Aftercare is an essential component of early recovery. Once an addict has completed a residential program and returns home, he or she faces the triggers (as well as the unhealthy environment) that led to the development of the addiction in the first place. Many addicts find it hard to remain sober and withstand temptation on their own, no matter how much they improved or how well they did during treatment. An aftercare program provides the continued support needed during the transition home in order to reduce the risk of relapse.
An aftercare program is a specialized program offered by drug and alcohol treatment facilities for clients who have successfully completed their rehabilitation program. While most facilities will have slightly different programs, the main facets are continued support and treatment. This may be in the form of continued counseling sessions, group sessions, booster sessions, or follow-up meetings. Aftercare provides a forum for monitoring and discussing how recovery is going, as well as providing educational opportunities to learn additional skills and techniques to help one remain on the path to recovery. It can also provide a way to keep the recovering addict accountable, which can greatly help him or her to withstand temptation.
After detoxification, staying sober while in treatment is easy enough. There is continuous monitoring and care, and a recovering addict is in a safe and supportive environment separated from old temptations to use. They continually learn new coping skills and are only put into structured situations where it is easy to put them to use. Typically, they do not face many of their old familiar triggers until they return home. Then these coping skills are put to the real test. An individual faces temptation and experiences his or her triggers, and without the support of an aftercare program, they could once again succumb to using drugs or drinking alcohol. Aftercare addresses the particular situations causing the temptations, cravings, or triggers as they arise in a real-world scenario, rather than in a theoretical atmosphere as typically occurs during treatment. Skills learned during treatment need to be applied to life in the real world. An aftercare program provides the forum to reinforce these skills and learn how to effectively apply them to actual life circumstances.
Aftercare at the Pax House facilities includes a few different programs. We believe in the 12-step program, so we encourage our clients to continue to attend meetings once they have completed our programs. This provides a level of continued support, although not directly associated with our program. We also provide dedicated aftercare programming through our Alumni groups. We offer weekly Alumni meetings open to all clients that have successfully completed the program. Family members are welcome! During these meetings, recovering addicts can discuss the problems they’ve encountered and learn ways to overcome them. Our supportive staff is present during these meetings, ready to offer their expertise to clients and help in whatever way is needed.