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Addiction Recovery: Aftercare Keeps Addicts on the Path to Wellness

Whether an individual is addicted to alcohol, drugs or a combination of both, addiction recovery is often a long and arduous process. In fact, recovery is a lifelong endeavor where the addict may experience many ups and downs and ride a figurative “roller coaster” of emotions and cravings until they have achieved abstinence and settled into healthier patterns.

In many instances, some type of intervention by friends, family or other sources is the first step toward encouraging an addict to enter into a recovery program. Then, the addiction treatment and recovery process begins, which generally consists of detoxification, intensive counseling and sometimes a stay at a rehabilitation facility.

Continuing Care is Crucial

Though many addicts eventually go into “remission,” and reach a point where they are able to manage their desire to use, the tendency to relapse is always a concern. Many addicts are able to eventually completely cease their addictive behaviors and move forward with their lives. However, others may fall back into destructive patterns at some point, even if their former behaviors lay dormant for years.

This is why aftercare plays such a vital role in the recovery process. After successful completion of a treatment program, counselors or clinicians will tailor an aftercare or “continuing care” plan to fit the individual needs of a recovering addict.

Aftercare programs are usually administered for at least six months after initial treatment. They may include admission into a transitional facility for a period of time, and in most cases are ongoing at least on some level. Continuing care can consist of a variety of activities including regular meetings, counseling sessions and the joining of a 12-step or group support program.

Developing relationships with other recovering addicts who have achieved sobriety is often very helpful. Avoiding unhealthy environments where temptations may exist is strongly encouraged. With attentive support, ongoing education and periodic counseling, the recovering addict can change their course and develop the skills necessary to live a good, productive and sober life.

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This blog is written and published by Lindner Center of HOPE.