Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process. Ending the cycle of substance use requires work and commitment during treatment and recovery.
In medicine, treating illness and disease is often followed by a period of continuing care. During this time the patient is monitored by professionals and assisted by care professionals, undergoes physical therapy, and learns new life skills to cope as they heal.
In the field of addiction, we call continuing care “aftercare” to help secure recovery. It comes after treatment, as the client enters recovery. During aftercare, clients still have the knowledge and dedication of their treatment team behind them, the support of loved ones who want them to succeed, and the skills they learned in treatment to cope.
Aftercare is the period in which the client learns the skills they need during the lifelong recovery process. You might be wondering what you can expect when you have completed your initial treatment. After all, during treatment, you will have spent a great deal of time practicing skills. Now you will put them to use.
Why Aftercare Is Essential to Recovery
It is important to understand that substance use disorder (SUD) is a chronic disease. A chronic disease is one that is lifelong and requires long-term treatment and care. Examples of other diseases that are considered chronic are asthma and cardiovascular disease.
As with any chronic illness, relapse is an unfortunate concern. The best way to prevent a relapse is to have a good aftercare routine grounded in principles a client has learned during treatment. This may include using techniques such as mindfulness to cope with cravings and overcome temptations.
The foundations of aftercare are laid when a client first begins their treatment program. Like treatment, aftercare is personally tailored to each individual. After all, disease affects everyone differently. Your treatment and aftercare should reflect your individual needs to achieve the best possible result.
Your plan for continuing care should also reflect your goals. Having something to focus on is important for achieving sobriety. Whether you want to focus on your career, your family, or even a higher power, your treatment and care plan should help you to achieve that goal.
You deserve a caring, compassionate team that understands all aspects of treatment and recovery. At Twilight Recovery Center, your care team’s top priority is your continuing wellness and happiness.
Reconnecting With Yourself After Treatment
Life is about personal growth and the developmental milestones we achieve as we work toward our goals. One of the ways we achieve our goals in recovery is by reconsidering the way in which we live. Part of achieving sobriety and recovery is by creating a new life in which sobriety becomes easy while substance use becomes harder.
As you can probably surmise, recovery involves looking inward at yourself, critically examining your life, and restructuring your existence in a positive way that helps you to recover substance-free. A substance user can achieve this through many methods: psychotherapy, self-help groups, peer support, and mindfulness techniques.
There are five rules that can help recovering substance users achieve lasting recovery. They are:
- Change your lifestyle to one that seeks sobriety, eliminating those things that cause you stress, weigh you down, or led you to substance use
- Engage in honesty with yourself and those around you
- Be willing to ask for help, and understand that your care team and loved ones are there to support you at every step of your treatment and recovery process
- Practice self-care: meditate, be mindful, and be good to your body and mind
- Follow the rules set before you in your treatment and recovery programs
Recovery and aftercare are about more than achieving sobriety. Recovery is a complete change in lifestyle that allows you to see a world where substance use is difficult and undesirable, while sobriety is easy and wanted.
Stress Reduction in Aftercare
Stress is a major factor that contributes to most substance use relapses. Understanding the role of stress and how to create a calm environment in recovery is an important part of the aftercare process.
One reason that stress plays such a large role in potential relapse is that it is often a factor that led to the continuing use of controlled substances before treatment. Studies have shown that alcohol and nicotine use is often precipitated by stressful events among users of those substances.
Overcoming stress and creating a serene mindset may seem daunting, but it is highly achievable. As we discussed, it involves changing your life and mindset. We can achieve this by engaging in mindfulness techniques and focusing on our physical and mental health.
Reconnecting with nature and feeling connected to the world around you, using mindfulness techniques to reconnect with your goals and needs, and implementing guided nutrition and exercise programs are all ways you can change your lifestyle and embrace a healthier you. At Twilight Recovery Center, these skills are incorporated from the beginning stages of treatment. Our specialists are focused on therapies to make your mind, body, and spirit well again.
Peer Support, Belief, and Success in Recovery
A big part of aftercare is the support structure around you. It is important to have a belief or focus, whether that is a child, family member, or higher power. Having your loved ones around you to support continued sobriety in aftercare plays a big part in a successful recovery.
At Twilight Recovery Center, caring professionals focus on your holistic recovery, understanding that your aftercare plan should continue to focus on keeping your mind, body, and spirit well. Aftercare is a lifelong practice and essential to your recovery.