Why choosing an after-care program is just as important as inpatient rehab

The general public has a concept about what “rehab” means. To most, it’s perceived as a 30-day program where the individual is monitored and offered endless therapies to help them break the cycle of addiction. But addiction is much more comprehensive, requiring many layers of education, therapy, committment and accountability to enact real change. In many cases, addiction has taken years to manifest before the decision to receive formal help has been reached, and therefore, it almost always takes much longer than 30 days to reach sustained recovery.

And while it may have taken years to make that first 30-day commitment to receive formalized addiction treatment, it will take the ultimate obligation to achieve lifelong recovery from drugs and alcohol. That’s why aftercare planning is often the most important phase of the rehabilitation process. Without a plan of action, accountability measures, ongoing treatment, and accessible tools to avoid relapse, the addict is simply setting themselves up for the cycle of addiction.

Aftercare Planning for Addiction at Lumiere

That’s why, at Lumiere Healing Centers of Ohio, part of our continuum of care is to set up a comprehensive aftercare plan for each and every one of our clients during their treatment stay. This plan accounts for their living arrangements, job responsibilities, family dynamic, foreseeable goals, realistic abilities, transportation needs, legal requirements and more. Our team of therapists, aftercare planners and case managers make sure that the client is able to meet their recovery needs first, as no goals can withstand success if sobriety is not maintained.

The ultimate goal is to set a foundation for the individual so that they may meet the needs of their family, career and lifestyle, thus reclaiming a new sense of self, purpose and intention. The ability to prepare a lifestyle, focused on recovery, that is accessible for the induvial, sets them up for long-term success and personal healing.

Long-Term Addiction Therapy

While a 30-day inpatient stay is the first step for most, the medical community recommends at least 90 days in a formal treatment scenario to help the addict make significant changes and inroads in their personal journey to recovery. Like any chronic disease, addiction recovery takes personal commitment, therapies and sometimes medication to help sustain remission.

After the first 30 days, the treatment team may recommend a lower level of care, while still maintaining much of the structure of the inpatient program. This is another form of aftercare in which the individual is given a significant amount of support while helping softly transition them back into their day-to-day life. This transitional phase is recommended for those who have experienced chronic relapse, who have struggled to maintain long-term recovery after formal treatment, or for those who don’t feel ready to return to their lifestyle without the threat of relapse.

It is in the initial weeks and months following an in-patient rehab program where patients are the most susceptible to relapse. Triggering situations such as returning home or to a career can, with remarkable quickness, spiral a newly sober individual back into their addictive patterns. And since no one is capable of conceptualizing how susceptible they are at this point, it’s imperative that an aftercare program is outlined during treatment and initiated immediately afterward.

The Foundations of an Aftercare Program

Some of the cornerstone elements of our aftercare program at Lumiere Healing Centers of Ohio include accountability, comfortability and sustainability. This means, creating an environment where the addict can stick to their addiction therapy plan, ensuring they are living in a safe, non-triggering space, and developing a path that they are capable of staying on, provided they follow the recommendations of their clinical team and counselors.

Outpatient Therapy

After completing inpatient treatment, we recommend that our clients adopt an outpatient therapy schedule. This can include attending group therapy sessions at our facility, or a partner facility. It can also include scheduling one-on-one therapy sessions with their therapist. Continuing the therapeutic dialogue is incredibly beneficial to the individual who is looking to overcome addiction as their own symptoms that precipitated it should be evaluated and managed uniquely.

Sober Living

During this transitional phase, we often recommend that the client be placed in a sober-living home where they can continue to receive regularly scheduled therapy while maneuvering into real-life situations. While this may initially seem uncomfortable, newly sober individuals typically feel safer and more connected with other individuals in recovery, which helps them to work past this difficult phase. Accountability is monitored as all members are encouraged to attend 12-step fellowship groups, meet with a therapist, secure work and contribute to community chores – all while remaining sober. These temporary housing situations, located practically anywhere throughout the country, are comfortable, affordable and free from the outside stressors that may cause relapse.

In addition, moving home after treatment can prove destructive for recovering individual. Though they have been forging a therapeutic path during inpatient therapy, family members and loved ones have not had the ability to work through their own relationship with the addict. Moving back to the same environment where your addiction flourished can quickly result in relapse and even more volatile relationships than before.

There are plenty of sober living home options, all of which are typically tailored to an individual’s personal needs. Professionals discover that they can return to work while living in a safe environment tucked away from home. People with limited resources can afford a semi-permanent housing situation and secure a stable job while growing alongside others in the program. Mothers can choose housing that allows them to bring young children. And otherwise committed individuals can attend outpatient programming for months following treatment that fits with their schedule.

Group Meetings

Those in early sobriety will benefit the most from layering recovery-focused activities into their schedule. Group meetings, like 12-step groups, are often the single most effective tool to maintain sobriety and accountability. These cost-free groups provide a safe place to express oneself, identify with other individuals’ experiences, and maintain growth in the recovery space. Establishing a normal meeting schedule is something that can (and should) remain a constant in the client’s life, helping them maintain a community of sober support for years to come. To view a list of local recovery groups in the Ohio area, click here: https://lumierehealingcenters.com/2020/01/09/finding-addiction-recovery-meetings-and-support-groups-in-ohio/

Accountability Coach or Sponsor

In the early phase of addiction recovery, after formal treatment has been achieved, we encourage our clients to work with an accountability coach or sponsor. This person, also a member of the recovery community, acts as a mentor, guiding the individual through the recovery process. The relationship forged, and intimate understanding of one another they share, is a unique experience that often cannot be replicated between the client and a therapist or loved one. This is especially why we encourage the discovery of this type of relationship. It is a unique element of the recovery process that many who have achieved years of sobriety consider a foundational element of their personal recovery success.

Planning a successful aftercare program in addiction thearpy helps people gain mental and emotional freedom to think, feel, love, dream, imagine and grow into a life of long-term recovery. Our goal is to give clients the insight and tools to allow that growth, and change, to flourish. Mary Augustine once said, “We become happier, much happier, when we realize that life is an opportunity rather than an obligation.” Our aftercare programming helps chart a path to long-term recovery, ripe with opportunity, growth and gratitude.