When a recovering addict chooses a residential detox and rehab programme, his or her recovery is not complete upon leaving the facility some four to 12 weeks after being admitted. In fact, it has only just begun. Recovery is a lifelong process if, for no other reason, than the fact that the only true cure for drug or alcohol addiction is total abstinence. Unfortunately, one key component is sometimes missing from treatment programmes: aftercare and ongoing support.
Statistics from the Addiction Today medical journal suggest an 18% increase in the number of recovering addicts who have successfully completed residential treatment over the last few years. However, as the journal points out, not all of those recovering addicts are getting the support they need after leaving residential rehab. The importance of aftercare and ongoing support cannot be understated.
In the UK, there are opportunities available to access aftercare and ongoing support. More broadly, the support is available throughout England and abroad. It is a matter of addicts and their families finding what is available and taking advantage of it. Our job is to help you do just that.
Aftercare and ongoing support are more of a collection of support services rather than just a single therapy. Yet statistics show that recovering addicts who do not receive proper aftercare and support are 10 times more likely to relapse within one year of completing residential rehab. That’s an astounding statistic.
As a referral and counselling service, we believe in the importance of aftercare and support services. These support services include things like:
support group activity
life skills and job training
family and relationship counselling.
The point of aftercare and ongoing support is to equip the recovering addict to adjust to life without drugs or alcohol. Believe it or not, many drug and alcohol addicts lose the ability to live addiction free after engaging in the behaviour for a number of years. For them, becoming sober is like starting all over again.
Accessing aftercare and ongoing support can be done in a number of ways. For example, some of the drug and alcohol rehab clinics we work with include aftercare as part of the treatment programme. They already have working relationships with a variety of providers designed to ensure every recovering addict completing residential treatment is immediately followed up with.
That said, recovering addicts are sometimes forced to access these services on their own. That is something we can help with. Aftercare and ongoing support is available through:
local, national or international charities
limited NHS services.
You will be happy to know that many of the support services available to recovering addicts are free of charge. For example, you will not have to pay to become part of a local support group for recovering alcoholics. The one exception to this rule would be professional counsellors offering one-on-one counselling services to recovering addicts.
Perhaps you’ve heard that your attitude is everything when it comes to residential rehab. Likewise, your attitude is equally important in the aftercare setting. How you view addictive behaviours once you leave residential treatment will be an important factor in determining how successful aftercare is for you.
As mentioned previously, permanent abstinence is the only real cure for alcohol and drug addiction. To be completely successful you must approach aftercare and ongoing support services with a commitment that you will not return to the substances that got you in trouble. You must be committed to succeeding if you are going to succeed.
Assuming that’s the case, the services you receive will help you deal with future temptation, provide you with effective strategies you can use to stay away from addictive behaviour, teach you how to relate with family members and others, and essentially reintegrate you into a life free of addiction.
You will discover that there is no one looking over your shoulder during the aftercare process. You will be expected to attend support group meetings and other appointments without anyone forcing you to do so. Once again, your commitment to the programme is essential to your success.
The clinics and charities we work with would like to see aftercare begin within 48 hours of a leaving a residential treatment facility. If you wait too much longer, you run the very real risk of a quick relapse. The sooner aftercare can begin, the greater the chances of avoiding relapse. That said, the length of time aftercare and ongoing support is needed is up to the individual client.
Some recovering addicts discover they are no longer in need of aftercare within 3 to 6 months of getting started. Others continue taking advantage of the ongoing support for 12 months or longer. There is no right or wrong here. Each recovering addict has the opportunity to utilise aftercare and ongoing support for as long as it takes.
Some recovering addicts continue to be involved in aftercare programmes simply because they want to give back. For example, it is not uncommon to find members of an Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship remain part of the group long after the group’s services are no longer needed for long-term sobriety. They remain members of the group as a way of supporting others just coming in to the programme.
Before you can make effective use of aftercare and ongoing support, you must first deal with your addiction problem where you are. That is where we come in. Our addiction recovery helpline is staffed by professionals thoroughly versed in substance abuse and addiction. They can help assess where you are before making recommendations as to the wisest course of action.
We are here to help you access the treatment you need to break your drug or alcohol addiction. We work with the best clinics in Essex, England and abroad. With one phone call, you will have a dedicated group of individuals ready to assist you in any way possible.