Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that requires professional treatment. When you attend a substance abuse treatment program, you will participate in a variety of therapies that help you recover from the causes and effects of your addiction. While these treatments are effective in treating addiction, recovery does not end when you leave the facility.
Substance use disorders are lifelong conditions. In other words, treatment will not “cure” your addiction. This means you must continue to practice your recovery maintenance techniques for the rest of your life.
Knowing how to maintain long-term recovery outside of a facility can be difficult, as you will be dealing with new triggers and stressors. However, addiction treatment programs like Woburn Wellness provide you with discharge and aftercare planning to ensure that you are ready to tackle independent living as a sober person.
Four ways discharge planning helps you prepare for life after rehab include:
1. Learn Skills for Keeping or Obtaining Employment
One of the main struggles people face after completing addiction treatment is learning how to obtain or keep a job. Careers can be stressful, especially if you are working a job that involves long hours, customer service, or strict deadlines. When you are newly sober, the stress from working can be even more intense because you are not able to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Because obtaining and maintaining employment is a known obstacle for individuals in early recovery, discharge planning involves job skills training. At Woburn Wellness, this may include resume building, interview practicing, learning time management skills, and more. The goal of job skills training is to provide you with all of the tools and support you need to be successful in your current career or your job search.
Research shows that job skills training that leads to employment helps reduce the occurrence and severity of addiction relapse.
2. Access to Sober Living Housing Opportunities
The transition from living in a rehab facility to independent living can be extremely difficult, as addiction treatment programs offer safety, accountability, and shelter from environmental and social triggers. Sometimes, the difficulties associated with this transition can cause people to relapse. Sober living homes exist to provide safe, supportive housing for people in recovery.
Sober living is a huge aspect of the discharge planning process. Sober living programs are housing opportunities that can help ease your transition from institutional living to independent living. Sober living houses are run by staff members who have recovered from addiction and know what it takes to maintain long-term sobriety, allowing them to provide you with the support and tools you need to be successful.
Staying in a sober home can help you learn how to live a sober life outside of a treatment facility, ease your transition into independent living, and lower your risk of experiencing a relapse.
3. Find a Recovery Community You Can Rely On
Discharge planning includes encouraging the development of a recovery community. In addiction recovery, having a community that you can rely on for support and belonging is imperative for maintaining long-term sobriety. Recovery communities teach you how to enjoy sobriety, help you avoid isolation, allow you to rediscover yourself, and connect you with others who understand what you’re going through. Two popular types of recovery communities include alumni programs and 12-step fellowships.
An alumni program can provide you with the sense of community that you need. Alumni programs typically involve weekly meetings where you can hear or share your personal story of recovery. You will attend these meetings with other individuals who have completed the addiction treatment program, allowing you to continue connecting and building friendships with the people you completed treatment with.
Oftentimes, alumni programs also include monthly outings that allow you to connect with your peers by engaging in fun community activities. This could include volunteer work, attending local sports events, or getting involved in outdoor activities like hiking. Participating in these events can teach you how to have fun in sobriety and help you build healthy relationships with people in your community.
12-Step fellowships, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) bring together people in recovery so they can share their experiences, strength, and hope to help others recover. 12-Step members are encouraged to work through the 12-Steps with a sponsor.
4. Learn Vital Relapse Prevention Skills
Lastly, discharge planning always involves relapse prevention skills training. Relapse prevention skills help you learn how to navigate triggers that you may face outside of the treatment facility. This is extremely important, as it provides you with healthy coping mechanisms that are essential to avoiding addiction relapse.
Common triggers for relapse include:
- Anxiety and stress
- Peer pressure
- Loneliness and isolation
- Relationship issues
- Witnessing substance abuse
- Certain sights, smells, or physical settings that remind you of your addiction
Relapse prevention training will teach you how to navigate these triggers healthily, preventing you from resorting back to drug or alcohol abuse. Examples of relapse prevention skills include continued attendance of therapy or addiction support groups, healthy coping mechanisms like mindfulness meditation, and knowing when to call your sponsor for support.
Get Started at Woburn Wellness Today
If you or a loved one suffer from addiction and are interested in recovery, Woburn Wellness is here to help. Rather than only treating the symptoms of addiction, we emphasize the importance of learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and long-term sobriety. Our program can provide you with the support and tools you need to overcome addiction, address the circumstances that led to your substance abuse, and become successful in your social and work life.
Contact Woburn Wellness today to learn more about our Boston-area addiction treatment programs.