When you have been through drug or alcohol treatment you have really only completed the first step of what will be a lifetime recovery road.
Yes, you have detoxed, and yes, you have been through intensive therapy and counseling.
You still face a considerable number of problems in the outside world, not the least of which is that temptation is around every corner. However determined you are that you are not going to relapse, the fact is that alcohol and drugs are everywhere.
While drugs are illegal, it does not alter the fact that you may well see your former dealers, “friends”, and old stomping grounds every day, and you may still have family and friends who use drugs.
Alcohol, of course, is not illegal, and you are going to see it every time you go into a supermarket or corner shop; as long as you have money you can buy as much alcohol as you want and the law is not going to stop you.
Advertising for alcohol is everywhere:
Even if you choose not to go into bars, you will still find that you are in places where alcoholic drinks are for sale such as on airplanes, in restaurants and cafes, at rail stations, and more.
Temptation is going to be facing you wherever you are; even at home other members of your family will use alcohol, since the majority of the population does.
You are going to need a lot of ongoing help in order to overcome these temptations.
That is what aftercare treatment is all about – it’s about helping you to avoid a relapse, and if you should relapse (which very many former drug and alcohol users do within six months of treatment) helping you to realize that it is not the end of the world, but also helping you to avoid doing it again.
The fear of relapse is something that former users have to live with on a day to day basis, even after years of sobriety.
The risk is always present.
Aftercare can take a number of forms.
All of these are designed to help you cope with the temptations that face you and the pressures of everyday life. For example, you could be in a job and have a bad day at work; that can happen to anyone. You might then be tempted to pop into a bar on the way home just to have “one drink”. After all, “one can’t do any harm, can it?”
This is quite true. One drink will not do you any harm on its own. The problem is that the “one drink” can so easily become two, which then becomes three and so on.
Even if you do only have one drink, you may think that you handled yourself well and that it is therefore OK to have another “one drink” the next evening. It’s obvious where this is going to lead.
Aftercare is in place to help you to recognize and learn how to cope
with any situations which might cause you to relapse.
As time passes, it may well be that you need less in the way of aftercare, and you may achieve a point where you have surrounded yourself with all the right people who support you and are like minded. You have developed healthy habits, and have healed.
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