For someone suffering from addiction, treatment is just the beginning of their life in recovery. Aftercare is really where the tools they learned in treatment are applied to the real world. Triggers can arise at any time, and without structure, it’s possible that those in recovery could find themselves reverting back to old, unhealthy behaviors, and eventually start using again.
Luckily, there are a number of treatment facilities that offer the services of Aftercare Coordinators to their patients in order to help them stay on the right track after they leave treatment. Ashley Harms, the Aftercare Coordinator for The Rose of Lakeview Health and Ben Ertel, the Aftercare Coordinator for The Star of Lakeview Health speak with the referring provider, the family, and the clinical, medical, and case management teams of Lakeview to formulate a seamless and appropriate aftercare plan for each individual patient. They set up patients with the highest level of care post-discharge that is feasible for their lives. This can look like one, usually more of the following:
Intensive Outpatient Therapy
Discharge planning begins the day the patient arrives at Lakeview Health. Within their first 24 hours, they are asked what their initial discharge plans are, and those ideas are further discussed in their groups throughout their stay. While inpatient treatment is vital to help start the patient’s journey to recovery, it’s a small portion of what will keep them effectively off of the drugs and alcohol that brought them to treatment in the first place. A focus and follow through with aftercare is what really makes someone successful in recovery.
In aftercare resources, patients learn how to apply the skills they’ve learned in an inpatient setting and will also help them learn what things they truly enjoy doing. A lot of people in treatment have been using for so long that they have forgotten what they find as “fun,” as most of their lives have been consumed with their addiction.
As someone in recovery for over four years, Ashley explains why aftercare accountability is so important. “Without accountability, people can fall back into their old behaviors because they haven’t had enough time to practice their new tools applied to real world experiences. Some people require more structure than others and this should be assessed honestly with each patient as well as their therapist. It’s kind of like becoming a member of a gym versus getting a personal trainer. One has a lot more structure and higher success rates than the other, but both can work.”
Many patients are eager to get back to their lives post treatment as they’ve been away from their families and loved ones for a long time. It’s understandable to want to just leave treatment and go back to that, but it’s very important that patients follow the advice and direction they are given for aftercare as it will be their best chance at continuing their long-term sobriety.
By Alexis Franzi, Social Media and Content Specialist at Lakeview Health and Ashley Harms, Aftercare Coordinator at The Rose of Lakeview Health