Each year 2 million people or more receive treatment with problems from alcohol or drugs. While addiction holds no prejudice to race, sex, or age, nearly everyone knows of someone who is affected by this disease. Many users often end up in some form of treatment facility. The majority of rehabilitation centers are based on the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (Kingree &Thompson, 2011). While there are several types of rehabilitation facilities these centers seem to be not only the majority but also the most successful. Aftercare seems to be almost more important than the treatment facility itself in most cases.
It is here where many are introduced to twelve step meetings. These meetings are often encouraged as a form of aftercare once the individual is released from the treatment center. There is a false misconception among many who believe a person can just go to a rehabilitation center, get out and be alright. This is far from the truth as studies have shown individuals who attend meetings and work with a sponsor are more likely to remain abstinent versus someone who does not (Kingree & Thompson, 2011). Just as a child needs someone to teach them how to ride a bike or tie a shoe, and addict or alcoholic needs someone to teach them how to stay clean and sober.
While getting through treatment is a huge task for many, what is done once a person gets out can be where the true life changing process starts. Many residential treatment facilities with a longer duration period have proven to be more effective versus short term facilities (Arbour, Hambley, & Ho, 2011). Taking this into consideration one would want to not just take the quickest route through a rehab center, but to look into many and lean more towards a longer duration program. Most users have spent years in their addiction before making it to these kinds of places, therefore an overnight change is most likely out of the question.
As recovery from addiction is a process it will take time, as with any process. Research shows a direct link to long term care as well as long term after care in relation to sobriety (Arbour, Hambley, & Ho, 2011). Many addicts do not make it more than a few days after leaving treatment if there is no aftercare plan in place. Those who do have a plan in place still have an uphill road ahead of them. For many the first year of recovery proves to be the most important, studies have shown many relapse within the first 3 months of leaving treatment (Arbour, Hambley, & Ho, 2011). This reinforces the need for an aftercare plan immediately following treatment, as many may have nowhere to go other than to return to the old life style they had left behind.
After being clean and sober for a year some may think that the individual would be home free. This is another bad misconception as even at a year many addicts are still very new to life without the use of alcohol or drugs. It is during this first year by attending meetings and working with a sponsor that the individual is learning a new way to live (Arbour, Hambley, & Ho, 2011). When using many destroy the relationships with those around them, whether professional or personal. It is in this transitional period that coping strategies and healthy relationships are being formed (Arbour, Hambley, & Ho, 2011).
Even those who complete treatment must continue to seek treatment, as this is a lifelong process. They may have restored broken relationships, became employable, and for the first time in a long time feel good about themselves. Now one may say the