How Important Is an Aftercare Plan?

By The Fix staff 04/18/18

No matter what form your aftercare plan takes, the goal is the same: maintain recovery, avoid relapsing and achieve a fulfilling life that you may not have thought was possible.

Therapist talking to woman, who looks confused.

Countless treatment centers present themselves as unique and innovative, if not completely revolutionary in the way that they combat addiction. In fact, virtually every treatment center’s website advertises a wide range of specialized methods, customized plans, individualized techniques and amenities that all undoubtedly help make the experience that much more comfortable and fulfilling for the client. What most centers fail to mention, however, is what happens after the treatment period ends. It’s one thing to learn how to live inside a safe, controlled environment, but it’s another thing entirely to adjust to living in the real world once again.

Addiction treatment isn’t a one-and-done sort of deal.

It’s not something that ends the very moment that detoxification is over or you’ve come to the end of a rehabilitation program. Addiction is a process as much as it’s a serious lifelong commitment. In order to completely succeed in recovery, you’ll need to develop a serious, comprehensive aftercare plan that not only fits your personal needs but ensures your success in achieving long-term sobriety. Everything from interpersonal relationships to housing to finances need to be factored in. “Aftercare” simply refers to any treatment method or work that happens after your initial rehab program. No matter what form your aftercare plan takes, the goal is the same: maintain recovery, avoid relapsing and achieve a fulfilling life that you originally might not have thought was possible. Without an aftercare plan, however, it’s a lot like wandering around in the dark, looking for a light switch that isn’t there. That’s why it’s incredibly important to design an aftercare plan that starts working for you the second that you set foot outside of your treatment center. Developing a successful aftercare plan takes time, guidance and sincere consideration for everything that makes you tick—things that most treatment centers simply don’t have experience doing.

Sierra Tucson doesn’t leave anyone’s long-term sobriety up to chance. The Tucson, Arizona-based treatment facility offers a comprehensive list of programs and services, ranging from addiction recovery to trauma treatment, among many others. More than that, though, Sierra Tucson distinguishes itself through Connect365—a full-service continuing care program that helps clients stay connected to treatment long after they’ve left treatment. The Connect365 program actually begins while residents are still closely working with their treatment team. Experts at Sierra Tucson sit down to develop exactly what their clients need when it comes to an aftercare plan. Once that plan is established and a resident is ready to be discharged, a Sierra Tucson Recovery Coach will be assigned to help the individual navigate the real world.

Connect365 is an online portal that keeps clients and Coaches connected after initial treatment has ended. The tool takes its name directly from Sierra Tucson’s belief that the first year of recovery is critical: during those first 365 days, all of the building blocks necessary for successful sobriety are put into place. In addition to the Connect365 program portal, the Recovery Coach communicates with their clients on a weekly basis via phone and/or secure web chat. Coaches offer everything from advice to individualized support techniques to relapse prevention assistance. The program also provides personal accountability, support meeting logs, weekly progress reports, and a variety of reporting tools for EAPs, legal affiliates and licensing boards. What’s more is that there’s solid evidence that Connect365 doesn’t just work. It works incredibly well. Not only did the vast majority of residents enroll in the program, but participants reported an overall recovery rating of 4.91 (on a scale of 1-5). Similarly, Connect365 participants said they were well-connected with their Coaches and were enjoying an improved quality of life. Perhaps even more telling about the program’s efficacy is how its participants were able to cope with life stressors, thanks to the program. (85% were “very confident to get emotional support from family and friends” and 80% said they had “greater confidence in the ability to pray or meditate when stressed and to stand their ground and advocate for what they want.”)

Unique aftercare programs like Connect365 are the key to long-lasting sobriety, as they bring people and interactive technology together in meaningful, rewarding ways. Coaches aren’t the “recovery police,” watching for missteps or stumbles. Instead, they’re deeply invested in their clients’ success as they continue to find balance in their mind, body, spirit and emotions. Whereas many treatment centers see an endless parade of residents come through their doors, Sierra Tucson takes the time to forge strong relationships with their residents in order to help sustain sobriety through the demands of everyday living. Connect365 is so much more than an aftercare program—it’s both a testament and a promise that Sierra Tucson will be there every step of the way, no matter what.

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