The Importance of Aftercare

By: Megan Souther, Alumni

Successfully completing Inpatient treatment is just the beginning. While in treatment a client begins to recover, start working the steps and see how behaviors can hinder recovery. Clients who don’t complete Aftercare have a lower chance of success of maintaining sobriety.
So what is Aftercare?

Aftercare can range from IOP (Intensive Outpatient), sober living, AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) to individual therapy. Treatment is most effective when it is individualized. The extent of the Aftercare program will be determined by a treatment team and the individual’s needs/progress made in treatment.

Based on my experience, until I embraced the recommendations, I was unable to stay sober. I saw it as “optional”. I wanted to pick and choose what I thought I needed. That kind of thinking led me right back out the door. At Burning Tree, I completed an entire year of Aftercare and it was just what I needed. Without it, I don’t think I would still be sober. All three of our programs incorporate Aftercare programs from day one. In order for me to be willing to do continued treatment, I had to understand what the purpose of it all was.

The main reason would be putting into practical application what is learned in treatment. It is easy to follow direction in a safe, confined environment, and it is another thing to continue once treatment is over and integrate back into life.

Our goals of continued care are teaching the clients structure, accountability, financial responsibility, balance, rebuilding relationships, and integrity with work. As an addict/alcoholic I had copious amounts of free time and structure was foreign. I didn’t know how to balance work/recovery/fun/relationships because all my life consisted of was getting high and drunk. I was accountable to no one. My friends were gone when the dope was gone. My family wouldn’t talk to me. I didn’t show up to work and had no money. To an addict these goals can seem unattainable and overwhelming. Our goal is to teach these life skills, set our clients up for success and a life that is worth living.


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