Some people have the idea that a person with an addiction can just go to drug rehab and then come out “fixed” and never have to worry about falling in to drug use again. Unfortunately, that’s not true. Drug rehab is the beginning of a lifelong lifestyle change, and since you will need to continue your recovery after you finish your drug rehab program, you will also need help and support at that time as well. When you’re choosing your drug rehab program, it’s important to ask your treatment center, “What are the best programs after drug rehab?”
Here are some tips for discerning what are the best programs after drug rehab.
Does your drug rehab program offer regular meetings once you’ve left the official treatment program? Some centers partner with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) in order to provide regular aftercare, while some host alumni groups or required regular check-ins. Meetings may vary in their frequency, though the most useful frequency is once a week, but the important thing is that these meetings are scheduled and consistent.
Any after care group should be moderated by skilled counselors or other facilitators who can recognize the signs that a client might be in danger of relapsing. They should also be able to help encourage and strengthen a client so that relapse isn’t as tempting. In after care, the facilitator doesn’t necessarily have to be a licensed counselor; in AA and NA groups, for example, the facilitator is often an experienced and wise fellow recovering addict who has navigated the pitfalls of recovery and can help others do the same.
It’s always nice when people give you complements and praise, but a group of recovering addicts will know when a fellow member is hiding something or covering her tracks. This is the whole point of after care: to surround yourself with people who won’t let you get away with your old addiction-related behaviors.
The flip side of accountability is encouragement. If your support group of people in recovery can tell you when you’re walking down a dangerous path, they can also tell you when you’re doing things right. They know what they have needed to hear in the past, and are glad to pass on the information to you. People who are also walking the path of recovery often have coping skills and techniques that can help others in recovery, and they are glad to share.
Ongoing medical and psychiatric attention
Someone who has disorders or struggles apart from their addiction may need more ongoing support than just a weekly NA meeting or alumni group. Many people become addicted in the first place because they are in either physical or emotional pain, and when the addiction is treated, the pain can return. A good aftercare program can either provide or refer you to ongoing individual counseling, appropriate, non-addictive pain relief, or medication to ease the symptoms of chronic issues such as depression or anxiety.
After care shouldn’t be an afterthought. Ask your drug treatment center what are the best programs after you finish your drug rehab. We at Jupiter Counseling know that after you finish drug rehab, your new, drug-free life is just beginning, and we want you to keep it that way.
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