Did you know that an estimated 23.5 million Americans age 12 years or older are in need of treatment for drug abuse? Of that 23.5 million, only 2.6 million seek and receive treatment. When a person completes a treatment program, they can receive the help they need to regain their sobriety, but rehabilitation is just the beginning. Once a person is clean and sober, they need to learn how to transition back into society. This may mean that they need to acquire new skills or tools to help them maintain sobriety. Of the 2.6 million people who receive treatment, 60 percent who complete their treatment program end up relapsing. The solution is aftercare transitioning/planning.

Most people think that once a person gets clean and sober that they’re done. The truth is, if individuals are to remain abstinent, their recovery doesn’t and can’t end when they complete their treatment program. They must plan for their transition back into real life, so they don’t fall back into old habits.

Aftercare Programs

Before an individual completes their treatment program, they should address how they will transition back into life. When this is done early on, it reminds the person that they will complete their program and are in charge of their decisions. Planning for the transition in a safe environment allows people to become more accustomed to the fact that they will be on their own and that they can stay sober after treatment. Some of the aftercare programs can include:

  • Exercises to help build confidence and to have the individual realize that long-term recovery is possible and they can overcome difficult situations on their own or with the aid of family or a professional.
  • Educating the individual on warning signs of relapse and what to do when they occur.
  • Strategies on how an individual can react to cravings and what to do if triggers occur.
  • Including family members and close friends in some therapy sessions and educational opportunities to create a bond and support system before treatment is over.

Structure Helps with Addiction Aftercare

Individuals will find that almost all treatment facilities have a highly structured schedule. Schedules can vary but can include group and individual therapy sessions, educational sessions, scheduled meals, and recreational activities. Individuals are always supervised, and any triggers to substances are removed.

When a person has completed their treatment program, they will be used to this fixed structure, but when they return home, they’ll notice that structure isn’t there. However, a structure can be created and modified to maintain sobriety. By creating structure at home, individuals can feel confident in their ability to stay sober. Everyday activities should be planned to prevent boredom. Planning an individual’s structure for when they return home can be done during treatment, so they feel ready to transition back to home once they’ve completed their program. A typical day can look like this:

  • Exercise.  When a person exercises, their cravings, and risk of relapse can reduce because the levels of dopamine in the brain are increased. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain that gives a pleasurable sensation. Levels of dopamine increase when drugs are used, but are also increased during exercise and can lead to a person’s perceptions of reward and pleasure without using drugs. Exercise also improves mood and self-confidence. Exercises that a person can do are running, swimming, playing tennis, and bicycling.
  • Work/Chores. Being productive can help prevent relapse after addiction treatment. Productivity brings about higher self-esteem and a feeling of purpose, making temptations to return to abusive behaviors minimal.
  • Time for reflection. Time for reflection are times when an individual reminds themselves why they should stay sober and motivates them to not relapse. Observation time can help reduce stress and can allow for better decision making.
  • Follow-up care. Aftercare includes appointments made weekly or monthly for an individual to see their therapist. Aftercare can include one-on-one or group counseling sessions. It can also include a regular assessment to ensure the person’s mental health is right to prevent relapse.
  • Alternative activities. People can make up a list of other activities they can do to help them stay sober instead of giving into cravings or boredom. Walking, talking to a friend or cooking a meal are all alternative activities that can be done to prevent relapse.

Addiction Aftercare at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services

At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, we know that recovery doesn’t stop at an individual’s treatment program. This is why we have created a drug and alcohol addiction program that includes relapse prevention programs. Our facility is located in the best location that provides a very comfortable and secure place and is far away from the stress of daily life. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, we encourage you to get in touch with us today to speak with one of our experienced treatment advisors.