Three Reasons Recovering Addicts Should Not Neglect Aftercare

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    Aug 04, 2014
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Three Reasons Recovering Addicts Should Not Neglect Aftercare Photo by Colin Armstrong

When a recovering substance abuser attends residential rehab at one of the many drug or alcohol rehab clinics around the UK, the conclusion of the treatment programme is usually followed up with several months of aftercare services. Aftercare is a series of therapies and support services intended to help prevent recovering addicts from returning to their former lifestyles.

The interesting thing about aftercare is that it can last anywhere from three to 12 months, or even longer. It all depends on the needs of the individual. At any rate, recovering addicts should not neglect aftercare services under any circumstances. Here are three reasons why:

1. Relapse Potential

The most important mission of aftercare is to help prevent relapse. Moreover, statistics show it works. According to a 2011 study, recovering addicts who do not participate in aftercare are 10 times more likely to relapse within the first year after completing a residential treatment programme.

Aftercare picks up where residential treatment leaves off. It provides support and ongoing therapy by way of counselling, support group participation, and 12-step work. Whether it is three months or 12, aftercare goes a long way toward preventing relapse.

2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Residential alcohol and drug rehab relies on the principle of confronting addiction issues daily for treatment to be successful. During a 12-week programme for example, residents spend three months doing little else but dealing with substance abuse and addiction issues. It is that concentrated focus that allows for faster recovery times. However, upon completion of the programme the 'out of sight, out of mind' principle kicks in.

Aftercare encourages recovery to remain at the forefront of the recovering addict's mind. In so doing, it helps to maintain a better focus in a way that keeps him working hard toward full recovery.

3. Group Dynamics

Group dynamics play an important role in many of the treatments today's rehab clinics offer. In a group setting, there is mutual support and accountability that helps each participant do better in his fight against substance abuse and addiction. That dynamic does not change once residential rehab is complete.

Aftercare services also depend on the group dynamic for things like support group participation and 12-step work. When recovering addicts do not participate in aftercare, they are choosing not to take advantage of the power of the group dynamic. That is truly a shame.

It should be noted that some recovering addicts continue to participate in group functions long after their aftercare services come to a close. They do so out of a desire to help others along their journey to recovery. The recovering addict just beginning aftercare services can reap a lot of benefits from the experiences of those who have gone before.

Author's Profile is an independent organisation assisting those in need of alcohol and drug rehab in the UK. As a counselling and referral service, they bridge the gap between rehab clinics and addicts to ensure those in need get help.

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