Aftecare and Sober Living After Detox


Recovery doesn’t end after detox. Many people believe that once the addictive substance is out of the body and the initial, physical withdrawal has passed, life gets substantially easier. The storm is over and the former addict is free to get on with a healthier more productive life. In actuality, aftercare and sober living are a necessary part of ongoing recovery.

There are actually two phases of withdrawal. The first is purely physical. The body goes through a kind of shock at the disappearance of a chemical it has come to depend on. It takes time to get through this phase and support is often needed. Getting through this phase is a great accomplishment but once it's over a new phase of withdrawal begins. 

The second phase of withdrawal is different. Clients in this phase face a combination of biological, psychological and social influences that make or break their recovery.

Recovery causes significant distress

Depending on the type of addiction and the length of time an individual has been using, symptoms can peak in intensity over three to six months post detox. Phase two withdrawal symptoms come from three different sources, the nervous system, the surrounding environment, and the inner psychological processes. 

Damage to the nervous system takes time to heal. The stress of life returns and the former addict has lost his support for coping. How is he/she going to cope with life without the aid of drugs and/or alcohol?  Additionally, the social and external environment will have an effect on recovery. Walking through an old neighborhood or visiting a former hangout will present a significant challenge to staying sober. Friends and family who are still using may or may not support the path to long-term recovery.

Aftercare and sober living after detox

Everyone is different. After detox, not all clients respond to the same treatment modalities. During this time, it is vitally important to address the underlying issues that led to substance abuse.

Individual therapy is a necessary part of addiction recovery for many people. Addiction is more than physical dependence.  Once out of the initial phase of treatment, there is a high risk for relapse.  Environmental cues, social relationships, and life stress, especially acute stress, all push towards relapse.

Individual therapy allows for treatment of co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or past trauma. Often, these conditions are contributing factors to the development of substance abuse.   

Group therapy is also helpful and is often preferred by former substance abusers. Group therapy is a unique opportunity to be supported by peers dealing with similar circumstances. It allows for connection to others which can be a helpful process in recovery.

Aftercare at Ayre Counseling

Dr. Ayre and his staff provide integrated psychiatric and substance care under one roof. Care is provided from the first step in addiction treatment and detox to the end of the need for aftercare. Treatment and aftercare are tailored to individual needs and designed to address the underlying issues that led to addiction. 

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14 Nov 2018


By Dr. Kieran R. Ayre

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