Aftercare, or support systems in recovery, are essential to a person’s success in addiction treatment. In fact, a well-developed and adhered to aftercare plan is the most effective way to maintain sobriety once an addict leaves a rehab facility. Whether it includes attending support group meetings, individual therapy sessions or finding a sober living environment, recovery aftercare can help individuals avoid relapse and work through issues that may have prevented them from completing drug rehab.

Each person’s addiction recovery aftercare program is unique and should be designed to match their specific needs. This can include working with a case manager to develop an individualized outpatient therapy and support system as they transition from inpatient drug rehab to the outside world. During this time, the case manager will be an invaluable source of information and guidance about drug rehabilitation services in the community as well as housing and employment options. The case manager can even help place the person in a transitional sober living environment to help them ease back into the daily responsibilities of life and reduce the risk of relapse.

Typically, a person’s rehab aftercare plan will include attending both individual and group therapy sessions, which will provide a safe space to discuss issues that they did not have the chance to work through during their stay in rehab. Attending group therapy can also provide an opportunity to build a support network and learn coping skills from others who are in the same situation. Many people find it helpful to join a support group, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, after completing drug rehab. These groups offer an opportunity to meet with others who are in similar situations, provide encouragement and support and learn coping skills that can be used for long-term sobriety.

In addition to attending therapy and support group sessions, a person’s recovery aftercare plan will likely include staying away from drugs and alcohol. This can be difficult, but it is an important step in a long journey to recovery. Keeping drugs and alcohol out of the house can help with this, as can encouraging loved ones not to drink in front of the person or go to bars or restaurants that serve drinks. Attending couples or family therapy can help the person and their loved ones work through issues that may have contributed to their substance abuse.

A well-rounded recovery aftercare program will also include a plan for what to do if a person experiences a relapse. Relapse rates are high for those in recovery, so a person’s aftercare plan should include ways to prevent and deal with relapse so that they can continue their addiction treatment. These plans can be as simple as returning to a rehab facility or as complex as entering an intensive outpatient program.

Recovery aftercare is vital to long-term sobriety, and there is no set amount of time that a person should spend in a rehab or recovery aftercare program. Some people remain in aftercare for up to a year, while others will continue to participate in recovery groups, therapy sessions and sober living programs for years.

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