If you want to recover from the disease of addiction, you must take certain steps to increase your chances of long-term recovery. Residential treatment is a great place to start on your road to recovery. The duration of the program can vary from 30 days to several months. If you have just returned home from a treatment center, it is imperative that you have an aftercare plan and follow it 100%. Here are the top 5 reasons why you should follow your aftercare plan:
1. You are 100% responsible for your own recovery. No one else can do it for you!
You have the ultimate responsibility to stay clean and sober. Since it is your responsibility, the best way to ensure long-term success is to have an aftercare plan. An aftercare plan is a series of tasks that you must complete every day to increase your chances of being sober in the long run. Some examples of aftercare tasks include going to meetings, calling your sponsor, and exercising regularly.
2. New behaviors, attitudes, and skills take practice.
The skills, knowledge and attitudes acquired in your residential treatment program are still new to you. If you have learned to share your feelings with others and ask for help, it is important that you continue to practice these skills. Do you know any professional athletes who don’t practice their skills between games and in the off-season? Keep practicing the skills, attitudes and knowledge you learned at the treatment center and make it part of your aftercare plan.
3. Old behaviors will return quickly unless you have new behaviors to replace them.
Have you been visiting the local bar or liquor store after work regularly for the past 30 years? If so, it’s a great idea to plan another healthy activity to take its place. Try walking in the park, going to the gym, or visiting a recovering friend. Old habits don’t die easily or quickly. Make a list of the rituals you had when you were an active addict. Replace old, unhealthy behaviors with new, healthier ones. Get creative, have fun, and ask your recovery friends for help.
4. You are setting a good example to your peers and to society.
It is an absolute gift to be able to recover from the deadly disease of addiction. If your peers see you working hard on your recovery program, they can use you as an example to work hard on your recovery programs. If people in your community see you as active and healthy, it shows that there is a lot of hope for those who still suffer! If you want to set a good example to your peers and to society, you must follow a thoughtful and regulated aftercare plan.
5. Your illness will always be waiting for you
The only chance you have to stay clean and sober is by consistently practicing healthy habits. Don’t be tempted to take a look at your old bar to see how the old gang is doing. Do you really think that anyone who walks into a brothel in the red light district is remotely interested in learning to dance? Do most people who go to the bar drink a soda all night? Remember that your illness is always waiting for you. Don’t let the door open even a crack.
Although there are many other reasons that can be added, those are my top 5 reasons why you need an aftercare plan. If you honestly follow your aftercare plan to the best of your ability, your chances of recovery will increase dramatically. It has often been said that “the worst day of sobriety is still much better than the best day of addiction.”