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aftercare the missing piece to the puzzle
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aftercare the missing piece to the puzzle

HI EVERYONE ....lately I have noticed an awful lot of relapse some a yr old most only a few months old
the one thing most share in common is they have all tryed to go it alone....I know we beat this drum a lot
aftercare aftercare aftercare...but it is a critical step in long term recovery....many people ask me what do I
have to change to make it....and my responce is only one thing.....EVERYTHING....and aftercare is the key
to go about just that it dosent have to cost money both N/A and A/A ofter free programs theres also pills anonymous
out there now if you feel more comfortable with one on one theres addiction therapist as well as substance abuse conslors most major health ins cover it....this shouldent be considered optional it is a critical part of recovery
as addicts we need to change the persons places and things we did wile we chased the high more then that we need to change the very way we think to survive this illness the statistic shows that less the 10% of the people will make it to one your clean and sober without aftercare that means 90+% are going to be back here detoxing again...if you truly want off the merry go round embrace aftercare I have used several forms to get clean both A/A  and N/A help get me off the alcohol and weed and everything else recreational 5rys7mo ago...it took a substance abuse conslor the better part of a yr to convince me I had a problem with methadone to day I still work with him on my recovery and got 387 days clean....if it wasn't for the skills and tools learned in aftercare I would have crashed and burned many times over....I guess what in trying to get across is it breaks my heart to see people fall that don't have to step out of your comfort zone and hit a meeting make that appointment with a conslor but go the extra mile and get the help we all need to live in recovery I hope everyone reads this and takes it to heart it may be the most important decision of your life...I wish everybody a long fruitful life free from the chains of addiction now do what it takes to make that happen.......your friend and felow addict Mark    
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Avatar_m_tn
HI one thing I left out.....ask anyone on this forum with any significant amount of clean time
and they will tell you the program thats working for them.......Gnarly  
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1383825_tn?1315235862
Thanks for the reminder, Gnarly. I will be on a work trip in Phoenix area (Mesa) next week. I guess I need to look up the meeting schedule! I'll be there Friday - Tues. if you know of any good ones.... Best, Lindsay
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1479078_tn?1329367383
Well said..Gnarly and I can totally relate aftercare is a lifetime process, in order to stay in recovery and live free and clean!! Thanks for sharing!   Kim
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199177_tn?1332183097
You will find most people with years clean have something in common they all get aftercare .... I am not saying its impossible to do for years there is always exceptions to every rule but ask members with over two years clean you will find most have an aftercare programs.
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1435456_tn?1314678259
Well said Mark. You are right about aftercare it is a must. The part that people don't talk about so much ( that you also addressed in your post) is the part about making changes in your life. That was critical for me and I believe has been a huge help in that it keeps you from temptation and as time goes by, makes it harder to reach out to old connections. I have changed just about everything in my life because I look at it as a second chance and I don't want to mess it up. Thanks for the post. God Bless. Andrew
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199177_tn?1332183097
Its sad to hear that more people are not discussing aftercare it is such a major part of sobriety .For a long time it was discussed quite alot it sounds like its time to get back to basics and aftercare is a major basic.
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495284_tn?1333897642
This is a good post gnarly.  We do preach aftercare alot on this forum.  So many think that once they stop the pills the addiction is over.....It is only the beginning.  We say over and over getting clean is the easy part, staying clean is the hard one.  We all seem to go thru a period called the "pink cloud" effect where everything is rainbows and streamers and then all of a sudden reality kicks in and bam the cravings start and relapses happen.  So many think they can do this by themselves.  We are our own worst enemy and cant do it alone.  Aftercare gives us the tools we can take into the real world along with a network of clean friends and activities.  No way in Gods green earth would i be clean if i had to do this myself.  I changed my playground and playmates, i took the cotton out of my ears and put them in my mouth and listened to others who have gone before me.  To me there is no excuse to not get some type of recovery care.  Your clean time has to be the most sacred thing in your life and you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to stay clean.  Each and everyone of us has it in us to do this.  You just have to put your pride aside and reach out......It works if you work it~~~~~sara
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Avatar_m_tn
interesting that the people posting on this thread are the ones with the most clean time. What does that tell you? That THEY KNOW. I finally drank the kool-aid after maybe 30 starts and stops trying to do it myself without aftercare and every time i couldnt. Just like Sara said, cravings and relapses... feeling alone, nobody to share it with or turn to. I was too proud to admit i needed aftercare, and even avoided meetings thinking addiction counselors could help - but once per week and not being able to call them anytime doesnt really help much either.  I started going to AA meetings even though my DOC is hydro, and found one finally that has a group of regular people like myself all working on being sober from drugs and alcohol. Its been a struggle and i wont lie and say "i'm cured" but i have started going daily and feeding my head with positivity to keep the little voices away. I even went to 2 meetings yesterday and found out that i liked my original one better...

so in short - as they say in business, if you want a successs, model successful people that have done what you want. The people posting above - pretty much ALL of them - are the ones that help people on this message board and have the longest clean time. What are they doing to be successful? Aftercare. Meetings.  Just do it. I am.

thanks all of you, i have truly seen the light and wish i had earlier. As sara said, you have to do whatever it takes to be clean. For me, that's swallowing my pride and walking in those doors and saying "my name is Ryan, i'm an addict"
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Avatar_f_tn
Just throwing my hat into the ring here~ I completely agree with all that's been said above. Aftercare/recovery care is not about an expensive schedule of appts. and meetings. Anyone can do that just by showing up!   It's about a strong committment to yourself to be clean and sober.   We all need support of some kind. Some more than others.   Look around to see what's available and go after it!  Make good, healthy choices and decisions.  It really can be done.

Good luck~~
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1310633_tn?1289313024
I completely agree with you Mark.

If not for my solid aftercare program (one I set for myself), I'd for sure not have made it these last 14 months.

1) 3-4 meetings a week (sometimes more)
2) Call my sponsor almost daily (at the very least, every other day)
3) Call & text friends that are in the program
4) Offer strength & hope to those that aren't in the program or those that need it
5) Daily feedback on MedHelp (yes... it's help me a great deal to talk to you drunk a$$es!)
6) Talk to my Higher-Power on a daily basis

That's what I've been doing for the last little while, and it's made me the man I am today.

Thanks for the refresher Mark. Aftercare is always a good topic.

LMNO
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1479019_tn?1289424279
oh man do I got it now. I'm so ready to do things I said I would never do now. Service work at the clubhouse, volunteer at the Salvation Army, drive girls to meetings from the halfway houses, 90 meetings in 90 days. I used to look at the people who did that and say " Don't they have something better to do? Why would they want to do this all day? When do they have a life?" Now I know why they do it, its so they don't feel the way I feel today. So I don't throw my life away. So I can prevent relapse in everyway possible. I want off the ride, but I can't just say that and make it happen. I actually have to climb down, and walk away (more like running uphill). My pink cloud soooo burst yesterday, its crazy how even sober you can still be wacky and unrealistic. Denial is the hardest part. Its awful. I've never had a harder time with being really honest with myself. Thanks for the advice.
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Avatar_m_tn
Denial is not a river in Africa ;)
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1488210_tn?1289069577
Thank you for this. When I got out of rehab last year for alcohol the first thing I did was go to an AA meeting. I started therapy, my life got better everday. Then I quit going as often, parted with my sponser and got lazy about finding a new one, just got lazy with my recovery...and here I am, fighting opiates now. Recovery is a life long proccess, don't stop just because you're starting to feel good, that's all the reason to keep going! It gets even better! I made that mistake, and hate to see it happen to others. There are so many kinds of aftercare availible to us, please use them.
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Avatar_m_tn
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Avatar_m_tn
Great post Mark.I believe exactlly what you are saying.AA/NA works and I am shore that there are other methods of recovery that help people get clean and sober.One thing I do know is that almost all treatment for addiction centers will try to leed there people to AA or NA.REcovery for me is a lifelong prosess,One day at a time.I have an NA sponser celebrating 23 years on Fri and my AA sponser has 26 years.Both of these guys got to meetings and work the program.I had 14 + years of clean and sober time myself untill I had my fist 60 pill Vicoden script.I continued going to AA ,I new that AA worked however I was taking 30-40 pills a day and still going to meetings Today I go to the same meeting with some additional ones and have a whole new outlook on recovery.
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1374653_tn?1289243073
My wise old grandmother (RIP) used to say, "If you throw a rock under a house, the hit dog will holler."  Gnarly, you just threw a rock, and I am hollering.  Although, I have put up a fairly good fight since coming off methadone in July, I do recognize that I have not given myself the best opportunity for success by not fully embracing aftercare.  As I think about, it will require some creativity and willingness on my part, because the availability is not great in my area, but that is only an obstacle, not an excuse.

I thank all of you recovery vets for some much needed motivation and serious discussion on steps that lead to lasting recovery.  I was never one to admit my shortcomings or let people tell me stuff, but this ordeal has really broken down my ego and put me in a place where I am more open to the world and can learn from anyone.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for that gnarly. I'm realizing how true it is after riding the opiate roller coaster for so many years. In fact, I just posted on another thread about staying clean and how for me the boredom and routine of every day life always made me do it just once (which never was only once) and led me back down that path. No more drama. No more chasing my high and no more ups and downs. I think also a big part is redefining who you really are, aside from the addiction and in addition to changing friends, hang outs etc. Myself I've never been to AA or NA and only recently started seeing a counselor. Working on tapering off methadone but the big question then becomes: what next???
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725350_tn?1318684068
Hey Mark,

Aftercare (AA and NA, for me) is always a great topic because it saved my life. Anyone can get sober, just have someone lock you in room for a week. Aftercare is where the magic happens. We begin to learn how to live life on life's terms, instead of running for a drink or a drug to change the way we feel. From a very early age, I was always looking for that thing that would change the way I felt. Even if I felt good, I needed something to make me feel better. Why was I like that? Obviously, I liked the feeling alcohol and drugs gave me. The driving force, however, was an inability to live life on life's terms. I was also spiritually dead and was trying to fill that void with drugs and alcohol. Through working the steps I addressed these, and other issues. It allowed me to accept that I am an addict/alcoholic, re-connected me with a higher power of my understanding, enabled me to clean up my side of the street, and now I have the ability to help others.

Most of you have heard me say this a hundred times, but I tried to do it without whole-heartedly giving myself to AA, and it turned out disastrously. As soon as I began vigorously working the steps, the obsession to use was removed and I was able to build the foundation upon which my life now rests.

Good luck to all!
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