Aftercare is all about relapse prevention and finding ways to improve and change your life so that you can successfully live substance-free. Of course, it’s possible. 1000’s have done it and you do not have to be an exception. Getting a good aftercare plan together is vital, however. You need some direction when you leave rehab. Rehab gave you direction and support and structure and encouragement, but now, you have to venture out on your own. Yes, it’s a little frightening, but plans and action help immensely.

Aftercare is Self-care

You may not think of aftercare as self-care. You might think of it as drudgery some days. Do I really have to keep going to see a counselor? Do I really have to sit through one more group?  If you could change your mind about what you’re doing, you would feel better about it. For example, what if you thought I’m really doing a great job of taking care of myself; I’ve gone to all my sessions and meetings, too! Does that feel different than your usual complaints feel?  You betcha!


Use your imagination. Image how great new levels of recovery would feel and remember that feeling; go toward it.

Lots of addicts balk at taking care of themselves in such ways because they really haven’t learned much about having a good, orderly and satisfying life. They don’t know the difference between what is good and what isn’t good for themselves. They haven’t practiced good living habits long enough to know that, little by little, they add up beautifully after staying the course a while. That’s OK. Recovery allows for that, but you have to keep putting yourself in the right places to let recovery ‘work on you’. After faking it–perhaps for a good while–one day you’ll notice hey, this is really working for me!

Other Forms of Self-care Are Good Relapse Prevention

Have you ever felt fantastic because you were exercising regularly? If you haven’t, imagine it now. Feel it and savor it. Remember that feeling. Have you ever felt equally great when you were eating good nutritious food daily? Remember that one, too. How about a day when everything came together and you felt like whistling… like bouncing a little bit in your step? Or a day when your hair was perfect, you smiled spontaneously and life was interesting, exciting?

If you haven’t had those days, know that you are not alone. A lot of us had never had them until we set out looking for them. Your only task now is to remember them or visualize them… if you’re blank, use your imagination. Remember what it’s like in that wonderful place so you will recognize it when it really appears.