Here are three stories of recovery, with different levels of aftercare, and what they teach us about addiction treatment.

If you played sports growing up, you probably remember that one of the most important principles that applied to improving your game was understanding follow-through. Whether you were swinging a bat, a tennis racquet, or a golf club, knowing how to follow through with your swing after making contact with the ball could make all the difference.

Follow-through is also important in other areas of life. For instance, you want to make sure the client you sold a piece of equipment to is satisfied with their purchase. It is smart to follow up with a brief letter of thanks to the person who interviewed you for a job. Following up is the finishing touch that can carry more importance than you might imagine.

Follow-up aftercare after addiction treatment is similar, in that it can make the difference between a faltering recovery and a strong, lasting recovery. Here are three stories of recovery, with different levels of aftercare, and what they teach us about addiction treatment.

Ivana: Amazing Results Achievable with Excellent Aftercare

As a new century dawned, Ivana Grahovac, a college student, attended college classes with her mother by her side. This close supervision was necessary after an eating disorder when she was younger led to a crippling heroin addiction. Though she graduated, her struggle with addiction was far from over.

Ivana had six stays at short-term addiction treatment facilities. She knew a longer treatment program would be necessary if she expected to recover long term. It took a jail term on an unrelated charge to give her the time she needed to start processing the lessons from all those brief stints in rehab. Since follow-up was not part of her earlier treatment options, it took repeated short-term rehab and 54 days in jail before she was able to take the first steps on the long-term journey to recovery.

Daniel: Recovery with the Help of Medicaid

Army vet Daniel Veach of Washington State developed an opioid addiction after being prescribed painkillers for an injury to discs in his neck and back. Daniel believes he never should have taken opiates in the first place, and eventually, he found his life “in ruins” due to opioid addiction. He searched for help on his own and found a community program that included medication-managed recovery with Suboxone.

Daniel’s job does not offer health insurance, but he lives in one of the Medicaid expansion states that broadened coverage after the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. Without Medicaid, Daniel would have to pay over $500 per month for the medication he uses to manage his addiction. He made it from living in his mother’s basement with no job, to managing a store because of the follow-up treatment that Medicaid has allowed him.

Lydia: When Detox Takes Place in Jail

Ivana Grahovac was not the only person for whom jail ended up being an unlikely savior. Lydia O’Brien says that the 30 days she spent in jail allowed her to admit she was an addict and needed help. By going through a drug court program that included long-term rehab after jail, she was able to complete her recovery.

It was not easy for Lydia, because she did not have a car and had to walk to and from her follow-up care. However, the hard work paid off, because eventually, she was able to be reunited with her husband and children and pursue a drug-free life raising a family. Like Daniel, Lydia remains in a medication-managed follow-up program and she says she has completely lost her desire to abuse painkillers.

Getting drugs out of the system through detox is only a preliminary step in drug addiction treatment. Not only is rehabilitation important, but so is continued follow-up over the long term. Just as excellent follow-through is a key to success in sports and business, it can make all the difference in the success of recovery from drug addiction. If you need more information on addiction treatment options, we invite and encourage you to learn more about our admissions.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.