Continuing Care: Your Secret Weapon in Relapse Prevention
Are you hesitant to put in the work to get sober because you’re afraid that you’ll just fall back into old habits? Continuing care is your first line of defence against relapse.
Finding good quality addiction treatment is incredibly important to achieving recovery from addiction, but it’s just the beginning.
Just like with healthy weight maintenance, addiction recovery is a lifestyle change. If you’re able to successfully diet but then fail to do any further work after reaching your goal weight, you certainly won’t be able to preserve the level of physical health that you’ve achieved. The same thing goes for addiction treatment. If you don’t put any effort into maintaining your recovery after completing treatment, relapse is almost inevitable.
Addiction Treatment is Just the Beginning
While addiction treatment is the most obvious step on the journey to recovery, the path doesn’t end there. In fact, if recovery was a marathon, primary treatment would only be the first couple of kilometres. After completing residential addiction treatment or an intensive outpatient programme you should, at the very minimum, be involved in initial aftercare. You’ll also need periodic refreshers on the tools you use to fight cravings and the coping mechanisms you’ve built to face life’s challenges drug- and alcohol-free. A good quality addiction treatment centre will offer this type of ongoing recovery support, and more. So while there’s still a long way to go after your addiction treatment is complete, you don’t have to run the rest of the way to the finish line alone.
The Importance of Ongoing Recovery Support
Unfortunately, relapse rates for those suffering from substance abuse disorders are quite high, with some estimating upwards of 50%.
While research shows that good quality aftercare goes a long way toward reducing the chance of falling back into old habits, only about half of people take advantage of continuing care programmes. Of these, many do not complete their prescribed aftercare and even more still fail to do any kind of maintenance beyond it.
The period immediately following primary treatment is especially important as it is during this stage that much of what was learned in treatment is put into practice and reinforced. It is also during these initial 90 days, called early recovery, that vulnerability to relapse is highest. The ability to effectively apply the tools and coping mechanisms developed in treatment is the key to maintaining long-term sobriety. Having the support and guidance of addiction professionals during this time is invaluable.
How Aftercare Shields You From Relapse
The risk of relapse remains quite high for the first five years following treatment. Aftercare can keep you moving forward on your own two feet instead of falling back into the web of addiction. Ongoing recovery support helps to keep you focussed on your recovery goals, sharpens your tools for managing cravings and triggers, ensures that any underlying issues are kept at bay and provides the support and guidance that you need to make it through tough times. Recovery is a lifelong process, so your relationship with your treatment centre should be, too.
Types of Addiction Aftercare
Just like addiction treatment, continuing care isn’t one-size-fits all. The most appropriate care for you is the care that meets your individual needs. There are a number of different aftercare options, but they usually fit into one of the below categories.
1. Private Therapy Sessions
Individual sessions with a therapist or addiction counsellor are a great way to check in on your progress and can be invaluable for detecting and preventing an impending relapse. During individual counselling, you have a chance to check in on the status of any co-occurring disorders such as anxiety or depression that may threaten your recovery as well as any personal issues that typically trigger substance use.
2. Group Counselling
Participating in regular group counselling or periodic booster sessions is a great way to freshen up your coping skills to combat triggers and cravings and keep up your momentum in facing the challenges of life substance free. Group counselling allows you to benefit from the experiences of others and learn recovery skills alongside peers. If everything is going really well in your recovery, you may not have had the need to draw on the tools you’ve developed for managing more extreme recovery challenges for a while. You don’t want to be out of practice when intense situations arise.
Group counselling specifically targeted for individuals in later stages of recovery allow you a place to share your experiences navigating life in recovery outside of a structured setting as well as share your recovery goals and plans in a supportive environment.
3. 12-Step Fellowship Groups (AA, NA)
Fellowship groups can be a very useful resource for anyone on a recovery journey. If you’ve chosen to leave your addicted past behind, chances are you’ve also had to say goodbye to a lot of the people who were close to you during your substance abusing days. And it is very likely that the new friends you’ve made in sobriety don’t fully understand your past or what you’re going through in recovery. This can leave you feeling alone and isolated.
Fellowship groups like alcoholics anonymous or narcotics anonymous are a great way to feel connected, and understood. You can learn from the experiences of others in the same boat as you and also receive regular reminders of how bad it really was on the other side of recovery. Being a part of a fellowship group can help you to feel like part of a community and normalise what you have gone through so that you don’t end up feeling like an outcast of society. This sort of group is available in most locations and there are even online support groups for those in remote areas.
Comprehensive Ongoing Recovery Support at The Cabin
If you’re planning on entering or leaving addiction treatment make sure you have a plan for ongoing recovery support in place. The Cabin Sydney offers one of the most comprehensive aftercare programmes in the industry. After completing your addiction treatment programme, our team of addiction experts will ensure that you are set up for success with an aftercare programme that suits your needs.
With offerings of individual counselling, a number of group sessions including a specific group for those in recovery just like you, The Cabin Sydney is your best choice for ongoing recovery support.
Don’t risk letting the recovery that you’ve worked so hard for slip away from you. If you are ready to leave your addiction behind, or if you’re already sober and want to make sure that you stay that way, contact us today. With us by your side, you’ll see how much easier recovery can be with a little extra support.