Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Aftercare: Not Just a Suggestion


By 
Chris Newcomb, M.Div

Growing up as a young lad, I went to private Catholic Parochial School.  I remember having a nun who taught 4th grade.   One day when we were learning the '10 Commandments', a student asked why they had to follow the Ten Commandments.  I will never forget the nun's response, "Because Johnny, they are called the 10 Commandments for a reason.  That is why they are not called the '10 Suggestions'!"  Johnny didn't like that answer.  Like Johnny, many of use don't like to be told what to do.  However, sometimes, it's the best thing for us!

Regardless of religious or non-religious persuasion, we can borrow a lesson from this true story.  There are suggestions and there are requirements in life.  In addiction treatment, aftercare is a requirement.  It is not an option!

Aftercare is important for several reasons.  First, addiction is both a mental and physical disease.  Once the physical addiction to the drug or alcohol of choice has been broken via detox, patients must begin the hard work of dealing with the emotions and thoughts that have caused them to use in the past.  This is a lot like learning to walk for the first time.  People have to learn how to maintain balance while moving forward at the same time.  This takes practice. 

Second, aftercare helps addicts and alcoholics learn about the way the disease tries to lure them back into using through defense mechanisms like denial, rationalization, justification, blame-shifting and so on.  These mental self-defense techniques are very strong and often ingrained in an addict's thinking, which is why aftercare is so important.  As the A.A. saying goes, "An alcoholic stuck in their own head is in a very dangerous neighborhood!" 

Last, people don't become addicted overnight usually.  They work at it through continued use and a tolerance that continues to rise and requires more and more of the drug to get the very little actual 'high' in return.  Likewise, recovery doesn't happen in a vacuum.  It takes time and effort to overcome one day at a time.

There are many things in life that are required: aftercare is one of them.  At The Coleman Institute, we are committed to connecting our patients with the appropriate level of aftercare treatment giving them the best chance at a happy, successful recovery.  If you or someone you love is need of detox and aftercare, please call Jennifer Pius or Amy Stewart at 1-877-773-3869.  

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