What Is Aftercare?

What Is Aftercare?

Rehabilitation centers assist addicts with various therapies that treat mental health disorders, behavioral issues, motivation levels, substance-craving cues, maladaptive thought patterns, unresolved trauma and other issues that can lead to relapse. Though it might start in rehab, addiction recovery is an ongoing process assisted by aftercare support that follows the primary treatment. In 2007, The Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment defined recovery as a voluntary lifestyle that focuses on the maintenance of sobriety, personal health and positive citizenship. Recovery is about comprehensive healing, not just abstinence, and it is important to utilize aftercare resources to maintain recovery.

Examples of Aftercare Services

Aftercare services range from professional to pedestrian, while some resources are simply recovery game plans with preplanned responses to potential problems. Aftercare is as comprehensive as the healing it hopes to promote. There are several common aftercare resources, including the following:

  • Local recovery groups to provide social support and understanding
  • Defined courses of action for the recovery such as 12-Step programs
  • An established recovery sponsor who can provide guidance and emergency support
  • Recovery partners who provide positive, supportive and sober social outlets
  • Ongoing counseling for issues like mental health disorders and family dysfunction
  • Recovery toolkits that help individuals preplan for possible high-risk situations
  • Life counselors to help with resumes, job searches, housing and other basic needs
  • Expressive arts, physical fitness and other positive sober activities
  • Recovery journal or blog that encourages reflection, planning and structure

Certain aftercare aids involve established or professional resources such as ongoing counseling or support groups. However, aftercare can be any activities, organizations or processes that help recovering addicts improve their physical, mental and social health. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence website notes that many paths to recovery exist, and aftercare services empower recovering addicts with life tools to find the right paths and traverse them successfully.

The Role of Aftercare Support

Just as there are many types of aftercare programs, the benefits they provide also vary. Aftercare can help addicts in several ways, including the following:

  • Enhance recoveries through social learning
  • Provide mutual accountability and support
  • Foster motivation through shared goals
  • Improve overall lifestyle structures and planning
  • Preempt potential problems or catch them early
  • Create positive activities to replace the substance abuse
  • Reduce the possibility of mental health setbacks
  • Make sure the recovery stays on the right track
  • Restore healthy family dynamics and relationships

An addiction can affect family members in various ways, and many aftercare programs strive to restore healthy balance, dynamics and communication at home. Even if the addiction does not lead to domestic abuse, it can still motivate enabling behavior, traumatize children, create deep resentments and cause major shifts in family roles and responsibilities. For this reason, many aftercare programs involve the entire family and help loved ones work through their own issues related to the substance abuse.

Aftercare Support and Help

Treatment centers, therapists and recovery support groups are among the best sources of information on aftercare services. During treatment, rehab staff helps patients develop recovery plans moving forward that include aftercare assistance and programs. Information on local recovery support groups is usually available online or by speaking with local health services.

Our admissions coordinators can also help provide information on aftercare, treatment, rehab facilities and other recovery resources. Health insurance companies often provide benefits for primary treatment and certain aftercare services, and we can check your policy for specific coverage. We are available 24 hours a day so please call our toll-free helpline now.