Recovery is a lifelong journey, and something you’ll have to work toward every day to maintain. A good aftercare plan that helps you stay focused and on track in your recovery is critical, because relapse rates are between 40 and 60% after treatment, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

The best plan for life after treatment contains a few essential elements and is individualized to meet your specific needs.

1. An Immediate Next Step

While immediately transitioning back into the home environment is a viable option for many people coming out of primary treatment, some benefit from enrolling in a more intensive aftercare environment. Aftercare options include:

  • Outpatient treatment.
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP).
  • Transitional living, such as a sober living house.

2. A Relapse Prevention Plan

After primary treatment, you’re feeling proud of the progress you’ve made, so thinking about what you’ll do in the face of relapse can feel a little pessimistic. Relapse is a part of recovery, so it’s crucial that you approach aftercare from a practical standpoint and create a plan that outlines how you’ll actively work to prevent relapse, and what you’ll do should one occur.

A good relapse prevention plan helps you identify your warning signs and triggers; why you decided to get sober and why you want to stay sober; and what your body needs mentally and physically to keep progressing in recovery.

3. A Support Network

A robust, reliable support system is vital to recovery. Without a network of supportive friends, family and peers in recovery, the temptation to return to substance use can be too strong to overcome.

Certain people, places and situations are triggering. After treatment, some people or things just won’t fit into your new lifestyle. It’s critical to establish a strong network of family, friends and people you met in treatment who are committed to helping you stay sober.

4. Aftercare Recovery Resources

Recovery is ongoing, and it’s important to keep building upon your progress by continuing to engage in individual therapy, family therapy and 12-step support groups. A good aftercare plan will connect you with resources in your local community. Often, it’s not possible to continue working with the same therapist you worked with in treatment, but staff can refer you to an addiction-trained therapist who can help you succeed.

5. Healthy Coping Strategies

Cravings and the temptation to use can persist long after you complete treatment. It’s vital that you work with your case manager to build healthy coping skills that help you keep temptation under control, such as having a sponsor or a list of people you can call if you’re feeling uncertain.

6. Ongoing Contact With Your Treatment Facility

You should be able to get in touch with treatment professionals at your treatment center at any time, even after you’ve completed your program. Quality aftercare includes regular contact with alumni to continually assess your progress and see what you need. Maintaining the connections you made during treatment helps you exchange support with the people who understand you best and know what you’re going through.

The top priority of an aftercare plan is to prevent relapse, but that’s not the only goal. Recovery is a lifelong journey, and life after treatment should build upon the progress you’ve made so far. An aftercare plan is essentially a step-by-step guide that identifies every possibility of relapse and shows you how to cultivate a healthy, meaningful and productive life.

Immersion Recovery Center’s Aftercare Program offers a quality, lasting solution that can keep you engaged and on track. For more information about our services, contact an Immersion Recovery Specialist at 561.419.3349.