The benefits of an aftercare program for recovering opiate addicts are numerous. In fact, many rehab facilities offer an aftercare service as part of their program because they recognize the fact that integrating back into society is a struggle for most of their graduates. They understand that leaving the protected environment of a rehab facility can cause a person to feel vulnerable and alone. If the rehab doesn’t have an aftercare program in their curriculum, there are many programs available.
Once a person has completed rehab for opiate addiction, they step out into the world where temptations and challenges seem to lurk around every corner. In many cases, the recovering addict doesn’t have the benefit of a loving, supportive family that will help them cope. For this reason, an aftercare program is an excellent resource for gaining access to support, encouragement, and guidance during this sensitive transitional period.
What Does an Aftercare Program Offer Addicts?
Ultimately, an aftercare program helps recovering addicts stay on course and avoid relapse. Because recovery is an on-going process that has no defined point of completion, a recovering person can become overwhelmed and possibly give up. An aftercare program provides a lifeline so to speak. There is always someone there to talk with when times get tough. Once the person feels confident in their ability to navigate in society without resuming their opiate abuse, he or she can discontinue the program.
Some of the services provided by an aftercare program include, but are not limited to the following:
- group and individual counseling
- addiction education
- social activities and outings
- assistance with housing
- arranging transportation
- locating childcare services
- help with securing employment
- family involvement and counseling
Each aftercare program differs in the services they provide and there are different formats available to help the individual find the type of program that best suits their needs.
Types of Aftercare Program
One type of aftercare is known as sober living homes. In these homes, a recovering addict learns to share daily responsibilities with others and work as part of a team. These activities are incorporated as part of an overall plan to help the person transition back into taking personal responsibility for maintaining basic daily life.
In addition to sober living homes, a recovering person can enter an outpatient aftercare program. These programs are designed to help a person focus on relapse prevention techniques such as managing stress, controlling anger or anxiety, recognizing and dealing with triggers, and improving relationships. Many of the outpatient programs are flexible enough to allow the person to continue working or attending school. Furthermore, some of the programs also conduct random drug tests as a further incentive to remain sober.
Finding a Program for Your Needs
When choosing an aftercare program, you want to understand what you should expect from one and make sure you get the level of service best suited for your situation. Some of the things you can do to make an informed decision include:
- Obtain referrals or recommendations from your rehab provider.
- Talk with others who are in an aftercare program.
- Contact national treatment hotlines such as SAMHSA.
All things considered, you should take advantage of the benefits of an aftercare program immediately following your addiction treatment. It could mean the difference between success or relapse.