Who Needs Relapse Prevention and Aftercare?

Relapse prevention and aftercare plans are essential for anyone who has been through an addiction treatment and rehabilitation program - whether such treatment was offered on an outpatient or an inpatient basis.

The Importance of Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Planning

Through a relapse prevention and aftercare plan, you might be in the best situation to ensure that you continue maintaining your continued sobriety and recovery after you have already been through an addiction treatment program.

The main goal of this plan would be to ensure that you do not start using drugs or drinking alcohol again when your treatment has been deemed complete. Additionally, the plan could support you so that you are able to maintain a lifestyle of health, wellness, and productivity away from all intoxicating and mind altering substances.

Once you are in recovery, you will find that it is important for you to remain optimistic, informed, and engaged with your sobriety. Since this might be difficult, it is essential that you have the right resources, accountability, and support.

By involving yourself with your relapse prevention and aftercare plan, you can ensure that all these things come to pass. Although this might seem obvious, it is not always clear to many people who have struggled with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health and medical disorders.

It is for this reason that these plans often include a wide variety of components. Taken together, these components can create the safety net that you are going to need for your sustained recovery after rehab.

Aftercare programs are especially important if you have just checked out of an addiction treatment program. This is because it is at this period when your risk of relapse would be at its highest.

Who Needs Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Plans?

When you have been through a treatment program, you still need to be aware of all the triggers that could cause you to relapse. These triggers include any events, places, people, circumstances, or environments that might lead to your continued substance abuse and addiction.

However, it is sometimes impossible to avoid all triggers and cues to relapse. Should this happen, it is important that you are well prepared to counter it. By creating a solid relapse prevention and aftercare plan, you will have the strength, coping skills, and tools to enable you make healthier choices, as well as to refuse the urge to start using drugs and drinking alcohol again.

Your aftercare plan might also help you continue filling your time with more positive activities, people, behavior, and influences - as well as taking care of yourself. You should also always remember how difficult it was for you to uproot the negative behaviors, emotions, and thoughts linked to your substance using lifestyle.

At the same time, it is essential that you continue working hard to ensure that all these negative influences are no longer in your life. For this reason, you are going to need a solid relapse prevention and aftercare plan.

Creating Relapse Prevention and Aftercare Plans

While thinking about your life post-rehab, you should remember how grueling and lonely the road to substance abuse and addiction way. In many cases, you will note that the disease was accompanied by negative emotions like fear and isolation.

By creating an actionable relapse prevention and aftercare plan, you will come to realize and understand just how powerful and important support can be to your continued recovery in the long term.

This is because aftercare and relapse prevention are impossible to do on your own - much in the same way you could not overcome your substance use disorder without help and support.

Although these plans will often consist of personal endeavors like aftercare, it is also essential that you ensure that you have a strong support system put in place. This could prove to be a crucial and vital part of your continued and sustained recovery in the long term.

Unless you have support, it might be difficult for you to resist the temptations and urges to start using drugs and drinking alcohol again. For this reason, most relapse prevention and aftercare plans include support systems that are comprised of family, friends, and members of recovery support groups.

While creating your support system, you should also focus on the following aspects of relapse prevention and aftercare planning and programming that could prove useful for your recovery:

  • A personal course of action
  • Aftercare services provided by your chosen rehab center
  • Attending group and/or individual counseling and behavioral therapy sessions
  • Building support networks comprised of friends, family, and other loved ones
  • Consistently identifying and dealing with your triggers and cues
  • Developing highly enhanced interpersonal and stress management skills
  • Engaging in peer mentorship
  • Goal setting and actualization
  • Going for family therapy sessions, and relying on family support
  • Having a plan on how you are going to deal with any relapse that occurs
  • Having a sponsor, and counting on them for support when and as needed
  • Joining and participating in peer support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Modifying your coping mechanisms on a regular basis to match your evolving needs in recovery
  • Ongoing outpatient addiction treatment
  • Partial hospitalization programs (or PHPs)
  • Participating in online recovery support groups
  • Seeking ongoing treatment for any co-occurring mental health and medical disorders that you were diagnosed with over and above your addiction
  • Creating solid relapse prevention plans
  • Step-down inpatient or residential care programs
  • Transitional living (through sober living facilities or halfway houses)

In the same way, you should keep in mind that your relapse prevention and aftercare plan will only work if it is highly individualized to meet your unique needs and preferences. To this end, you should strive to ensure that this is the case before you check out of your chosen drug rehab program.

Getting Help

Even though most addiction treatment programs can help you create a solid relapse prevention and aftercare plan, it is important that you continue adjusting it over time to match your evolving needs for recovery. By so doing, you can keep up with your sobriety over the long term without experiencing any relapse incident.

CITATIONS

https://jpo.wrlc.org/bitstream/handle/11204/3747/Webinar%20Brief_Aftercare%2C%20Relapse%20Prevention%20and%20Continuing%20Care_Applying%20Research%20Findings%20to%20Practice.pdf?sequence=3

https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1989-41063-001

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163190/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12084137

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260249478_Recovery_Training_and_Self-help_Relapse_Prevention_and_Aftercare_for_Drug_Addicts

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