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Why Aftercare So Important For Young Men Struggling With Addiction?

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

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Experts on addiction recovery often emphasize that the most important aspect of recovery is seeking outside help and that is why is aftercare important in recovery for young men. The majority of addicts fail to recover because they choose to rely on their own self-will. Unfortunately, addiction distorts areas of the brain responsible for motivation and decision-making. 

Thus, no matter how hard one works at it, solitary efforts to get sober are rarely effective. In the 12-step community, people who try to get sober on their own are said to be “white-knuckling it,” suggesting a painful state of mind even for those who are relatively successful at accumulating sober days.

Addicts who get addiction treatment for the substance use disorder have far higher rates of abstinence for drugs and alcohol. However, it is important to understand that addiction is a lifelong condition. While active addiction can be put into remission, it is essential for addicts to work to keep their condition under control on a daily basis.

 Even after getting sober at a treatment facility such as a detox or rehab, addicts should put a plan in place so that they can continue to reap the benefits of sobriety that they likely got a taste of in rehab. 

Importance of Aftercare for Young Men With Addiction

The program an addict follows to remain sober and the care they receive is referred to by substance abuse experts as “aftercare.” Aftercare can take a variety of forms, but it is important for a number of reasons. The primary reason is that successful aftercare decreases the chances of an addict relapsing. There are many benefits beyond that, however, such as:

  • Relapse prevention
  • Social support
  • Legal assistance
  • Housing
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Other mental health problems
  • Developing healthy habits and a happy life

Types of Aftercare Programs For Drug Addiction Recovery

One single aftercare plan is better than none, but most recovering addicts use a combination of different aftercare treatments to ensure their long term sobriety.

Aftercare Support Groups

12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are extremely popular and effective ways to stay sober over the long term. Cities all over the world have countless meetings to choose from. 12-step programs provide recovering addicts with a social support system as well as an actionable program to deal with addictive obsession.

For those who have doubts about the spiritual aspect of 12-step programs, group therapy is another popular option. Using evidence-based treatment modalities, group therapists guide recovering addicts in exploring the psychological factors that drive them to seek drugs and alcohol.

Both kinds of support groups provide recovering addicts with social support systems and strategies to cope with addiction. Moreover, these groups help addicts develop strategies to deal with life. Research conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse recognizes that an essential feature of substance abuse recovery is treating other aspects of the patient’s life aside from drugs and alcohol.

Sober Coaches

Sober coaches are individuals who are also in recovery. They are paid to spend time with more newly recovering addicts and keep them accountable. A sober coach might come with an addict to their home, to school, to work sometimes, and even might hang out and play basketball with them. 

Time spent with a sober coach isn’t meant to be strenuous. It’s like having a sober friend who can show you the ropes. These sober companions lead by example and demonstrate that it is indeed possible to have an enjoyable life in sobriety.

Outpatient Treatment

After leaving an inpatient treatment such as rehab, many recovering addicts opt to graduate on to outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment often involves individual psychotherapy once a week. 

The most popular type of counseling encountered in outpatient treatment programs is cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to help patients alter their thinking and behavior patterns.

Sober Living Homes

Sober living homes can be thought of as an intermediate step between rehab and the “real world.” Like rehabs, sober living homes are recovery options as well. They tend to emphasize strategies for living as well as recovery from substance abuse. 

Sober living centers tend to be more long-term residences than rehabs, so not only will you have more time safe from temptation, you’ll have a great opportunity to build a sober social support system. Research suggests that it is for these reasons that residents of sober living houses tend to have lower rates of relapse than other recovering addicts.

Does Treatment Ever End?

After graduating from rehab and then a sober living, is an addict “done” recovering? The answer is that recovery is a lifelong process, but that can mean many different things for different people. It can also be a source of great joy. 

Many former residents of sober livings, for instance, are grateful for the opportunity for regular “check-ups” with their former recovery residence — as well as the chance to get involved and help younger addicts who are suffering more acutely. While aftercare never does truly end, for most recovering addicts it is less a chore and now more pleasurabl


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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