First-time parents have often cited the drive home from the hospital as the most nerve-wracking part of the entire journey. Whether it’s their first time or one of many, the feeling for individuals emerging from treatment can be described similarly as they leave the care of medical professionals with their most precious cargo in tow. A much-anticipated moment becomes reality, and it’s just the parents and their baby—or the individual in recovery and their newfound sobriety—along with a promise to provide protection, anxieties that something may not go according to plan, and a world of unknowns that lie ahead. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” and the same can be said for sobriety. It’s not meant to be achieved or maintained in solitude, but with the help of others.
The Importance of Aftercare
“Continuing care planning is essential... In some parts of the country, continuing care planning has actually become a requirement of the law in certain treatment scenarios,” Drug and Alcohol Counselor Michael O’Brien (CADC II, NCAC I) says in his book, Addiction Private Practice (p. 116). Also referred to as discharge plans or aftercare plans, O’Brien recommends the following in continuing care for long-term recovery:
- Identify areas that need additional ongoing support
- Identify ongoing recovery maintenance activities
- Identify support persons, groups, and activities
- Define relapse warnings signs
- Create an action plan in the event warning signs become evident
- Create an action plan in the event a relapse occurs
A central task for individuals emerging from treatment, participation in continued care is related to an increase in positive outcomes in sobriety, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment finds. Of the available options for continued care, including 12-Step programs, mutual-help groups, and meetings with recovery coaches, incorporating an alcohol testing device can provide a solid stepping stone to transition into independent, lasting recovery.
Benefits of Alcohol Monitoring After Treatment
Helping individuals establish confidence in their sobriety without being completely on their own, many treatment facilities emphasize routine. This can include: maintaining complete sobriety, attending daily meetings or a certain number of meetings per week, taking part in resident meetings, speaking with counselors, and accounting for their whereabouts when leaving the home. Making the shift to an independent lifestyle more seamless and less abrupt, alcohol monitoring supports individuals during their journey, helping maintain that same sense of stability provided in treatment.
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a disease that thrives in isolation, says Cini Shaw, Executive Director of Recovery 365 at The Lighthouse. With a many individuals experiencing increased solitude due to the pandemic, maintaining sobriety can be even more difficult. That’s where aftercare comes in. “Building out a continuum of care and having support easily over the first year is crucial,” Shaw explains. Being part of a community can be helpful during recovery. However, given the current state-of-affairs, not everyone is keen on in-person connection. To remedy this, remote alcohol monitoring technology can be used to digitally connect individuals with their Recovery Circle, working to further strengthen their sobriety.
In every avenue of life, accountability is key to sustaining change. As author Gretchen Rubin says in Better Than Before, a book about forming healthy habits, “We do better when someone’s watching. Even when we’re the ones doing the watching!” Knowing that an alcohol monitoring device is there to help keep an individual on track offers consistent accountability along the way.
AUD affects not just the individual themselves, but their family and those around them. As a result, it is common for trust to be broken and feelings of skepticism, pain, and trauma to tinge the relationship, whether intentional or not.
“As long as people feel like they cannot trust and cannot be trusted, a natural progression is towards self-loathing and the shame cycle,” Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation explains. This “shame cycle” includes drinking, harming relationships, creating distrust, feeling ashamed and inundated with negative emotions, and then, drinking again. Documented proof of sobriety can help reassure an individual’s loved ones of their sobriety and help rebuild trust between them, setting the tone for healthier, more conducive relationships.
A Look at Soberlink Alcohol Monitoring
Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity to document sobriety in real-time, Soberlink is a comprehensive remote alcohol monitoring system designed for ease-of-use. Results are wirelessly transmitted and can be shared with an individual’s support circle to strengthen the recovery journey after leaving treatment. Allowing for customizable testing schedules, the Soberlink System provides specific notifications and automated report settings to remind individuals to submit a test. Aware Recovery Care, an organization that provides in-home substance use treatment, and Soberlink recently partnered together to review the remote alcohol monitoring system’s impact on individuals in recovery. Results from the six-month research study done by Omni Institute showed:
- 83% of participants said Soberlink helped them feel in control of their recovery
- 86% said Soberlink strengthened the connection with their treatment team
- 93% said that Soberlink kept them accountable
- 93% said that sharing Soberlink test results positively impacted their recovery
- 91% said Soberlink improved their ability to resist drinking
Ensuring each client’s sobriety, Drug and Alcohol Counselor O’Brien also shares in his book, Addiction Private Practice, that he’s been using Soberlink since its inception a decade ago. The clinician finds the system to be “less invasive or obvious than other forms of monitoring,” adding that it’s especially effective for an individual that “needs additional accountability or wants to establish trust with loved ones.” (p. 155). Having made a positive impact on in-home AUD treatment and used by hundreds of treatment providers to keep individuals connected in recovery, Soberlink offers an evidence-based approach to continued care that is often missing from recovery.
While it can be overwhelming, progressing out of Addiction Treatment is a milestone achievement that individuals in recovery should be proud of. Replacing feelings of unease with evidence-based accountability, the discreet Soberlink device makes alcohol monitoring easy and helps pave the way to a smoother transition that strengthens the recovery. Learn more about incorporating Soberlink into the recovery journey: soberlink.com/alcohol-addiction-recovery/