While completing a rehabilitation program can be beneficial for recovering addicts, it may not be enough to ensure long-term sobriety. Realistically, the majority of those in recovery or the recovery industry would all agree that some form of post-treatment program is necessary. Fortunately, many rehab programs now offer extended care programs, usually lasting anywhere from three to eighteen months, where patients can receive the adequate time, resources, and recovery foundation critical to maintaining long-term sobriety.
A Different Approach
The extended care program’s goals are the same as a traditional 28-day program, which is to provide an immediate foundation for recovery that the patients can build upon as they continue to live in the path of sobriety. However, helping a newly recovering drug or alcohol user build this foundation can be difficult to accomplish in just 28 days. Addiction is a disease of the mind and body, so treating a disease of this depth requires more time within a recovery environment and more engagement with recovery professionals. When it comes to instilling lasting dedication to sobriety, extended care rehabilitation programs have shown longer periods of sobriety in patients compared to those of shorter length programs.
While shorter programs offer patients a chance to redirect their life, extended care programs usually help patients create a new life from scratch. With the help and support of staff and other program members, long-term programs go above and beyond offering drug treatment. They also provide patients with long-term psychological counseling, occupational therapy, transitional housing and a way to reintegrate back into being a self-supporting, sober member of society. Through the extended process, patients learn to live in a new geographic area, among a new social circle of sober persons and an entirely new life.
Extended care rehab facilities usually offer a significantly higher amount of resources to patients to assist them with their recovery. Because recovery itself is a process that takes time, extended care centers are able to introduce more resources to patients within the given timeframe. One of the most noteworthy resources is psychological counseling. By working with professional counselors or psychologists over a period of one year or longer, the patient and staff are able to fully understand the depth, nature, origins, and manifestations of the substance abuse issues. Ultimately, the facility is able to use this knowledge and apply it within the framework of the individual patient’s recovery, providing for a solid foundation for future sobriety.
While in long-term rehab, patients find themselves in an environment where all their focus is exerted only towards sobriety. All potential distractions, stressors, relapse triggers, and threats to their immediate and long-term sobriety are removed from the patient’s mental calculus, which then reduces both mental and emotional stress. In this state, patients are able to fully immerse themselves and concentrate on their recoveries.