Recovery from addiction involves a daily commitment to not drink or use drugs, forever. Rehab is a great way to start the process, and to have twenty-four-seven accountability while first getting sober, but it is by no means the solution to a disease like addiction.
Importance of Aftercare
Aftercare is a term that refers to how an addict will continue on with what has been learned in rehab, and more specifically, residential inpatient treatment. Instead of being viewed as short-term follow up to an inpatient program, aftercare needs wider recognition as a required tool for an addict’s whole life. There will never be a day where you do not need to choose sobriety.
Let’s use some real life stories to illustrate the benefits of lifetime aftercare.
Have you seen the VH1 show, Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew? Well, as the clients are leaving his care, Dr. Drew and his treatment team formulate an aftercare plan with each person individually. Recommendations are made on what programs to utilize and where to live next, based on the team’s years of experience with addicts of all types.
Tom Sizemore, actor and addict, appeared on season 3 of the show. He struggled with many parts of the program, but when it came down to it, Tom listened. He wanted to get sober, and learn how to maintain a substance-free life, and he followed Dr. Drew’s aftercare plan of sober living, and is still sober today.
Tom is working his way back into acting, and he’s written his memoir By Some Miracle I Made it Out of There. Tom Sizemore is an example of effective lifetime aftercare: making the commitment each day to his life of recovery.
Mindy McCready, who also participated in season 3 of Celebrity Rehab, did not follow her recommendations for aftercare. She was not looking at the big picture. She wanted to return home to her son after inpatient rehab, instead of continuing her aftercare to sustain a life of recovery, which would have benefited herself and her son the most.
Mindy said no to sober living, stating that she would commit to a regular schedule of Al-Anon meetings at home. Just a few years after leaving treatment, Mindy lost her battle with addiction. She leaves behind two children, one being the son she felt she needed to build a better life for instead of taking care of herself first. Perhaps participation in aftercare would have lead her life in a different direction.
The benefits of lifetime aftercare are well-known in the world of substance abuse treatment, and when clients are ready to stay sober, following recommendations can facilitate a successful life in recovery from drugs and alcohol. As with the examples presented of people trying to stay sober, it really goes to show what a difference aftercare can have on a person’s life. Even when you think that you may be able to continue sobriety on your own, it is best to get all the help you can.
Kate Green shares her passion for helping those who struggle with drug and alcohol issues at Balboa Horizons Treatment Services. Learn more about her work as a quality improvement manager and the treatment center she works for by clicking this link.
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