Getting help in Southern California, thankfully, isn’t that difficult. There are places and Doctors and institutes and therapy centers everywhere that can help you get back on the right road to recovery. But what about the aftercare? Where and what can you turn to for the help and support you need beyond the therapist’s office? According to Medscape, Drug overdoses have become the number one cause of injury-related death in the United States, killing an average of 44,000 people every year. So with such an urgent need for care, how does aftercare stack up?

Measuring Good Aftercare

One of the best ways to measure good aftercare is determining which of the following factors they address. Do they:

  • Encourage clients to go to treatment for longer periods of time?
  • Assist clients to grow roots in an ongoing or long-term support community?
  • Facilitate aftercare support, as an extension of the formalized treatment offered by the main facility?
  • Provide education and resources to the clients’ family?
  • Offer different treatment dynamics: individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy sessions, etc?

These are all great things to look for when checking out good aftercare  – especially in light of the statistics. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 31% of patients achieved a continuous year of abstinence after completion in a treatment program of 90 days or fewer.

Aftercare is vital to someone’s recovery. According to an article in Psychology Today, ignoring any element of aftercare is never a smart idea. Addicts do not and can not recover properly in a vacuum; they need advice, feedback, and support to help navigate their journey without falling into potholes.  Peer groups are a great setting when dealing with the rationalizations, minimizations, and justifications that any person in recovery brings to the table (otherwise known as denial).

Self-help groups are the number one choice for aftercare and outpatient rehab facilities, inpatient rehab facilities, and outpatient mental health centers come in next.

Types of Aftercare

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two of the most famous self-help groups but there’s also SMART Recovery. Standing for Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART), it utilizes the in-person meeting format, but in addition, uses a variety of online groups to assist in recovery. SMART puts a focus on teaching practical skills and developing a sense of empowerment while dealing with your addiction. It also encourages people to decide which level of alcohol or drug consumption that works for them, whether that means total abstinence or skillful moderation.

There’s also Rational Recovery that eschews the group approach and instead focuses on self-management. RR does not identify addiction as a disease; instead, they look at the issue as individual responsibility and participants work online to discover ways to stop using drugs or alcohol. And there’s SOS, or the Secular Organizations for Sobriety, a non-profit network of autonomous, non-professional local groups, dedicated solely to helping individuals achieve and maintain sobriety/abstinence from alcohol and drug addiction, food addiction and more.

SMART, Rational Recovery, and SOS are not 12-step aftercare organizations but these other groups are, including:

Reasons Individuals Might Not Want Aftercare

There are three main issues that some in recovery cite for not wanting to participate in peer-supported aftercare such as the groups listed above. They include:

Distaste for religion – many people do not care for the religious/spiritual tones that the 12-Step programs often rely on. But there are support groups for atheists.

No privacy – there is the real fear that other people in the peer groups could talk outside of the group, but they certainly couldn’t judge as they are in the exact same boat as everyone else.

Social anxiousness – other than saying your first name, no one requires you to talk in a group setting so there really is nothing to be concerned about. Over time, when you feel comfortable enough, you can talk but not until then.

Aftercare is very important to recovery. According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, many patients fail to initiate aftercare for addictive disease rehabilitation following detoxification. The study looked at 136 people, who were inpatients – and those of them who chose to go into aftercare following their discharge. 77% went into aftercare and were found more likely to have remained abstinent from drug/alcohol abuse (81% vs 39%) versus the ones who didn’t.

More Than Just Aftercare

There are other elements to aftercare that you might need in addition to support groups. They include:

  • Vocational rehab to help boost your chances of gainful employment.
  • Legal aid.
  • Educational aid.
  • Assistance finding safe housing.
  • Continued monitoring of any mental or physical health problems.
  • Programs to help prevent any form of relapse.
  • Hobbies or such that boost enjoyable relationships and healthy pursuits.

There are other elements too. Psychology Today suggests you ensure your aftercare is filled with peer-support factors that include:

  • Emotional safety and stability among the members
  • Peer similarity with addictive issues and, if possible, life circumstances
  • Consistent gatherings in a safe, stable environment
  • A focused, goal-oriented agenda related to sobriety and finding ways to enjoy life
  • High levels of behavioral accountability
  • The option to find a specific person with whom the recovering addict can share intimately (but not romantically) about whatever is going on in his or her life

Aftercare takes many forms and as such could include yoga or Tai Chi classes that are aimed at those in recovery. You can also find a plethora of choices on Meetup.Com in the Health and Wellness category. From 12-step programs to church groups, from charity groups to Reiki, there is something for everyone here.

Aftercare is going to be with you long after your initial bout in a hospital so you’ll want to make sure you get the best and that you stick with it otherwise there’s a greater chance you’ll fall. For more facts and information about drugs and alcohol and aftercare visit our website or call us at 855-491-7694.