The Importance of Aftercare In Recovery from Addiction
It is tempting to skip aftercare in recovery, particularly for those who have come out of an intensive addiction treatment program to believe that their problems have been solved. Yes, getting help for addiction is courageous and getting through treatment is admirable, but leaving a treatment centre does not mean your problems are over.
In all honesty, the real work begins after the security and routine of structured inpatient treatment.
Continued care is vital particularly during the first few years of recovery. There is no quick fix. Addiction, much like diabetes, is a lifelong disease that can be controlled if monitored and treated appropriately.
Recovery is an ongoing process
The process does not end after Substance Abuse Treatment, which in itself can be a difficult problem to beat. Drug abuse recovery does not only include detox, aftercare is an essential part of your recovery from addiction. In reality, detox is just the initial treatment period that helps in expelling toxic substances from the body and helping the addict deal with withdrawal symptoms. There is always a high chance of relapse for those recovering from an addiction to back to full use of the drug they are addicted to and the absence of comprehensive treatment after detox may be an added factor. Ongoing treatment programs are very important for those recovering from drug abuse.
Who is it for?
The Houghton House Group’s Continuing Care Programme for Addicts in Recovery, who have been through a primary, secondary or outpatient treatment programme.
Houghton House’s continuing care programme is located in Ferndale, Randburg. There are two phases to our continuing care programme, diminishing in intensity as patients progress in their recovery. Aftercare meetings take place three evenings each week and relapse prevention meetings one evening a week. We encourage patients to retain a connection with a treatment facility for at least their first year in recovery. Patients are welcome to attend this programme for as long as they wish.
Houghton House is committed to ensuring a successful and sustained recovery for our patients.
Following a treatment programme many patients are vulnerable and often find that the first year out of treatment can be difficult. Houghton House has a continuing care programme that is designed as a follow-up to primary and secondary treatment programmes, offering support and encouragement. These meetings enable us to monitor clients progress and address and assist with any issues they are facing in early recovery and post-treatment reintegration.
The programme includes:
- Group therapy sessions
- Individual therapy sessions
- Assistance with reintegration
- Educational groups
Our staff members are highly qualified and proficient, treating patients with the dignity, care and empathy that they deserve to help them to re-establish a more positive self-image that is fundamental to overcoming their problem.
Our continuing care programme is staffed by a range of professionals, including certified addiction counsellors, social workers and counselling psychologists.
Underlying Psychological Issues
Drug addiction is not a problem that is isolated to the drugs themselves. Generally, those people battling drug abuse issues have underlying problems that add to the myriad of reasons that they use drugs. These problems may differ, but some communal contributing factors to drug and alcohol abuse include mental illness, past trauma, an unhealthy home environment, and dual diagnosis issues. These issues play a powerful role in the level of physical dependency. Aftercare and one on one sessions with a qualified therapist, group sessions with other recovering addicts, are all part of the ongoing medical treatment.
The move from inpatient treatment to the outside world
Aftercare in relation to addiction refers to the additional support that is provided following primary care. This can occur in the form of support groups (AA or NA), counselling sessions, relapse prevention groups or follow up meetings. Aftercare is about developing coping mechanisms for the addict to use in the ‘real world’. Support groups and professional counselling sessions also give the addict a safe place to discuss any reservations they may be struggling with outside of the treatment centre.
The Risk of Relapse
The highest risk of relapse is in the first 90 days following discharge from rehab. This is why support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous suggest that addicts go to 90 meetings in 90 days after putting down their drink/ drug of choice.
The risk of relapse does not simply end after those 90 days, as mentioned before there is no quick fix for addiction.
The risk of relapse remains high for the first 5 years of recovery.
What causes a relapse?
When an addict leaves a medical treatment facility like Houghton House they are usually confident about the future. They have made it through the physical withdrawals and now envision a life without substance abuse. This feeling is also referred to as the ‘pink cloud,’ and once the addict comes down from this ‘cloud,’ things can quickly spiral out of control.
Yes, after completing an inpatient recovery program an addict should feel proud of such an awesome achievement. However, once they return to everyday life, they find that recovery is more of a challenge than previously anticipated.
Addicts in Recovery Staying clean
Its most certainly harder in the outside world then it is in a residential treatment facility. There is a lot of support in rehab and the individual is protected from temptation. A return to the real world can come as a shock. The individual is once again surrounded by temptation and they now lack the support found in rehab. It is a real struggle not to be drawn back to familiar behaviour. Staying away from people, places and things that are triggering is overwhelming. The addict has to start from scratch essentially, build a new life.
There are a number of reasons why people relapse. Motivation can wane if there is not a concerted effort to keep focused on living free of alcohol and drugs. The individual can begin to feel that their problems are behind them and that no special effort is required to stay sober. They then forget the reasons that drove them into recovery in the first place.
The pain of their rock bottom is forgotten. If they fail to put enough effort into staying sober, they stop progressing and life in recovery becomes unsatisfying. They may react to this by once again returning to addiction this is where aftercare in recovery works for you.
The Importance of Aftercare in Recovery
Those who take on some type of aftercare are less likely to relapse. Aftercare keeps the individual motivated and provides much-needed support when things get difficult – and they do get difficult.
An addict who goes through inpatient treatment does gain insight and skill however most of the learning has to occur during everyday life. The addict will always be faced with new problems – such is life – and when secure in an aftercare program of sorts, they are encouraged to find new solutions. This way they are able to develop effective coping strategies over time.
Houghton House: Continued Care
Houghton House is committed to ensuring a successful and sustained recovery for our clients.
After in-patient treatment we offer extended treatment options:
Extended In-patient Care:
The extended inpatient care programme is geared towards individuals aftercare in recovery who have completed a detox and primary care programme.
The General Addiction Programme (GAP) is the Houghton House Group’s extended inpatient care facility, in Ferndale, Johannesburg.
The GAP offers people a chance to establish and build a new lifestyle combined with self-awareness and a deeper sense of responsibility. The programme provides guidance on establishing a lifestyle, which is conducive to a sustained and successful recovery. It facilitates greater education, goal setting and lifestyle change in each client.
Addicts in Recovery at a Halfway House
Houghton House’s tertiary care programme focuses on men and women who have completed a residential treatment programme and are now are willing to commit to a long term structure of living for recovery. During this particular stage of their recovery, residents are generally fully re-integrated into the working environment or are looking for jobs.
We have a continuing care programme that is designed as your aftercare in recovery and a follow-up to primary and secondary treatment, offering support and encouragement. These meetings enable us to monitor clients’ progress and address and assist with any issues they are facing in early recovery and post-treatment reintegration.