Continuing Care is Essential to Your Loved One's Recovery

Learn how you can play an important role

You may think that when someone finishes treatment, he or she shouldn't need further help to remain sober. The truth is that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, and recovery is a lifelong process. That is why continuing care (care after a person leaves treatment) is so important. Research shows that people who continue to take steps to get help after treatment are far more likely to succeed than those who do nothing.

Important components of continuing care:

  • Attending Twelve Step meetings on a regular basis
  • Finding a sponsor who has been in recovery awhile and can serve as a guide
  • Seeing a therapist or psychiatrist regularly if the person has a co-occurring disorder, such as depression
  • Attending continuing care groups that discuss various recovery topics
  • For some recovering people, moving from treatment into a transitional living situation (e.g., a halfway house) until their living circumstances are more stable.
  • At Hazelden, continuing care is so important that we now provide ongoing services to patients for up to eighteen months after leaving treatment. We do this through an online and print based educational program called MORE (My Ongoing Recovery Experience).

The goal of MORE is to give your loved one twenty-four-hour, seven-days-a-week support during the early months of recovery. While in treatment, your loved one learned about the program and took an initial assessment to determine his or her progress in recovery. This assessment is used to tailor MORE content to address his or her specific needs. Patients are encouraged to work through the MORE educational activities at least once a week, either online or in print.

The MORE program covers such diverse topics as preventing relapse, developing healthier relationships, learning to handle emotions in positive ways, and developing a strong spiritual foundation. Along with interactive content, MORE online offers Web participants an extensive library of resources that are just a click away.

Through regular MORE assessments, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation staff can monitor how your loved one is doing. If he or she seems to be struggling, a recovery coach may call him or her to check in. Your loved one was introduced to this coach while still in treatment. The coach's role is to give patients support and guidance. It isn't the coach's job, or your job, to make sure your loved one stays sober. Only the recovering person can take that responsibility.

Like the coach, you, too, can play an important role in your loved one's recovery by doing the following:

  • Learn all you can about recovery. The more you know, the more helpful your support will be. Consider attending the Hazelden Betty Ford foundation's Family Program to learn about addiction and recovery. Although taking time out for such a program may be difficult, most people find it time well spent. Scholarships may also be available if needed.
  • Be willing to listen. Through the MORE program, your loved one is encouraged to leave the computer (or print materials) and connect with others. This may be through discussing concepts he or she is learning, or by trying out new skills, such as healthier relationship skills. Your openness to these efforts will play a big role in your loved one's success.
  • Read the Hazelden MORE fact sheets. Several fact sheets similar to this one are available for friends and family members in the online Hazelden MORE library. They cover topics such as learning to detach, understanding Twelve Step programs, and going to Al-Anon. Ask your loved one to print these fact sheets out for you.
  • Set goals together. Although you are not responsible for your loved one's recovery, it may be helpful to set goals together or to commit to certain actions each week. If your loved one is open to this, consider serving in this accountability role.
  • Be patient. Recovery is all about life transformation, and that rarely happens in an instant. Change comes gradually. Old habits die hard. Be patient with the process while taking care of yourself.
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