The River Source firmly believes in a strong aftercare program after receiving treatment for addiction. Although the successful completion of a drug and alcohol treatment program is the groundwork for recovery, it’s the aftercare regimen that keeps recovering addicts on the right track. Aftercare is especially critical in the early days of recovery when these individuals are trying to cope in the real world without the use of drugs or alcohol. An aftercare program will provide the necessary support that a recovering addict needs and will make the difference between relapse and abstinence.
What is Aftercare?
Aftercare, in short, is a program offered to recover addicts after treatment. This program is designed to keep individuals on the path to recovery as they go through the ups and downs of recovery. Most aftercare programs will only accept those who have been clean for a period of time and show signs of continued improvement. What makes this follow-up care unique is that it’s different for everyone. As the patient completes their outpatient or inpatient treatment, they are then given a personalized plan to help them with recovery.
At The River Source, our patients leave our facility with an aftercare plan in hand. We want them to have a clear direction as they enter the real world, plus have a source of support with various stages of recovery they will encounter. A counselor takes the time to carefully review each patient’s case before creating an aftercare plan, and it’s this individualized attention that makes our follow-up care a step above the rest. This ongoing support has made the difference for our past patients who continued on the path to sobriety with an effective and supportive aftercare plan.
The Role of Aftercare in Recovery
Even if you haven’t personally been affected by addiction, you can understand that recovery is an ongoing process. As much as we would love to say that when patients seek treatment, they come out “good as new”, it doesn’t quite work that way. Many of our patients struggle to exist in society without their drug, while others regress to some of their old feelings of decreased self-esteem and depression. Others need continued therapy as they work past emotional issues. The bottom line is that recovery takes time, just as it does from any type of disease. As a patient who is recovering from surgery needs physical therapy, patients recovering from addiction need aftercare.
A critical dynamic that we work toward here at The River Source is helping our patients to create a healthy, structured schedule. Many of our patients have been abusing drugs for so long, they’ve damaged relationships, lost their job or failed out of school. They have no real schedule to follow, leaving them time to find, use and abuse their drug of choice. As these individuals integrate back into society, we need to teach them how to manage a schedule that will keep them busy, keep their mind off drugs and make them productive members in the real world. With an aftercare program, our recovering patients continue with a strict schedule that keeps them focused on sobriety.
Finally, aftercare programs include meetings where recovering addicts can connect with others like them. It’s almost as if these individuals are being re-socialized, and only those who are going through the same struggles can truly understand what recovery entails. Our 12-step meetings are a continued source of support and education for our recovering addicts, and The River Source offers convenient meeting times and locations to cater to our past patients. The peer support that is offered through these meetings is incomparable and a fundamental unit to recovery.
What Can I Expect from an Aftercare Program?
Where you or your loved one is going through recovery, there are certain things you should know about aftercare. First, it is a personalized plan, so the intensity of the care will differ across patients. For example, some patients may be ordered to live in a sober living environment. The number of meetings also varies as some patients need to check in daily, while others only once a week. In general, aftercare is most concentrated during the early days of recovery and subsides over time. In most cases, we expect that our patients will continue with their aftercare program for a minimum of six months.
Aftercare programs may include any of the following:
- Group meetings
- Recreational activities
- Random drug testing
- Meetings with aftercare alumni
The primary goals of aftercare are to:
- Recognize the triggers for abusing drugs or alcohol
- Understand relapse prevention skills
- Take ownership of actions and behaviors
- Keep busy to avoid boredom
- Create healthy relationships with family and friends
- Develop healthy habits, like having a strict schedule
- Setting goals and reaching them
To learn more about aftercare and recovery in general, contact The River Source at 866-294-9331.