment mirrors the treatment of any chronic condition.  Aftercare is a broad range of community-based service support designed to maintain benefit when the structured treatment is done.  It may involve continuing individual or group counseling and other support, but usually at a lower intensity and often by other agencies or organizations.  

According to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)[1].  Many individuals first embark upon their substance abuse treatment journey with a period of professionally supervised detox.  Depending on the substances abused and the recommendations of a treatment professional, this first-line measure may require medically-assisted detox.  Medications are involved, all formal detox protocols are conducted to allow for the safe, comfortable clearance of substances and their toxic influence from people’s systems in early recovery from drug or alcohol addiction.

What is Aftercare?

Refers to services that help recover drug-dependent persons from adapting to everyday community life after completing earlier phases of treatment and rehabilitation.  It provides an opportunity to address critical issues and problems associated with abstinence and recovery.  Aftercare provides a safe environment for continued support till it is no longer needed. 

Aftercare programs are composed of medical, psycho-social, and economic programs focused on reviewing and consolidating the gains made during treatment.  The program aims at imparting new skills for sustaining recovery, which would include: 

  •  Handling everyday responsibilities 
  •  Managing family, peer, workplace, and other relationships
  •  Expanding the social circle 
  •  Reintegration to work or referrals to agencies that facilitate employment or livelihood
  •  Sustaining and developing new insights into the client’s psychological and emotional  functioning

Therefore, aftercare is a concern even during admission to the rehabilitation center and planning for discharge.  Before discharge, the Aftercare shall be designed carefully and initiated together with the Drug Rehabilitation Center team, family and employer, if applicable.  The conduct of social preparation to the family and community is a prerequisite of the program.  A client should clearly define the Criteria for entry into Aftercare and completion for each client.

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Goals Of Aftercare

The focus is for the client to achieve a “holistic recovery” and provide support and guidance to prevent relapse into drug use.  

  •  Help recovering drug dependents cope and manage their cravings for prohibited drugs after discharge and to aid them in acquiring knowledge and skills to prevent or manage relapse
  •  To develop for the recovering drug dependents new social networks and peer-group programs using new approaches that will operate in a self-help orientation under professional supervision
  •  Provide services designed to increase the recovering drug dependent’s self-reliance and integration into society through educational, vocational, and social programs
  •  To help patients identify and alleviate high-risk factors of addiction and develop coping skills to deal with them
  •  Assist recovering drug-dependent persons develop positive social support system
  •  Develop community-based self-help support groups to assist drug-dependent persons in the recovery process, social reintegration, and maintenance of abstinence

Benefits Of Aftercare In Addiction Recovery

Aftercare builds self-efficacy, and self-efficacy protects against relapse.  Even people who have made consistent and dedicated recovery efforts have high rates of return to drug and alcohol use.  Still, participation in aftercare programs has been demonstrated to lower relapse rates.  For people who are beginning a life of recovery, aftercare provides the necessary support for sobriety to help people:

  •  Commit to lifelong recovery
  •  Find and embrace a support network outside of rehab
  •  Stay healthy physically, with follow-up appointments
  •  Continue mental and emotional healing from addiction
  •  Avoid relapse through proper maintenance and treatment, if applicable
  •  Start sobriety on the right track

How Long Does An Aftercare Treatment Plan Last?

The aftercare plan may be active for several months or even a year or longer.  In addition, as you progress in recovery, some components of the aftercare treatment plan may no longer be needed and will be discarded.  The aftercare plan is fluid and dynamic and will provide support for as long as necessary.  Approximately, the program is recovering drug dependents for at least eighteen (18) months.

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Aftercare Services And Solutions For Recovery

First, it’s vital to acknowledge your harsh treatment stay at We Level Up Center for Recovery is not a final cure.  Instead, it is only the beginning stage of your addiction recovery path. Throughout your stay, you’ll be learning or revitalizing the coping skills you can use far beyond treatment.  For example, our group therapy and counseling provide a solid foundation.  Thus, you’ll forward with an action plan addressing the next step to stay in recovery successfully.

Specifically, the aftercare program offers recommendations on lifestyle changes and preventive maintenance for your sobriety.  Because as someone in recovery, you’ll need to follow your agenda and actively manage your disease diligently.  The good news is you don’t have to do this alone.  Your treatment team will ensure everything will follow-up appointments, the next steps in treatment, and connecting you with our alumni community and a Certified Recovery Coach.  Some other things we may help with as you transition include:

  • Addiction Aftercare Groups
  •  Family, Martial, or Vocational Counseling
  •  Work, school, or continued education
  •  Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous Meetings
  •  A sober-Living House
  •  Medication Management
  •  Psychiatric Services
  •  Physical Rehabilitation
  •  Medication-Assisted Therapy

Our highly experienced case specialist and aftercare coordinators will work with your therapist and family to develop a plan for your specific situation and needs.  They are an essential part of your clinical team. They will:

  •  Locate living arrangements, meetings, and doctors
  •  Discuss options with you and your family
  •  Assess your needs and stay abreast of your progress

Creating An Aftercare Plan

Aftercare is far from an “afterthought” to acute care.  On the contrary, it’s one of the most critical stages of the rehab process.  It allows for the creation of strategies for relapse prevention and the development of coping skills.  Technically, aftercare begins once you’ve completed a recovery program and are ready to make the transition back to your community.  In reality, the aftercare phase of recovery begins from the time you enter treatment.  Even as you go through detox and rehab, your treatment team will identify the tools and skills you’ll need to succeed after you finish the program.  Therapists and staff with thorough knowledge of a program’s resources can usher clients through the process of setting up schedules, contacts, and effective treatment regimens for ongoing support after completing treatment.

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Once initiated, aftercare can continue for as long as you’re committed to a healthy, meaningful life in recovery.  People who stay abstinent and sober after rehab often attribute their success to participation in aftercare services like mutual support groups, 12-step meetings, alumni organizations, or volunteer activities that support sobriety.  These activities can help you stay connected to other people who share your goals and values and motivate and inspire you to create the future you want.

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Types Of ACP

Participation in aftercare programs can begin occurring as a client is winding down treatment after a client resumes work or school or at other times.  However, it is recommended that clients begin aftercare immediately after acute care ends.  Many of the aftercare programs described can take place concurrently.

  • Sober Living Community:  Sober living facilities are particularly suited to those who lack a stable, drug-free living environment. In addition, straight living communities, sometimes known as halfway houses, offer a safe place to live for people transitioning from residential rehab to regular life. 
  • Alumni Programs:  Many comprehensive rehab programs offer alumni organizations for their former patients. At We Level Up, organizations allow you to stay in touch with your treatment team and nurture the strong bonds you made in rehab.  Membership is a lifelong alumni organization that can give you the motivation you need to keep up with your recovery goals long after you finish your program.
  • Participation in a 12-Step or Alternative Support Group:  Peer support is an essential component of most aftercare treatment plans.  Most communities have mutual support recovery groups where people in recovery can share their experiences and learn new coping strategies.  Twelve-step groups are the most famous example of this framework in action.  Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Al-Anon, Dual Recovery Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous are available.  There is free of charge to attend a 12-step meeting, and participation is highly confidential.  For those seeking more secular programs, alternatives like Smart Recovery are available as well.  In addition, many community mental health centers offer other groups and classes for individuals seeking a support system after rehab.

Components Of ACP

  • Case Management:  Case managers can be some of your most valuable allies throughout the recovery process.  Their role becomes essential in discharge and aftercare as you prepare to re-enter the world outside the rehab facility.  These will act as advocates, guides, specialists , and supporters. 
  • Ongoing Counseling:  They also develop various coping skills and strategies for handling stress and other triggers that can quickly lead to relapse.  Once treatment is complete, continuing to attend group and individual therapy sessions promotes ongoing personal growth. In addition, it continues to address the complex issues underlying addiction, which may include trauma or mental illness.
  • Family Therapy:  According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, addiction is a family disease that leaves the family system in a state of chaos. It tries to compensate for the unhealthy behaviors of an addicted family member. Family therapy is to continue to rebuild familial relationships, repair trust and improve communication among family members.
  • Avoiding Relapse In Recovery:  Addiction has similar symptom recurrence rates (in the case of addiction, a return to drug or alcohol use) to other primary chronic health conditions like depression, emphysema, or high blood pressure.  As with these conditions, a thoughtful aftercare plan developed to help clients utilize their relapse prevention skills reduces the chances of returning to drug or alcohol use.  One primary function of aftercare is to help you understand how to effectively deal with triggers and steer clear of factors that increase the risk of returning to use.

The purpose of aftercare is more encompassing than relapse prevention alone.  The ultimate goal of aftercare is to keep you engaged in recovery as you make the transition from rehab to the rest of your life.

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Aftercare Programs Near Me

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction takes time and dedication.  Even searching for aftercare or sober living programs takes time.  For help finding recovery meetings near you, check out the local rehab resources finder on We Level Up.

Aftercare can ensure that the progress made in acute treatment will be provided and integrated into a satisfying life strategy.  In addition, with proper planning and support, you can increase your chances of meaningful recovery.

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At We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope.  All working as a team providing Aftercare Program and other aspects of treatment.  Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life.  Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists.  Our specialists know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

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[1] Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2014). Substance Use and Mental Health Estimates from the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Overview of Findings.