The words “recovery” and “treatment” are often used interchangeably through each individual’s journey to sobriety. However, they refer to two distinct parts of the process. While “treatment” is the actual program in which a person is enrolled, such as their detox or residential treatment that has a distinct start and end date, the term “recovery” refers to the entirety of an individual’s journey to sobriety.
Recovery is not just the things an individual learns during treatment but also incorporates how a person conducts themselves outside of the treatment sphere, reflecting the entirety of one’s new journey through their sober life. This recovery may have a start date that coincides with their treatment depending on the individual, but recovery as a whole will often extend far beyond when a person may have graduated from a treatment program. Completing a treatment program is undeniably an impressive and difficult feat, but it doesn’t mean that one has completed recovery as a whole. Because of this, aftercare planning and preparation are paramount for maintaining many of the skills and mindset initially instilled during treatment.
What is Aftercare?
Aftercare is an essential part of recovery and helps a person transition between their treatment program and into the “real world.” While one’s time in a treatment program may help an individual begin practicing essential coping mechanisms and exploring their new, sober identity, it can be difficult to translate these new practices back into their own daily lives.
Aftercare is a way to help each individual begin to incorporate and maintain essential sober elements in one’s life as they move beyond the curated recovery sphere and helps an individual understand their abilities and struggles with the stressors of the “real world.” This transition is complicated and involves many different elements — from relapse prevention to creating a safe living space, determining social connections, lifestyle choices, and even reemployment. Each of these aspects can be difficult on its own. Aftercare planning helps each individual have a strategy to cope with these trials while maintaining a safe and sober lifestyle.
What Aftercare May Include
Aftercare is a personalized experience geared towards each individual’s unique needs and goals in their new-found sobriety. Aftercare may help individuals find safe housing and may include a transitional residence as they gain better mastery over their coping mechanisms and strategies. Aftercare also includes a way for alumni and like-minded, supportive individuals to maintain a social connection through online groups or contact information, creating a network of support while each person deals with the unique challenges of their transition.
Aftercare may also include an extensive plan of action, helping each person stay on track with their own goals by outlining essential steps. Having a strategy ensures that each person is always looking to their next milestone and staying focused on their recovery while garnering the support of a connected community. While one of the major goals of aftercare is to prevent a relapse, aftercare is more intended to help each person continue to make strides in their personal development and see relapse prevention as a piece to this puzzle, alongside personal, social, and professional development.
The Importance of Creating a Community
Despite the individualized nature of an aftercare plan, aftercare allows communities to stay in touch and maintain a swell of support. Urges and stressors are going to be a part of a person’s life in addiction recovery. An aftercare plan allows each individual to create their own community of support and maintain focus in coping with these new-found stresses of the real world. While nothing about addiction recovery will be easy, aftercare plans allow an individual to be as prepared as possible for not just their transition back into the “real world,” but the transformation into their new lives.
Community is a significant part of the addiction recovery process. Aftercare plans that include ways to stay connected with peers and alumni or help maintain outpatient care can go a long way in keeping addiction recovery and relapse prevention at the forefront of an individual’s mind. This approach not only helps each individual maintain their progress but seeing these plans and coping mechanisms used in the “real world” can be a testament of strength to others who may just be beginning their own recovery journey. Aftercare planning is a way for a person to understand how their recovery and treatment will affect their lives going forward and provide support for each person through the challenging but rewarding times ahead.
Aftercare is an integral part of the success of recovery. At Avalon Malibu, we incorporate aftercare planning into each of our programs to help you continue to maintain and build upon your new sober lifestyle. If you or a loved one suffer from addiction and are ready to take the first step in regaining control over your daily life, we are prepared to help you take the first step today. We offer an array of programs, including detox services, residential treatment, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs. Each of our programs, including our aftercare approach, can be personalized with unique therapeutic approaches pertinent to each unique individual, helping you continue to find your identity in recovery. For more information on how we can personalize a plan for you, call today to talk to one of our caring, trained staff members at (844) 857-5992.