WHY IS AFTER CARE IMPORTANT?

Monday, October 19th, 2009 at 5:47 pm

I believe in the continuum of care.  Any successful plan for recovery is a collage of an amalgam of varying pieces to the puzzle; all of which complete a total picture.

In my experience, there are three critical component parts for continued successful recovery: (1) a Higher Power of  your understanding, (2) a community of common interests and goals and (3) empowerment of one’s physical well-being.

Higher Power

This is often viewed as a lofty and unimaginably large idea.  It needn’t be so.  For this alcoholic, it was as simple as practicing the principles behind the first three Steps; honest, open-minded and willing.

In early recovery, I became distraught that the Big Book talked about acquiring a G-d consciousness.  I don’t know if I ever had, and certainly felt as if I didn’t have, a G-d consciousness.  Luckily, as part of my continuing care and that of my treatment team, I consulted my sponsor.  He pointed out to me that I had been practicing these principles and that, in fact, was a product of my G-d consciousness.

G-d need not be some sort of mystical idea.  Good Orderly Direction (G.O.D.) has worked for me on a daily basis for close to 7 years as of this writing.  Spiritual principles, to wit; trust, faith, love, tolerance, patience…and hard work….have been the simple directions to a richer and more meaningful way of life.

Community of Common Interests/Goals

This is where a large portion of “after care” takes place.  The necessity of reaching out to other people, places and things is the contrary action that often enables us to continue on to our goals.  This can take many forms.

The most proven and successful is, of course, the various 12 Step programs.  In addition to these, some other key components may include: sober companions; life coaches; sober living facilities; professional therapeutic services; and for many, the time honored custom of religious solace.

The result of addiction is isolation and alienation.  The result of recovery is the connection that is formed with the world around you.  The more people that are included, the better your chances for a continued recovery.

Empowerment of One’s Physical Well-Being

The first thing that needs to be said here is that everything we’ve said before is predicated on the basis of abstinence.

Going forward with this one principle in mind, we can talk about physical well-being.  This can take a variety of forms.  The first level is basic (daily) hygiene; showering, brushing your teeth, making your bed, cleaning your room….yes…your room is reflection of your mental well being.  Soooo, having given you credit for these things, we now move onto the second level.  Anxiety, depression, lethargy and boredom are often prevalent in early sobriety.  In clinical trials, exercise has been proven to be more effective on a daily basis than any pill you can take.  On the plus side, endorphins released by your pleasure center are you new, free high!  Healthy, sustainable….and the biggest secret of all (pssssst) FUN!

This last piece of continue care is yet another opportunity to enlist the help of others and make connections.  Personal trainers, yoga, spinning, pilates, aerobics, dancing, chi-gong, group sports are all a way to accomplish physical well-being and to become a part of the larger whole.

Bottom Line

These are all parts of the roadmap of recovery.  It’s about the journey…and not the destination.

Written By Brandon Berry CADCA

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