An addict or alcoholic undergoing treatment for a substance abuse problem in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility receives a high level of personalized care, including private doctor consultations, prescriptions for special detoxification medications and one-on-one therapy with a drug and alcohol counselor. Having been eventually restored to health, an alcoholic in recovery is encouraged to seek a variety of continued aftercare models.
The care provided at a residential inpatient facility is beneficial in detoxifying from drugs and alcohol and participating in group therapy. The recommended next step in continuing care is to enroll in an outpatient program where an individual can learn in a group setting about the nature of alcoholism and addiction, participate in process groups, and discuss relapse prevention, healthy relationships and effective communication. Some outpatient aftercare programs also foster creativity with art groups, music groups and writing groups and encourage exercise with yoga or martial arts disciplines.
In addition to outpatient aftercare, an alcoholic in recovery is encouraged to spend some time after inpatient treatment in a sober living home. A sober living home provides a safe environment that fosters a sober lifestyle where an individual can meet other recovering addicts and form new, healthy friendships and relationships. Sober living homes keep residents accountable with frequent drug testing, structured activities, chores, and curfews. Sober living residents are encouraged to attend twelve-step meetings together or to participate in additional group therapy.
Reintegrating into society and forming a new social life can be highly beneficial in recovery, but continued one-on-one therapy with a drug and alcohol counselor and a psychopharmacologist is also suggested as a means of aftercare support. Private therapy provides a safe environment to express feelings, fears, doubts and concerns in a judgment-free place; a personal psychiatrist can prescribe medications for a variety of symptoms, from insomnia to anxiety and depression.
Attending twelve-step meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous is another beneficial measure of aftercare support. Support groups such as these provide the alcoholic in recovery with a new social setting in which to embrace sobriety. Hearing the experience, strength and hope of others can help the recovering alcoholic to identify with others and ease feelings of loneliness and isolation. In the rooms of AA or NA, a person in recovery is introduced to the Twelve Steps as a program of recovery and as a means of maintaining sobriety.
Sobriety and recovery take a great deal of effort and focus, but hobbies and pleasurable activities must not be neglected, as personal interests can be of paramount importance in continued care. Enjoying group activities like bowling, going to an amusement park, playing sports or seeing movies is a great way to strengthen relationships and friendships and add variety to one’s recovery program. Solitary activities such as writing music and poetry or making art can be a valuable way to express inner emotions and strengthen creativity. Exercising regularly (bicycling, swimming, hiking, yoga, or kickboxing) also promotes a healthy lifestyle and can be beneficial in maintaining weight and energy and keeping one physically and emotionally fit.