Recovery is a lifelong journey and can be difficult to do on your own. Luckily, an aftercare plan can help put into place a solid framework to help maintain your commitment to recovery. You and your treatment team can craft your aftercare plan together, incorporating your goals for the future and steps to help get you there.
Aftercare is a continuing care plan designed specifically to help you stay sober as you go onto life after rehab. It is a personalized plan to help you stay goal-oriented and minimize the risk of relapse.
Completion of Residential treatment does not mean you are finished with the hard work it takes to maintain recovery. Once you discharge from rehab, you may be faced many triggers and temptations. Without the continuing support offered by an aftercare plan, relapse is a risk.
Aftercare helps you take the knowledge, tools and skills you have learned in rehab and apply them throughout the rest of your life.
What elements should be part of your aftercare plan?
Your aftercare plan helps you strengthen skills necessary for long-term recovery while maintaining your motivation to continue a healthy lifestyle. Your aftercare plan should encourage you to:
- Regularly attend 12-step meetings or other support groups
- Be accountable to your sponsor & support network
- Practice stress reduction techniques
- Practice a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, nutrition and alternative health practices
- Build relationships with sober friends, new or old
- Build stronger relationships with family and learn to set boundaries
- Connect or reconnect with sober activities and hobbies
- Attend ongoing individual and/or group therapy
- Encourage family counseling
How can personal support keeps you accountable in recovery?
Accountability in recovery includes the support and encouragement of others who believe in your long-term sobriety. Calling upon friends and family, members of your support group, your therapist and others who understand your goals should all be part of your aftercare plan. Those who are committed to your successful recovery help you to stay on track. They help you to take responsibility for each decision you make—good or bad—and understand how each could affect your recovery.
A sponsor or other people in your support network are the people that are there for you whenever you feel your recovery is in danger. Maybe you have encountered a person, situation or location that has been a trigger for addictive behavior in the past. Perhaps you are feeling depressed and vulnerable. Whatever the situation, your sponsor and support network can be the people you trust to understand your situation and help you when times get tough. They know what you are going through and can offer the support you need.
In addition to a sponsor and a support network, the support of family is particularly important for long-term recovery. Addiction can often cause people to do or say hurtful things to those they love the most. It may be difficult for family members to put aside the pain of the past and to learn to trust their recovering loved one. As a result, family counseling, education about addiction and regular attendance at family support groups are vital components for family members to heal and should continue after rehab. 12-Step support groups, such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are a good starting point. These commitments help to rebuild trust and to better understand and practice healthy boundaries so the family unit can move forward together.
What are the different types of aftercare programs?
12-Step programs provide invaluable support during and after rehab. Members are all seeking recovery and have a unique understanding of what it takes to remain sober. The support and encouragement members offer to one another can be a crucial link to continued sobriety. 12-Step groups also offer opportunities for enjoying fellowship with dances, dinners, conventions and other activities to help people seeking recovery learn, have fun and build sober relationships.
Ongoing therapy sessions in the form of individual, group and family counseling continue to build upon the skills learned during rehab. Licensed, professional therapists provide valuable insights, such as coping mechanisms, stress management skills, tools for managing anxiety or depression and ways to strengthen relationships.
For some, a more structured program may be the best choice initially. Day Treatment or an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) both serve as a step-down approach as a person moves from the structured rehab setting to home life. These treatment programs allow people in recovery to live at home while continuing to attend groups and meet one-on-one with an addiction counselor. Over time, the number of groups will be reduced to meet the needs of the individual.
Sober Living and Transitional Housing are options for people who are seeking a smooth transition from rehab to home. Both give residents the opportunity to continue practicing skills and techniques learned during rehab with the support of on-site staff. Residents continue to attend counseling and support groups, and receive assistance applying for jobs or school. They also offer education on life skills, such as money and time management. Florida, in particular, has made a lot of progress in the regulation of this type of living environment. To learn more about the Florida Association of Recovery Residences (FARR), and how they are helping people seeking recovery find safe, supportive housing, check out their website at www.farronline.org.
At Turning Point of Tampa, we understand the importance of aftercare
At Turning Point of Tampa, we are committed to the long-term success of each client. Upon completion of our program, clients receive an individual continuing care contract that outlines follow-up appointments and meetings with our Clinical Team.
We offer a free aftercare group to all of our alumni. Upon successful completion of one of our programs, clients are welcome to return weekly for an aftercare group, facilitated by one of our therapists. Alumni can attend for as long as they want or need. These groups provide guidance, support and accountability.
Another excellent tool for alumni is our free app. To find the app search “Turning Point of Tampa” in the Apple Store for iOS or Google Play for Android. Once you have been approved, you can connect with peers and Turning Point staff, track your recovery, learn about local recovery events and much more.
Lastly, all alumni will receive updates about local recovery events and alumni events via email. We also encourage alumni to connect with us on social media.
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.