When it comes to battling addiction, rehab is only part of the solution. What happens after rehab is really important to your recovery journey and for your relapse prevention plan. That’s where aftercare comes in.
So, what is aftercare?
Aftercare programs offer ongoing support even after you have left the rehabilitation facility. They are designed to work with you and for you – for as long as you need. Aftercare is strongly focussed on relapse prevention and making sure you don’t fall back into old habits.
Your aftercare program can include a range of different supports and services tailored to help you. For some people, having a random UDS (Urine Drug Screen) every week is aftercare. Some people have weekly or fortnightly individual counselling sessions with a counsellor who specialises in addiction. For others, attending family counselling and weekly meetings is what they need to help with continuing to focus on their recovery.
Planning your aftercare
Building a post-rehab plan for yourself is vital. Within the first 90 days of recovery, the risk of relapse is at its highest. This risk decreases over time and the more you focus on the tools and knowledge gained during your rehab stay the better chances you have to avoid relapse.
Your relapse prevention strategy should take into consideration your living arrangements. Are they suitable and do they serve you now? Do you need to look into moving into a more healthy environment or find space within a supported accommodation program?
Finding out about meetings and programs that operate near where you work and live can be important as well as identifying people that are safe and supportive to call on. Building these support networks is key. Organising and continuing with counselling services is also a very powerful way to maintain structure and accountability in your recovery.
Part of planning your rehab aftercare is identifying situations that are high risk for you and becoming aware of potential triggers to look out for. This will help to develop and strengthen your coping strategies that you started creating, learning about and implementing during your stay at rehab.
Remember, you are not in this alone. At no point in your recovery journey do you need to be alone.