Aftercare Support Groups
When an inpatient drug addiction treatment program comes to a close, different patients will be in different emotional places in terms of their readiness to begin the process of transitioning back into the “real world.” There are a number of different issues that can impact a patient’s ability and readiness to build a new life in recovery after treatment ends, including:
- The level of addiction they were dealing with upon entry. The higher the dose and number of drugs of addiction, the longer they will need to spend in treatment and the slower they will need to return to a life with increasingly lower levels of addiction treatment support to ensure continued sobriety.
- The number of times they’ve been through rehab. Multiple trips to rehab increase the chances that recovery principles will “stick,” and the patient will be able to avoid relapse for longer periods.
- Co-occurring mental health issues. If there are mental health issues, these will require treatment and maintenance in addition to addiction treatment. If untreated or if the patient suffers a relapse in this area, the chances of drug relapse increase.
- Family circumstances and the home life to which they are returning. If the patient has no home to return to or if home is defined by a dysfunctional family dynamic or romantic relationship, a higher level of aftercare support will be necessary.
- Their age. Young people with shorter experience in addiction who invest heavily in treatment have higher chances of long-term recovery. The more time spent in active addiction, the higher the level of aftercare support that will be needed.
- Their job skills. Filling time effectively and in a way that supports the principles of recovery are both essential elements of successful sobriety. If the patient has the skills to do a job they love that keeps them away from drugs and alcohol, they may only need a slightly lower level of aftercare support. If they require job training in order to avoid a former job that increased their triggers for getting high or drunk, they may need a bit more support.
There are a number of different options in aftercare support groups and each patient can create a unique recovery plan post-treatment that addresses their personal needs and goals for their lives in sobriety. Depending upon the patient’s level of readiness, any of the following or combination thereof may be appropriate:
- Sober living situations
- Outpatient addiction treatment
- Outpatient aftercare support services
If you would like to discuss your options in recovery or the treatment options of an addicted woman in your family, our counselors at The Orchid are waiting to take your call. Everyone’s experience in treatment and beyond is unique. Call today to discuss the best therapeutic intervention and treatment opportunities for you or your loved one.
Sober Living Homes
Sober living homes are the most intensive level of aftercare support. Often on the same property as a high-end and comprehensive drug addiction treatment estate or in a “satellite” home that is located closer to work and education opportunities, sober living offers a great many of the securities and safeties that come with an inpatient treatment program but with more freedom to begin the process of establishing a new home and a job.
Patients can expect to experience:
- House rules. When there are a number of people living under the same roof, it’s important to work together to make sure that everyone’s needs get met. This usually means curfews, posted “quiet times,” posted meal times, a shower/ bathroom morning schedule, etc.
- Chores. Everyone who lives in the house will be responsible for contributing to the common areas, grocery shopping, preparing meals, cleaning their rooms, and helping to make sure that the house is clean and comfortable for everyone.
- Sobriety. Random drug tests will likely be administered to ensure the integrity of the program and the maintained sobriety of all housemates. No drugs or alcohol are allowed on the premises for any reason.
- Limit on guests. There are usually no overnight guests under any circumstances, and there are often rules against having romantic partners or friends of the opposite sex in your room alone or with the door shut at any time. The focus is not on restricting anyone unnecessarily but in aiding all housemates in remaining dedicated to their goals of sobriety.
- House meeting requirements. Housemates will be expected to attend regular (usually weekly) house meetings in order to address any interpersonal issues and resolve logistical problems.
- Recovery requirements. Some sober living homes will require each housemate to create a personal recovery plan that includes a certain number of 12-step meetings, personal therapy sessions, group therapy sessions, holistic treatments, educational goals, job requirements, etc., as appropriate. Patients will often check in with a case manager or house manager to get help when they come up against obstacles and to help them stay on track and moving forward.
Sober living homes can be an excellent way to move one step closer to an independent sober life while limiting the risk of relapse with round-the-clock support and continued therapeutic intervention.
Outpatient Addiction Treatment
When patients have a supportive and positive home environment to return to that includes family members who will supply accountability and/or in cases where patients are confident in their ability to avoid relapse but feel they will only be able to do so with continued intensive treatment, outpatient addiction treatment can be a good follow up to inpatient care. In this way, they can continue all the therapeutic interventions that were helping them to make progress during residential treatment including:
- Personal therapy sessions
- Family therapy sessions
- Group therapy sessions
- 12-step meetings
- Medical detox and maintenance, as necessary
- Holistic treatment (e.g., acupuncture sessions, meditation, yoga, etc.)
- Psychiatric treatment/monitoring for co-occurring mental health conditions
- Job skills training
- Educational workshops on relapse prevention
- Domestic violence intervention
- Anger management
The range of programs offered by outpatient treatment programs can be as varied as the patients who attend and are only limited by the resources of the rehab. Additionally, outpatient care provides patients with the flexibility of sleeping in their own beds at night and perhaps even beginning a school program or taking on a part-time job as well as allowing parents to spend time with their children and mend important family relationships as they continue to grow in recovery.
Even when patients feel solid in recovery after long-term treatment for a relatively low-dose or short-term addiction, have no co-occurring mental health issues, and feel confident in their ability to remain drug-free, aftercare services are the lynchpin in recovery. It’s practically a requirement to retain some level of engagement with a continued recovery plan when long-term abstinence is the goal.
The elements of each individual’s recovery plan can include any number or combination of aftercare services, including:
- 12-step groups. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and others provide an invaluable, free resource for recovery. Major cities offer meetings at all times of the day and night in hundreds of locations so every patient can find one or more that feels comfortable and is offered in a format that feels right. It is often recommended that patients attend at least one meeting per day when they first come home from drug rehab in order to maintain focus and make connections with sober people out in “the real world.”
- Codependent support groups. Often, addicts in recovery feel emotionally unbalanced and are at risk for making inappropriate friendships and romantic connections with people that can be damaging to their sobriety. Without boundaries and learning the new definition of “normal” characterized by honesty and self-respect as well as a prioritization of continued abstinence from drugs and alcohol, those in recovery can “slip” and drink or get high over the issues that arise in these new relationships. Codependent support groups are a free and frequently available therapeutic aftercare option that can offer patients an objective view and a safety net that can help them avoid relapse – and recognize when they are behaving in ways that risk their sobriety.
- Anger management support. It’s not uncommon for people in recovery to struggle with emotional issues like anger. Inappropriately over-the-top responses to minimal stimuli and issues that can be dealt with calmly or ignored altogether can also be a trigger for abusing drugs and alcohol. Learning how to manage anger and related impulses can be a crucial part of sustained sobriety for many patients.
- Job skills training. Some patients held jobs that were triggering for their substance abuse issues, especially jobs that require regular access to alcohol like bartending or waiting tables and/or required activities that the patient may be emotionally ill equipped to handle (e.g., dancing, being a lawyer, etc.). In other cases, the patient was unemployed and unable to hold down a job due to their addiction, and thus must learn job skills in order to become employable and avoid the criminal activity that can often lead to relapse.
- Continued holistic care. In treatment, patients are exposed to a wide range of holistic treatment options. These can include anything from acupressure and massage to yoga and extended meditation sessions. If the patient connects with a particular therapy and feels that continuing to explore the spiritual, physical and emotional benefits of that type of treatment will increase their ability to remain calm, balanced and sober, then it is recommended that their aftercare treatment plan include this option.
- Nutritional counseling. What we put into our bodies has a direct impact on our mental health and mood, and mood can determine whether or not a patient will relapse when feeling stressed, depressed or angry. Learning how to eat to amplify mood and maximize energy can provide one more layer of armor that protects against relapse in recovery.
- Sports groups. Learning a new sport or engaging in an activity like martial arts or dance can be empowering to the patient as well as help them to increase their physical strength, meet positive people, and improve their mental health and self-confidence.
Choices are only limited by what the patient needs and wants for their lives. In general, all should take part in 12-step meetings or support groups in order to build a network of supportive peers as well as continue to work through personal issues in individual therapy – at the very least. Other aftercare services can be chosen based on the unique needs of the individual.
For example, if a patient feels that their mood and self-esteem should be their focus in recovery and that improving their physical health and appearance will make them feel more confident and less likely to want to “drown their feelings” in alcohol or drugs, then they may choose to engage in nutritional counseling to come up with a diet that focuses on foods that are mood boosters. They may also engage in yoga, a sport that interests them, and personal training to achieve those goals in addition to attending 12-step meetings and therapy sessions.
In another example, a patient who is trying to rebuild relationships with family members may choose to attend couples counseling, take parenting classes, or take steps to get a good job that will allow her to provide for her family for the long-term in addition to going to meetings and therapy.
Treatment Can Jumpstart a New Life in Recovery
Aftercare services like therapy and 12-step meetings are most effective when they follow a long-term stay in an inpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment program. Detox is the first step and intensive, round-the-clock treatment is the second step. Aftercare services round out a truly comprehensive program designed to treat a patient on every level of her experience and arm her with what she needs to be successful without drugs and alcohol for the rest of her life.
Whatever your loved one’s needs during and after drug addiction treatment, there are a wide range of treatment services that can help your family member to rebuild a strong and successful life after addiction, and we can help. Contact us today at The Orchid and help your addicted loved one begin the process of recovery today.