The Importance of Discharge, Relapse Prevention, and Aftercare Planning
One of our top priorities here at Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center (TRRC) is discharge, aftercare, and relapse prevention planning. We know if our clients set up successful plans for after discharge their chances of long-term recovery increase. Therefore, we at TRRC we put a lot of time and effort into planning our client’s next step. Just because our clients have been at TRRC for the past 30-180 days does not mean the world outside has stopped moving and their problems have all been solved. Typically, after discharging our clients are excited to get back into their daily lives and are excited to face new challenges. After returning home and integrating back into life, clients often feel overwhelmed and stressed and if they have the plan to keep them connected to their recovery, they have a much better chance of facing life on life’s terms. We know if they do not take care of their recovery first and do not have solid plans after discharge, they often revert back to both what and who they know. We also know at TRRC the more people, places, and things, our clients can change in their daily lives the better chances they have at long-term recovery, and this is why the therapists and clients at TRRC develop an individualized discharge plan specific to each client and their lives after treatment.
During treatment our clients learn coping skills, grounding techniques, Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), and Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills that will help them deal with their cravings, anxiety, stress, and depression after they leave treatment. Our clients also use these skills to live in the present and navigate the everyday challenges they will face after discharge. One of our goals for all our clients is to have a successful discharge plan individually crafted for each client. The discharge plan comes with an aftercare plan, a relapse prevention plan, and a 7-day plan.
The client’s aftercare plan will come complete with scheduled IOP programming, individual counseling, 12-step meetings, and scheduled doctor (PCP)visits. Their 7-day plan will have a detailed schedule of the client’s plans for the next 7 days after discharge including meetings they plan to attend and any appointments they have made for follow-up aftercare. The client’s relapse prevention plan allows the client to identify high-risk situations, stressful situations, and triggers they will face after discharge. It also allows the client to identify irrational thoughts and emotional triggers prior to relapse. The plan then provides the client with a plan to deal with or avoid potential situations. Finally, the relapse prevention plan outlines important parts of our client’s recovery such as self-help principles, support groups, and signs our clients need to be aware of after discharge before relapse happens. We know relapse starts mentally and emotionally way before the actual physical relapse takes place. If our clients have a way to notice certain thoughts, emotions, and behaviors prior to relapse they have a much better chance of dealing with these situations before the actual physical relapse happens.
We know the real recovery work starts the minute a client leaves our facility. During the client’s stay at TRRC they will develop a solid foundation they can build a successful recovery on. We also know to be successful our client’s will need to build a life they enjoy more than the one that was filled with drugs and alcohol. This is why we at TRRC take so much time to individualize and complete discharge and aftercare planning. We want the best for our client’s and put a large amount of emphasis on our client’s future and their ability to stay in recovery.
- JD Pack, LPC-Associate, LCDC