Drug rehab is the first step on a lifetime's journey toward recovery, not the final destination. Usually one starts with drug detox, then inpatient treatment to concur the life-threatening disease of addiction. Eventually, you'll leave rehab and have to return to your normal life - including the many challenges you face as part of your daily existence. Good rehab centers don't just throw you out into the world and hope for the best. Instead, they work with you to devise a plan for how you'll manage the challenges of life after you leave rehab. This process, known as aftercare planning, is a key ingredient in the recipe for long-term sobriety success.
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From the moment you check into an addiction rehab, your treatment team will begin planning for your eventual return to the real world. At many drug rehab facilities, you'll begin working on either a long-term sobriety or relapse prevention plan from the moment you begin rehab. This plan takes into account your unique set of challenges and strengths, then develops solutions for managing these challenges using the skills you've mastered in rehab. Some of the topics you may address in aftercare planning include:
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Addiction wreaks havoc on your health. You may have organ problems, experience metabolic difficulties, or suffer injuries due to your prior addiction. Thus most aftercare plans directly address your long-term health. To get the most out of the planning process, be sure to ask plenty of questions, including the following:
Health problems can undermine your sobriety, tempt you to start using drugs again, or make it necessary for you to use potentially addictive drugs such as painkillers. By protecting your health now, you greatly reduce your risk of relapse.
Between 40% and 60% of addicts eventually relapse. If you refuse to try drugs or alcohol - even once - your risk of relapse is zero. A good aftercare plan directly combats your risk of relapse by listing potential solutions for common triggers. Your plan should also take into account your unique set of circumstances. For instance, if you're in an abusive relationship, your aftercare plan will directly address how you'll leave the relationship, what you'll do if you're tempted to return, and how you'll manage the temptation to relapse if you end up staying in your relationship.
If you're not sure what your life is going to look like after drug rehab, now is the perfect time to address just that. Many recovering addicts are anxious about leaving rehab, so there's no reason to feel bad if you're among them. By addressing your anxieties early, you reduce their ability to harm you after you check out.
Aftercare planning isn't something you do just once. This dynamic process is something you should be constantly contemplating. The best aftercare plans take into account your lived experiences - including your challenges, relapses, and slip-ups - to reduce your risk of relapsing or falling into unhealthy patterns. If something doesn't work the first time, talk to your treatment team. If something feels impossible, discuss this until you have a better strategy. And if you do relapse, use it as a learning experience. Relapsing can actually help you get closer to recovery because of the lessons you learn from your first relapse. But relapse will only help you get closer to sobriety if you're willing to discuss your relapse as part of your aftercare planning. At Northpoint, we can help you find the best extended care to make sure that you continue on your journey of recovery.