The addiction treatment process can be challenging and long. You may feel a range of emotions after you complete your last day of treatment for many reasons. On the one hand, you may feel liberated when you finish your recovery program. Now that you are in charge, you will be responsible for where and what you do. 

Taking on new responsibilities, returning to your everyday life, and getting back to your normal self are all possible. On the other hand, you may feel anxious because you have to protect your sobriety alone now. 

Despite this, your recovery does not end when you finally complete your treatment plan’s last level of care. However, treatment should equip you with the strategies to prevent relapse and safeguard your recovery. Although treatment doesn’t cure addiction, it does give you the tools to live a life free from active addiction, which is an important aspect of recovery. 

Even after you complete your treatment, there is always the risk of relapse, and you can employ different tactics to safeguard your sobriety. Community resources can help protect your sobriety and pursue positive goals after treatment. Keep this in mind when you’re ready to pursue recovery.

Below, you can learn about why aftercare and alumni programs are important.

Why Aftercare Programs Are Important

Why Aftercare Programs Are Important

why alumni programs matter

It is common for people after drug or alcohol rehab to isolate themselves and face long-term challenges. Perhaps you just want to be alone while you adjust to your new life without others telling you what to do, what to think, what to eat, how to drink, and how to live. However, excessive isolation is not a good idea. It is possible to relapse if you isolate yourself. Isolation can encourage negative thoughts.

Those who have just completed addiction treatment can benefit from aftercare and alumni programs, which provide encouragement, support, and strength. In these programs, fun, socially supportive activities create a sense of support for everyone involved. It also encourages accountability on the part of everyone involved.

An accountable person is someone responsible for their behavior. A person is accountable for attending therapy sessions, support group meetings, and medical appointments. In addition, you must take any medication prescribed to you and apply what you learned in rehabilitation in your everyday life. 

In addition to abstaining from substance abuse, accountability means abstaining from drugs and alcohol. Your employer, therapist, or physician can request a urine or breathalyzer test to ensure your abstinence from drugs and alcohol. If you are accountable for your actions, you are responsible for them.

What Are Aftercare Programs?

What Are Aftercare Programs?

The term aftercare refers to a long-term support program that follows an acute phase of substance abuse treatment. After addiction treatment, many people experience relapse, but these programs allow them to overcome setbacks. A person in recovery can deal with negative feelings without using substances and live a productive life, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Typically, aftercare programs include goals to keep people on a steady path to recovery. Some of these goals may include:

  • Staying focused. Keeping a positive attitude while staying sober, following through with all aftercare plans.
  • Support and recovery groups. Your unique personality and needs should be taken into account when choosing support groups.
  • Aftercare education. The importance of staying physically and mentally healthy, as well as other topics of interest.
  • Relapse prevention and survival. Addiction treatment involves creating a relapse prevention plan to identify triggers and respond accordingly.

Various types of aftercare programs or alumni programs are available to newly sober individuals, including:

  • Medication-assisted treatment programs
  • Co-occurring disorder treatment
  • 12-step meetings, religious meetings
  • Art therapy, equine therapy, yoga, meditation, and other alternative therapies

Relapse Risks and How to Prevent Relapse

It is important to know the causes of relapse. By understanding what they are, you can create a plan to prevent them.

Stress. Many aftercare programs on the market can assist in reminding addicts how to handle everyday stressful situations, such as those at home and with their families, challenges in the workplace, financial concerns, and stress from friends who are still using substances.

Social and environmental factors. Relapse can occur whenever a person is around those they used drugs or alcohol with before getting treatment. It is even possible to relapse by walking or driving by these places or people. Alumni programs can replace these people, places, and pursuits with healthier, alcohol and drug-free ones.

Mental health conditions. Someone who just finished addiction treatment commonly experiences depression, anxiety, and negative thoughts and emotions. Relapse is primarily the result of depression and anxiety. You can learn how to manage depression and anxiety in an aftercare program in a healthy way that avoids relapsing on drugs or alcohol in an aftercare program. You can also learn from others how to deal with any negative thoughts that arise.

Celebrations, happy occasions. When people have a cause to celebrate, they will undoubtedly drink. Whether it is a major event such as a wedding, a birth, or a birthday, or a minor event such as a friend or relative getting a promotion or a new job, alcohol is sure to be served.

You can learn how to handle these trigger points through aftercare or alumni programs. Sometimes all you need is a supportive individual in your program to be there when you need someone to talk to about saying no to family and friends.

Examples of Aftercare or Alumni Programs

Examples of Aftercare or Alumni Programs

It is possible to join many types of aftercare or alumni activities that are safe from drugs and alcohol. Many activities can take place in local parks, at home, on the treatment center’s grounds, or somewhere else that is deemed safe.

The newly graduated alumnus can stay in touch with other people in recovery over time by participating in these programs open to new graduates, long-time graduates, and staff from addiction centers. Depending on the activity being offered, the agenda of the aftercare or alumni program varies.

A newly sober individual can, however, attend some common meetings and programs. These include:

  • Meetings and events at local treatment centers
  • Meetings of national programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Social media networking groups
  • Occasional sober activities in the immediate area
  • 24-hour hotlines
  • Addiction education workshops
  • Annual reunions

Why Recovery Support Is Important

Why Recovery Support Is Important

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains that recovery entails health, home, purpose, and community. Health can help you overcome and manage your substance use disorder by supporting your mental and physical well-being by making informed, educated, and healthy choices. 

To be a positive member of society, you need purpose, which is to have meaningful daily activities, income, and independence. Being able to count on your home is the key to having a stable, safe, and secure place to live. A positive community can also be a valuable asset for you. In order to promote love, hope, and friendship in your life, you need relationships and a social and support network.

Why Aftercare and Alumni Programs Are Important

Why Aftercare and Alumni Programs Are Important

As a person in recovery returns to living at home, going back to work, and rejoining the daily activities of life after graduating from substance use disorder treatment, they still need help, advice, and camaraderie to thrive in the first year without drugs or alcohol. Alumni and aftercare programs provide hope and peace to people by providing information, advice, and support.

In NIDA’s words, aftercare and alumni programs are extremely valuable since they reduce the risk of relapse for patients when they leave residential settings.

An individual can choose how much they wish to be involved in an aftercare or alumni program because they are usually voluntary. While some people may choose to become highly involved and attend weekly gatherings, others may feel that monthly meetings are necessary. 

As long as you join these programs and participate in their meetings and social gatherings, you can benefit greatly from them. As this article points out from Healthline, sobriety doesn’t have to be a solo struggle. There are many ways to connect with others who are in the same boat as you.

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