The Power of Addiction Aftercare

You’ve heard it time and again: recovery is a lifelong process, and not only is there no cure for addiction, getting your life back on track requires a lifelong commitment. Without this mindset, no amount of drug and alcohol addiction treatment will work to salvage your sobriety, to enact the kind of recovery that will guide you through the entirety of your life toward positive choices and uplifting experiences. Point blank: recovery is forever.

But that doesn’t mean it has to be a solitary process.

The culture has shifted in such a way that addiction is understood as a disease requiring constant attention and care so as to avoid a potentially derailing relapse. Aside from the resources and support groups offered by organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and Al-Anon/Alateen, some – if not most – addiction treatment centers have taken the care they provide a step further, a step beyond the addiction treatment programs they offer.

Aftercare and its Role in Addiction Treatment

Aftercare is directly influenced by and operates under the belief that recovery is a steady and enduring endeavor. It refers to the process that comes after drug and alcohol addiction treatment, the time at which a feeling of community and support may be most needed. Upon completion of an addiction treatment program, transitioning to the day-to-day of a “normal” life may prove difficult, thus requiring additional support, encouragement, and a sense of solidarity. Without the availability of such an option, an addict may find that he is prone to temptation and relapse, particularly when considering the severity of the addiction and the substance abused.

Aftercare programs may work to address relapse prevention skills, the triggers that may induce temptation, the development of relationships with loved ones, stress and/or anger management, and the loneliness that may present itself after completing an addiction treatment program that allowed for the addict to feel understood and welcome. In these regards – and in many, many others – aftercare may prove as important a tool as the addiction treatment that led to it.

Seeking Aftercare

Many treatment centers offer aftercare services for addiction treatment alumni. However, if, for whatever reason, such an option isn’t made available, there are a great many support groups that are both helpful and sincere in their desire to help. The groups mentioned above – AA, NA, and Al-Anon/Alateen – are but a few of the myriad support groups that should be attended upon completion of a drug and alcohol addiction program. Regardless of the route you choose, it is imperative that a route be chosen. The experiences that come after addiction treatment need not be faced alone. There are people who care, people who have dedicated their lives to espousing the merits of recovery and sobriety, and they want to help.