Thankfully there are several options available to people seeking drug and alcohol abuse treatment. Many programs offer several levels of care including inpatient, residential, outpatient, and individual counseling. Some programs focus on adult treatment while others specialize in working with young people and adolescents. While most treatment programs offer quality care while a person is in treatment far too many fall short in the most critical area: follow up/aftercare.
The Treatment Process
The primary objective for any level of drug and alcohol abuse treatment is to help the client identify the problem and develop an effective strategy to cope with it. Often when a person enters any level of treatment he or she is in the midst of some form of crisis. Throughout the course of treatment the negative situation provides a frame of reference for the drug abuser. She can see how relationships have been harmed, how work or school was sabotaged, and what principles she once adhered to that have been cast aside. This process is vital and recovery cannot take place without it. Also, a recovering addict or alcoholic, particularly one who is young, must see a positive payoff to sobriety. All of this is a major challenge but can happen with effective approaches such as the Twelve Steps and Enthusiastic Sobriety.
That Was Great, Now What
The greatest counseling in the world can be quickly undone by one simple misstep. That critical error occurs by not formulating an effective follow-up and aftercare plan. An addict’s default is always to control the way he feels by any means necessary. Most of what an addict knows involves some form of self-destructive behavior. Treatment provides a level of awareness that opens the door to real change. What happens after treatment allows actual transformation.
What’s The Plan?
A newly sober former drug and alcohol abuser is extremely vulnerable. She knows she has a problem with living, is cognizant of how she got there, and has some motivation to change. What she needs is instruction. An effective plan should include (but not necessarily be limited to):
- a specific 12 step support group meeting schedule
- weekly sober social activities
- weekly meetings with a counselor/therapist
- either employment or involvement in school
This is simply a guide. If you have a child or loved one currently in treatment or recently discharged from treatment be aware of what plan is in place to insure continued sobriety. If you are involved in Insight and are not clear on what the plan is, call a counselor and schedule an appointment to get on the same page.