Treatment may be the end of a person’s active substance use, but it isn’t a quick fix for the disease of addiction. It’s just the beginning of their recovery journey. At Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, we recognize that addiction is a chronic disease, and we know the importance of ongoing support in ensuring our clients continue to have the tools they need to build a life centered on long-term sobriety.

What is Continuing Care?

Continuing Care, sometimes referred to as aftercare, can include both the support that is available after a person has stepped down from a higher to a lower level of care and the ongoing opportunities offered to them after they have completed treatment. At Safe Harbor, continuing care is part of a comprehensive continuum of support that we offer all of our clients. Each person we serve has their own unique care plan, which may include things like:

  • A step down in care before discharge occurs so that the client can begin to implement the things they learned in the early stages of their treatment.
  • Sober living homes, where people can live in safety as they complete outpatient treatment.
  • Recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or 12-step alternatives.
  • Resources for managing mental health conditions the person may experience alongside addiction. 
  • Chronic pain management resources to assist clients in finding ways to manage physical pain without relying on opioids.
  • Assistance in setting up ongoing family counseling and support so that loved ones can learn more about addiction and support their family members in their recovery.

Safe Harbor’s care plans may also address nutrition, exercise, spirituality, stress management, and vocational goals, as these all facilitate ongoing recovery goals. Additionally, there are alumni events offered to provide recovery education, accountability, and sober socialization opportunities.

Results of Continuing Care

Studies have found that when continuing care is provided for a substantial duration of time and seeks to keep patients engaged, decreased rates of relapse are common, especially among patients who are at greater risk for relapse. 

Warning Signs for Relapse

The primary purpose of having aftercare support is to reduce the risk of relapse, which can be signaled by a number of different indicators, some of which include:

  • Isolation/loneliness
  • Poor self-care
  • Withdrawing from recovery supports
  • Discontentment
  • Cravings

Facing these issues alone can be terrifying and overwhelming. Participating in continuing care can give people in recovery prolonged support from professionals and other sober individuals who can help them to identify and address their red flags before relapse occurs. It can also provide them with safe settings in which to practice their newly developed coping skills. 

Our Alumni Group

Alumni programs can be a venue for people in recovery to give back to each other, which has often been cited as a critical piece in maintaining sobriety. Should a person in continuing care experience a relapse, having a safety net around them can facilitate a faster return to sobriety. 

In addition our alumni program, Safe Harbor offers alumni free access to the CaredFor App, which is a secure online tool that includes: 

  • A platform for connecting with other alumni and staff
  • A sobriety tracker
  • A gratitude journal
  • Wellness challenges
  • Articles and resources

Alumni groups can also provide an opportunity for a person in recovery to have fun. This is important because many people who are new to recovery may struggle to redefine what it means to have fun without substances. Having fun with other sober people is a good way to relearn what it means to have joy. That’s why Safe Harbor’s alumni group offers free monthly events. 

At Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth, Virginia, we use evidence-based treatment to create custom treatment strategies that consider the whole-person needs of each of our clients. We begin planning for what will happen after a client is discharged on their first day in our program.