As you come to the end of a stay in a rehabilitation center for an addiction, your first step toward recovery outside the center should be setting up aftercare. A solid aftercare plan can prevent or reduce the risk of a relapse. The danger of not having an aftercare plan is that you’ll return to harmful patterns and practices.
Engaging in aftercare provides you with people to consult. It gives you an idea of how to forge a new path. Crafting an aftercare plan for a love addiction, sex addiction, pornography addiction or gambling addiction is somewhat similar to creating such a plan for substance abuse recovery. It differs slightly in that you may need to work with a different type of counselor or therapy group than you would for substance abuse recovery.
A 30- to 45-day addiction rehab program is the start of the recovery process. Rehab gives you a break from the routine that led to the establishment of harmful patterns and takes you away from reality: the chores, your job, your family and your addiction. In rehab, you can easily get mental health help. You are better poised to understand the signs of depression and what they signal.
If you were seeing a therapist before you entered rehab and were benefiting from that support, you should continue working with that therapist. Provide your therapist with the literature and philosophy of your rehab center. If you weren’t seeing a therapist before rehab, it’s time to find one. Your first step for aftercare should be checking in with your therapist and making sure you are stable.
Your next step involves identifying ways to avoid any person, pattern, behavior or place that could cause you to relapse. For example, if you have social anxiety disorder and start to develop symptoms of anxiety upon exiting rehab, it may be time to take an anxiety test. This should help you pinpoint which types of people you should avoid and how to remove yourself from situations that cause you stress. Your therapist can also show you cognitive behavioral therapy techniques, such as excusing yourself from a crowded room.
Being in a situation where you used to engage in an addiction can lead to relapse. A licensed therapist near you can help you figure out who and what to avoid. Finding and remaining in a supportive environment, like a more caring work environment coupled with a regular therapy session, can help you meet new people who are sober and are living a lifestyle dedicated to recovery. Your therapist can help you identify ways to meet new people and find healthy, enjoyable activities.
Creating an aftercare program takes time. Expect the process to be a journey of many steps. Take pride in knowing that each step is rewarding, uplifting and an encouragement to remain in good mental health.