By now, you are probably very familiar with how alcohol detox and rehab work. Residential treatment programmes begin with a one-week detox period, followed by several months of rehab that includes counselling and group activities. However, what happens when the residential treatment program is complete?
At the end of a treatment programme, the recovering alcoholic is obviously discharged to return home. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean the fight against alcohol addiction is over. In fact, returning home is the hardest part for many alcoholics who complete rehab. That’s why aftercare exists.
Aftercare is a follow-up program intended to support the recovering alcoholic so he or she doesn’t relapse. The length of aftercare varies from one program to the next and depends on a number of factors including the severity of the previous addiction, the emotional state of the patient, and the type of environment he or she will be returning home to.
A typical aftercare program looks very similar to a residential treatment program, minus the detox portion. Aftercare includes things like individual counselling, group counselling, planned group activities, skills training and so on. In very rare instances, it can also include ongoing maintenance medications.
A minimum aftercare program typically runs about three months. However, some people take advantage of it for a year or longer. In either case, aftercare greatly increases the chances of success and long-term sobriety. Without aftercare, relapse is a very real possibility.
During the course of a residential treatment programme, alcoholics are exposed to the outside world through a number of controlled group activities. The idea behind these activities is to teach participants that it is possible to have a full and productive life without drinking. However, a residential treatment programme is limited in what it can do in this regard.
The strength of aftercare is that it can go much further. By meeting recovering alcoholics where they are and providing activities pertinent to the local area and circumstances, they can help participants gain a greater understanding of the beauty of life without drinking.
A big part of aftercare is the support groups providing help to both recovering alcoholics and their families. Al-Anon is one of the more well known support groups you are probably familiar with. These support groups provide both accountability and a listening ear for the recovering alcoholic. The accountability factor may be the more important of the two.
Being held accountable by a professional counsellor is one thing; being held accountable by a fellow recovering alcoholic is entirely different. It comes down to group participants not wanting to let one another down. That powerful motivator would otherwise not be available if aftercare did not exist.
The mission of Alcohol Rehabs is to connect alcoholics and their families with the programs and services they need to regain their lives. Among those services is aftercare.
While most of the private clinics we work with include aftercare as part of their programs, we cannot guarantee they all do. In cases where aftercare is not included, we can help the recovering alcoholic plug into the aftercare services he or she needs. We have access to support groups and counselling services all over the UK.
Please do not hesitate to call us if you need a residential treatment program or aftercare. Our confidential services are free of charge to anyone who calls. Our primary function is not to earn money; it is to help end the scourge of alcoholism in the UK.