Treatment is a key contributor to successful substance abuse recovery. However, in-house care is just one part of rehabilitation. Successful long term recovery also includes access to a strong support network, recovery advocates, and friends and family who support the recovery process.

Why Advocates Are an Important Part of Care

Studies show that environment can have an enormous effect on whether or not long term recovery is effective. Those who are in unhealthy environments after treatment may have a harder time recovering than those who live in a healthy environment with a broad network of support.

Post-clinical advocates and networks of support have also been shown to increase recovery success rates. External sources of support after treatment can provide continued encouragement and long-term accountability.

Identifying Advocates and Planning for the Future

Systems of support and advocacy can include friends and family, therapists, support groups and recovery centers, recovery interventionists, and peer advocates.

The role of peer advocacy in recovery has become especially crucial in recent years, spawning its own strong advocacy movement. The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services has identified the following services that peer advocates and recovery coaches can provide in the post-clinical setting:

● Identifying and contacting social services available to a patient post-rehab
● Acting as a role model for coping skills
● Attending medical appointments
● Crisis support
● Recovery education
● Assisting with practical skills such as using public transport
● Social integration

Family and friends play a major role in recovery outside a clinical setting, and can be enlisted in the recovery process long before a patient completes treatment.

Things like cognitive behavioral therapy can also help people recovering from substance abuse or addiction issues by re-framing situations and providing empowerment. Underlying issues can often surface after rehab, making things like CBT and healthy advocate support valuable tools for the maintenance of sobriety and prevention of relapse. Support groups can also serve as a valuable form of post-clinical advocacy by connecting patients with others in recovery in a community setting.

Enlisting advocates and creating a post-clinical recovery plan has been shown to boost the likelihood of long term sobriety. If you have a loved one in treatment for substance abuse, reach out to a professional to see how you can help act as an advocate after treatment.