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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Ciarrocchi

4 Reasons Aftercare Planning Is Important

Committing to the treatment process is a tough decision. There are many mental barriers and obstacles to work around when deciding to save yourself from living in active addiction. The struggle doesn’t end once you make this choice, unfortunately. An addict cannot just stop being an addict immediately; when treated through recovery, the results are night and day. It is a lifelong journey that can be managed by having the correct planning and structure in place. Participating throughout your treatment process and aftercare routine is a must if you want to instill long-term changes in your life.

aftercare planning with family
Source: LA Valley Recovery

What Is Aftercare Planning?

Aftercare planning consists of developing a plan, and a routine for you to participate in that promotes a healthy lifestyle in recovery. Intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, and sober living environments provide safe transition locations. This ensures that the acclimation process to your new surroundings is smooth and stress-free. Aftercare planning will also consist of finding support groups that resonate with you the best so you can begin to find your recovery support network.

Support groups have proven to save the lives of many people. Having a stable support system will increase the chances of committing to your recovery in a way that can yield long-term results. The key to these recovery programs are; the courage to be honest about what you’re going through, the strength to be open-minded to the possibilities of a life-changing process, and the willingness to put in the needed effort.

It is proven that aftercare planning is essential to the recovery journey. While in treatment, coping skills and life tools are provided and can be applied outside the treatment center in everyday life. Committing to the process and working with a team of clinicians while in treatment will give you the best results possible. Beginning the process early in the treatment phase gives you more time to develop your aftercare plan with clinicians and case managers specifically for the things you need as an individual. This article will discuss why aftercare is essential to the recovery process.

Reasons Aftercare Planning Is Important

1. Reducing Risk For Relapse

The first 72 hours after discharge from treatment can present a very high risk for relapse. After 30 days of inpatient treatment, you may get used to the structure and supervision provided while attending an inpatient program. This can cause issues if you return home without creating an aftercare plan and sticking to it. This is why it is vital to get right into the aftercare planning process immediately upon completion of detox. At this point, you will be more clear-minded and begin to understand better the process you are starting once you get involved.

With a continued aftercare program and a 12-step program of your choice, you will begin to develop the crucial support system needed to live a life in recovery.

aftercare planning for substance abuse
Source: LA Valley Recovery

2. Addiction Is A Chronic Disease

Addiction is a disease proven fatal when untreated. Overdose and other substance-related deaths are rising in the United States, and a solid aftercare plan is the first step to avoiding relapse, overdose, and death. Unfortunately, treating your addiction will not be a quick and straightforward process. Committing to the recovery journey is crucial because relapse and death are highly likely when you stop following your recovery routine. Aftercare planning is essential in the treatment of this chronic disease. Often, individuals come into therapy and work on themselves for some time. If the aftercare routine is not followed after their treatment process ends, relapse is sure to happen. This is a symptom of the disease of addiction which can be avoided by developing an aftercare plan and following it thoroughly.

3. Emotional Support

Recovering from substance abuse can be one of the most challenging obstacles. Changing your actions and behaviors during active addiction takes consistency and hard work. Treatment facilities will provide coping skills and therapeutic services to help work through the identified issues. Once you have those skills, you can apply them to the emotional struggles that occur in your life. It would not be realistic to think that overcoming emotional struggles will be easy. Aftercare planning will provide continuous emotional support to help strengthen your ability to work through the struggles with addiction and life in general. Utilizing the emotional support systems you develop during treatment, 12-step or other recovery groups, and therapeutic services during the aftercare treatment programs will provide the network you need to achieve long-term sobriety and a healthier life.

4. Accountability

When life in recovery is new, your behaviors and actions from addiction are challenging to reverse. Having people around you who will hold you accountable for your actions will be beneficial. Those supportive people in your life are vital because your support network will consist of those trying to help improve the portions of your life that present challenging aspects. If you can be open and honest with those around you, you will receive honest feedback when facing difficult decisions and feelings. In active addiction, we tend to make impulsive decisions that cause repercussions. Reducing the number of impulsive decisions can significantly reduce the risk of participating in negative behaviors and relapsing.

Summing It Up

Aftercare planning has endless amounts of benefits in the recovery process. From reducing the chances of relapse, managing the chronic disease of addiction, developing an emotional support system, and having those hold you accountable along your journey, aftercare planning is put in place to help you live the life you deserve.


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