You’ve just graduated from a 90-day drug rehab – been “coined out” by a group of peers who wish you well and remind you they’re there if you ever need help. Your plane leaves tomorrow – you can’t wait to return home and see your friends and family. You’ve missed them, and you want to show them how far you’ve come in just several months. Therapists and counselors have warned you about the temptations that will likely await you at home, but you aren’t worried… after all, you’re cured! You will no longer want to drink and use drugs, for you’ve uncovered underlying causes of your addiction and addressed them with the assistance of a professional. Right?
Drug Rehab Is Just The Beginning!
Very, very wrong. It is very likely that one has not engaged in any sort of aftercare after inpatient will relapse within a short period of time. The vast majority of inpatient drug rehabs will strongly recommend a comprehensive and extended aftercare program effective immediately after one graduates from residential treatment. In most cases, such programs will include attendance at an IOP (intensive outpatient program) for a period of time, as well as continued daily attendance at a 12-step meeting such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Usually continuation of one-on-one therapy sessions is recommended as well in order to address underlying emotional issues as well as the addiction itself.
It is a common misconception that completing a stay at an inpatient rehab facility is about the extent of treatment – that once your inpatient stay comes to a close you are essentially cured of your addiction, free to return to your old life and pick right back up where you left off; without the use of drugs and alcohol, of course. In fact, graduating from a residential drug rehab program is only the beginning of your journey into recovery. It will be strongly recommended that immediately upon graduation that the newly sober addict or alcoholic maintain sobriety by entering a halfway or sober living house. This will allow him or her much more freedom while still managing accountability by means of frequent drug tests and a set of strict rules (curfew, cleanliness, etc). A careful transition from inpatient to halfway and finally back into total independence has been proven most successful in prolonged abstinence from drugs and alcohol.
Recovery Begins “In the Rooms”
It is often said that real recovery begins “in the rooms”. This refers to the fact that it tends to be difficult for addicts or alcoholics to maintain meaningful sobriety without getting involved in a 12-step program of their choosing. Regular attendance at meetings is usually essential to sustaining sobriety based on several differing factors – one of the most important is being surrounding with sober supports, friends who can relate to the struggle and are available to help if need be. 12-step meetings tend to be a crucial aspect of every aftercare plan, as does continued one-on-one therapy in order to continue resolving emotional problems and underlying causes of addiction. Don’t be fooled by the common misconception that rehab is the end of the road! Recovery is a lifelong process, and sobriety requires continued maintenance. But there is no question that all of the hard work you put in will be more than worth it in the end.