by Sandy Baker
During the drug detoxification process and rehab that follows, you prepare to rebuild your life.
You probably undergo numerous counseling sessions, lots of talk, and programs to help you gain confidence. Yet, at some point, you need to walk out of the drug and alcohol treatment center and onward to a new beginning. You may find yourself worried: Will I relapse? What will happen when I go home?
Create a Discharge Plan
When you are ready to be discharged from an alcohol or drug abuse treatment center, one of the first steps will be to create a discharge plan. This plan outlines the specific steps you’ll take after treatment to support your recovery.
The plan may include:
- Information about aftercare options for you – including setting up your first appointments
- Support professionals to call whenever you are facing risks or triggers
- Information on your current health needs
These resources are the backbone to your recovery. Use them wisely and often to keep your recovery moving forward.
Understand the Cause of Relapse
Relapse is the biggest issue individuals in recovery face. Your treatment center will educate you about handling your triggers and keeping yourself healthy to avoid relapse.
The first step in the process is to understand the actual cause of relapse. As you learn during treatment, there is no cure for addiction. It can be effectively managed, but there is no long-term, foolproof method of avoiding complications or relapse. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that between 40 and 60 percent of people will relapse. Yet, just because relapse can occur does not mean it has to–or that you can’t recover from it.
Some of the most common causes of relapse include:
- High stress levels, often due to changes in lifestyle and relationships. Work to rebuild relationships with honesty, and recognize that hard work is necessary.
- Negative emotions. Recognize that you may feel depressed, sad, or frustrated. Anxiety, loneliness, and anger are common. When you feel these emotions brewing, seek out help from your recovery team.
- Connecting with places or people that are connected to your previous abuse. The temptation can be significant. However, it is possible to avoid those locations and people.
Whenever you feel you are at risk, take action. What happens after discharge depends solely on your ability to recognize a problem and to seek help. Go to meetings. Meet with your counselors. Connect with those who are supporting you whenever you feel at risk.
Continue to Seek Out Treatment
A key component in your potential success comes from your ability and willingness to continuously seek out treatment and care. Aftercare is not optional for most patients. It is an opportunity to continue to evaluate yourself, get the encouragement you need, talk about your day-to-day struggles, and get back on the right path.
- Consider a variety of options in aftercare:
- Working with counselors to build a return-to-work plan.
- Meeting with your doctor to discuss your overall health.
- Scheduling routine family therapy sessions.
- Visiting with a group of people facing the same types of struggles you have.
- Working with your counseling team to manage social and recreational activities and to seek out new opportunities to build relationships.
Continue Your Care Through Outpatient Services
In addition to counseling sessions, individuals who are facing a long road to addiction recovery will also benefit from outpatient services. These services can provide you with specific tools to help you overcome the unique obstacles you face. Here are some examples:
- Consider a program to help you learn mechanisms to stay sober.
- Get involved in a treatment plan that can help you improve your physical fitness after your body has suffered.
- Consider job training programs (through a variety of sources) to help you gain a fresh set of skills.
- Enroll in counseling sessions for your marriage or partnership.
- Attend programs where you can volunteer to help others on this path alongside you.
Expect Ongoing Support
When you enroll in a treatment program at The Ranch at Dove Tree, our team will work closely with you to ensure that your needs are met not just while you are in treatment, but well beyond. It is this type of aftercare that is going to give you ongoing success at avoiding relapse. Contact us today to learn more about the opportunities we have available to you. And, contact us even if you are facing the fear of relapse or need help with aftercare.
Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. National institute on Drug Abuse.
How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Drug Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse.