For those with a substance use disorder, successful completion of an inpatient residential treatment program is a critical first step toward long-term recovery. What happens after you leave the program is equally critical. Recovery is a life-long process that takes planning and commitment. Successfully completing an inpatient program and then stepping back into your old life without a solid plan is a recipe for failure.
Science Daily agrees that inpatient treatment for substance use disorder is the best choice but warns, “relapse within the first year following discharge ranges from 37 percent to 56 percent. Engagement in aftercare improves this statistic.” Before you leave inpatient treatment, make sure you have a detailed plan in place that includes an aftercare program as you transition to the next phase of your recovery.
What is aftercare?
Aftercare is a personalized continuing care plan designed by you and your inpatient treatment counselor to help you stay sober as you reenter your life after rehab. By reinforcing the knowledge and skills you’ve gained during treatment and helping you to stay goal oriented, aftercare helps you thrive in recovery and prevent relapse.
Some of the biggest barriers to successful recovery after rehab may include: lack of a job, housing and support network, financial instability, damaged relationships and an old social network of drug or alcohol users. Aftercare continues to help you address and resolve these potential barriers to long-term recovery.
At Turning Point of Tampa, our aftercare program provides group support for our program alumni. Supervised by a licensed therapist, group members share and receive support as they transition from treatment to everyday life. We also recently introduced an app to help you stay connected with peers and Turning Point staff, track your recovery, learn about local recovery events and more.
The dimensions of recovery
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “recovery is a process of change through which people improve their health and wellness, live self-directed lives, and strive to reach their full potential.” SAMHSA breaks successful recovery into four major dimensions: health, home, purpose and community.
- Health — overcoming or managing one’s disease(s) or symptoms and making informed, healthy choices that support physical and emotional well-being.
- Home — having a stable and safe place to live.
- Purpose — conducting meaningful daily activities and having the independence, income, and resources to participate in society.
- Community — having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love, and hope.
Working the dimensions of recovery
Those with comprehensive plans that address all the dimensions of recovery described by SAMHSA – health, home, purpose, and community – have the highest probability of long-term success. Here are some ways people in recovery can prioritize these areas:
- Physical, mental, and emotional health. Stay connected with health care professionals. This may include enrolling in an aftercare program or outpatient program, seeking out individual or group therapy, attending family counseling, keeping follow-up appointments with your treatment center and having a loved one or physician monitor any prescribed medication. Attending a self-support program like NA, AA, or CA, finding a sponsor or accountability buddy, or meet with a trusted mentor are also positive steps.Focus on nutrition, exercise, sufficient sleep, and stress reduction techniques. Continue the positive changes in your life by trying new things, like yoga, meditation, journaling, dance, music, art, and other activities. Practice the art of positive thinking. Return to a hobby or activity you loved before substance use became a problem.
- Home. This means a safe, supportive, drug and alcohol-free environment. If living with family or friends isn’t a healthy environment, you may consider a sober living house or other living situation. Your treatment center will provide you with resources for housing assistance. Find your place in your family home or new living situation. Identify your responsibilities and do your part to be a contributing member of the household. Continue counseling to repair and strengthen family relationships.
- Purpose. Stay busy and productive. Set goals for the future and strengthen skills. If you need help finding a job, your treatment center can guide you to resources for employment or vocational training. Most states have excellent employment resources within their unemployment or reemployment departments. Florida Reemployment Assistance has a wide array of services for anyone seeking a job or job training in the state. Even if you are not eligible for monetary benefits, there are many other services that can help you find a job.
- Community. Build a new social support network with new, sober friends, and remove non-sober friends from your life. An article in US News and World Report, Finding Friends After Addiction Rehabilitation, gives some great tips. Explore new ways to have fun without drugs or alcohol. Check for meetup.com sober groups in your area.
Stay alert to signs of relapse
Everyone has tough days, but those in recovery are especially sensitive to depression, anxiety, disappointments and situations that might trigger relapse. Setbacks are a part of life, but if you find negative thoughts creeping in, seek help immediately. Contact your doctor or therapist. Call your sponsor or another person you trust to help you. Get to a 12-step or other support group meeting. Don’t hesitate to take any and all actions you need to get you through.
Turning Point of Tampa believes in continuing care
We are committed to helping our clients achieve long-term success in their recovery. Upon discharge from our inpatient treatment program, you will receive a continuing care contract detailing follow-up appointments and meetings. You are not expected to continue your recovery journey alone.
Some of our clients find the best way for them to transition from inpatient treatment is to enroll in our Intensive Outpatient Program. This structured evening program meets three nights a week, so you can work and live at home or in a sober living environment while attending.
Turning Point of Tampa’s goal is to always provide a safe environment and a solid foundation in 12-Step recovery, in tandem with quality individual therapy and groups. We have been offering Licensed Residential Treatment for Substance Abuse, Eating Disorders and Dual Diagnosis in Tampa since 1987.