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Life After Drug Treatment: 6 Reasons Why an Aftercare Plan for Substance Abuse Works

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Aftercare Burning Tree Ranch

What you do after you discharge from a drug or alcohol treatment center determines if you will relapse or stay sober. 

The transitional experience from drug and alcohol treatment to a life of sobriety is almost as important, if not more than the inpatient experience at a treatment center. 

It is clear that the actions our clients take to live their lives in integrity after discharge from treatment are the actions which lead to a life of  long-term sobriety. 

Addiction is a chronic disease, which means if left untreated it will come back. Most successful addicts and alcoholics who recover and stay sober have found a way to continue to treat their disease.

We will either treat it with recovery-centered actions or non-recovery centered actions. We are either moving towards recovery or towards relapse. 

An Aftercare program helps hold addicts and alcoholics in early recovery accountable to the commitments they made in an inpatient treatment center and keeps them moving towards recovery.  

What is Aftercare? 

Aftercare is a component of addiction treatment that is designed to help addicts and alcoholics transition back into their lives outside of treatment. It provides a safe environment for people who have been discharged from treatment to apply and use the tools they learned while in drug rehab and to share about their successes and failures along the way.  

It adds structure and accountability to a traditional sober living home and helps clients stay focused on the therapeutic and treatment activities they determined were necessary to treat chronic addiction and alcoholism. 

Six Reasons Why Aftercare Programs Work? 

  1. Continuing Chronic Disease Treatment Through the Steps The most important reason to go to aftercare is so you can continue to work and treat your chronic disease. Alcoholism and addiction are chronic problems. If left untreated, relapse will happen. All too often clients and families spend lots of time and money on treatment and therapy and ignore the recommendations for follow up care.

    Aftercare ensures you are using the tools learned in treatment to stay sober. Are you doing the steps consistently? Are you connecting with your higher power? Are you keeping your channel to your higher power open by actively writing inventory? Are you doing service work and helping the newcomer? All of these questions are part of the steps and designed to help you remain sober. 
  1. Focusing on Mental Health is also very important. Many people who are addicts suffer from trauma, depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. It’s important to stay in contact with counselors, psychiatrists, and take medication as prescribed. Focusing on the requirements needed to treat your mental health problems can seem like an overwhelming task, especially for someone who is newly sober. Aftercare can provide accountability and helps you keep your mental health treatment on track. Successful clients stay active with all aspects of their recovery. 

Want help finding the best help?

Call our admissions team to get help finding the best treatment for you and your family.

(866) 287-2877

  1. Accountability is critical for people in early recovery. A well-managed aftercare program will provide parameters around how to show up, what activities need to be accomplished and ensure you are following your discharge plan from your treatment center. Many alcoholics and addicts don’t follow the discharge plan after treatment. As a result they suffer from untreated alcoholism. Aftercare provides a space for others to help you remain accountable to a program and to yourself. 
  1. Guidance is equally important. The pitfalls of an addict’s impulsivity is often their downfall. The environment of aftercare gives you extra help to make the right decisions. For example, many people getting out of recovery will rekindle relationships with old using buddies or girlfriends or boyfriends. Clients often don’t think about the repercussions of redeveloping these relationships. Most clients have little experience navigating a sober life and they need help. With the right aftercare program, you will get the right kind of guidance and help to make the best decisions for your recovery. 
  1. Community — If you leave treatment and go back to your normal routine, you will not have a support network or community to encourage you to stay on the right track. When you participate in an aftercare program, you’ll be with like minded individuals who want to get sober. Even more, a qualified aftercare program will encourage you to get a home group at a 12 Step Fellowship where you can expand your support network and feel at home. Your home group also provides a platform from which to be of service to the newcomer.  
  1. Helping You Stay Honest, Open Minded and Willing – Maintaining cash-register honesty and spiritual honesty are challenges in early recovery. It’s part of our development. Addicts and alcoholics have been dishonest for so long, it’s difficult for them to learn to be honest. Aftercare accountability helps keep us honest.  

Staying open minded to recovery principles when responding to the many emotions of early recovery requires that we keep an open mind and that we remain open to input from people like sponsors, therapists and recovery peers.  

Maintaining willingness to participate actively in our recovery can ebb and flow in the early months after treatment. Aftercare accountability helps us stay the course even when we want to “take a break.” Often we don’t give ourselves credit for the strength we have fulfill commitments and continue on the path. Aftercare groups can help encourage us to stay willing.   

Whether you need help now or are reading this as a family member wanting to get someone you love help, think about all the dishonesty involved. It takes practice and willingness to break the attitude of constantly being dishonest. Aftercare, with therapy, sponsors and group meetings, help you remain open minded and honest with what is going on with you.

About Burning Tree Aftercare Programs

Aftercare will enhance your life and help you transition back into society. It helps you remain accountable, honest, build community and helps you focus on treating chronic relapse and mental health issues. 

At Burning Tree Ranch, our long-term drug and alcohol treatment facility, clients are required to enroll in our transitional service called Aftercare. To participate in Burning Tree Ranch’s Aftercare you must go to Burning Tree Ranch, an inpatient residential treatment center that lasts 8-14 months. 

We also have a facility in Tucson, Arizona that only focuses on aftercare. It’s an option for people getting out of a 30 to 90 treatment program who need extended treatment.

Contact Burning Tree Programs today to find the best option for your treatment.

Article by John Lambert, Aftercare Specialist for Burning Tree Ranch

Want help finding the best help?

Call our admissions team to get help finding the best treatment for you and your family.

(866) 287-2877



- SINCE 1999 -

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