Jump to section:
Extended care is the last and often the longest phase of recovery. This the step that occurs after rehab and formal treatment, and it involves the transition back to real life. As a person goes through extended care, they often will receive help from family, friends, counselors, therapists, and others in the recovery community.
Transitioning Back Home
Once a person has gone through detox and has participated in therapy sessions, they will get to a point where the main part of their rehab is complete. Some individuals will be ready to move on and go back home to their lives. Others will require a more gradual transition back to their home and family. Extended care programs have been created for these individuals. Instead of jumping back into life, an individual in extended care can still meet regularly with therapists, and stay involved in counseling sessions. Many treatment facilities offer structured extended care programs, in order to provide extra support to clients that need it.
Sober Living Homes
Other treatment facilities offer sober living options to clients in their after care program. Sober living homes are apartments or homes that are reserved for alumni of the program as a safe, substance-free option. Residents of sober living homes must remain clean and must be actively working to improve their situation, through job searching, enrolling in classes, or working toward establishing life goals. These homes allow individuals to live and interact with others in recovery, and to gain strength and encouragement from these other individuals as they work to get back on their feet again.
Developing Life Skills and Healthy Habits
Relapse is common among certain individuals that have gone through recovery, but there are things newly recovered individuals can do to Eating a healthy diet, exercising, and utilizing techniques that improve the body, mind, and spirit are all beneficial for sustained sobriety prevent relapse. Taking the time to enroll in an extended care program and develop healthy habits is the best way to prevent relapse. During extended care, clients are still working on their sobriety, as they continue to learn methods for relapse prevention, healthy living habits, and to improve their relationships with family and loved ones. Most extended care programs also provide life skills training, by helping clients work on resumes, apply for jobs, enroll in school, take parenting classes, take financial planning classes, and complete other daily tasks.
A newly sober individual should continue to work on their recovery, whether they are enrolled in a formal extended care program or not. Continuing in recovery will help prevent relapse, and strengthen the individual’s ability to remain sober.
A Family’s Role in Extended Care
As an individual returns home after rehab or extended care, family members can play a large role in relapse prevention. Families should work with the individual and with treatment staff whenever possible to be supportive of the person’s struggle for sobriety and by providing encouragement for the individual’s goals. Loved ones are encouraged to attend support groups themselves, where they will learn how to communicate with their recovering loved one, how to be supportive, how not to enable the person’s addiction, and how to heal the wounds from addiction themselves. Most importantly, family and friends can be aware of the symptoms of relapse, and help their loved one get help in the case of relapse.
Family and friends should watch for these signs of relapse:
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Increased demand for privacy
- Failing to meet appointments or carry out responsibilities
- Drug paraphernalia
- Change in friends
- Change in physical appearance
- Lying, stealing
The Benefits of Support Groups
Just because a person has completed treatment does not mean their recovery is done. It is important for the individual to continue to go to support group sessions, in order to remain motivated to stay sober. Support groups are a great way for individuals to find the strength to remain clean and sober. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narconon are nationwide organizations that connect those in recovery with others that feel, understand, and have experienced the same challenges with addiction.
In order to avoid relapse, individuals should focus on healthy habits. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, and utilizing techniques that improve the body, mind, and spirit are all beneficial for sustained sobriety. During treatment, an individual will learn how to manage stress and pressure without turning to drugs or alcohol. After a person returns home, they will no doubt face stress and challenges every day. By applying what they learned in recovery, and by keeping a health-filled focus, the person can avoid relapse.
My Recovery Helper can connect families with support groups and options for extended care. Don’t wait for relapse to challenge your sobriety. Call us at 1.844.867.6835 today to find out how we can help.